May
04
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD in Rapid Red Metallic (a $400 option)

Consumer Guide Test Drive

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD

ClassElectric Vehicle

Miles driven: 280

Battery capacity: 88 kWh

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortB+
Power and PerformanceA-
Fit and FinishB
Fuel EconomyA
ValueA-
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big GuyB
Tall GuyA
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Drivetrain
Engine Specs346 horsepower
Engine TypeElectric motor
Transmission Automatic
Drive All-wheel drive

EPA-estimate MPGe: 96 city/84 hwy/90 combined

EPA-estimated driving range: 270 miles

Consumer Guide range estimate (ideal conditions): 270+ miles

Base price: $49,700 (not including $1100 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: Rapid Red Metallic Tinted Clear Coat paint ($400), extended-range battery ($5000)

Price as tested: $56,200

 

Quick Hits

The great: Invigorating acceleration; engaging handling; choice of rear- or all-wheel drive and battery-pack size; high-tech features

The good: Competitive driving range; ambitious design inside and out; respectable passenger and cargo space

The not so good: Lots of unfamiliar controls will require user acclimation; potential for first-of-its-kind teething problems

More Mustang Mach-E price and availability information

 

John Biel

Prophet . . . or apostate? That’s the judgement car buyers will have to make for themselves about the Ford Mustang Mach-E. Is it a herald of Mustangs for a transformed future age of motoring, or is it a sacrilegious desecration of one of autodom’s holy relics?

New for 2021, it joins the limited-availability Kia Niro EV as the only fully electric vehicles in the subpremium compact-crossover SUV class. From powerplant to platform, the Mach-E is utterly unlike any other Ford that has ever borne the Mustang name. Only a few reinterpreted styling touches and a fairly lively driving character connect it to internal-combustion-engine Mustangs past and present.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

Ford took the bold step of making its first purpose-built, regular-production electric vehicle a Mustang… that’s also a four-door crossover SUV. The Mach-E wears swoopy fastback styling that picks up several Mustang-inspired design cues, including the tri-segmented taillights with sequential turn signals.

Mach-E is Dearborn’s first regular-production vehicle designed from the jump to be an EV, with its battery pack located in the floor between the front and rear axles. Its 117.5-inch wheelbase, 10.4 inches longer than the current gas-engine Mustang’s span, supports a 4-door-hatchback body. Inside there is room for five—though it probably helps if at least one of them is legally considered a child—and 29.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the back seat. Contemporary Mustang coupes and convertibles seat four, two of whom can’t be old enough to drink anything stronger than juice boxes, and the cars hold no more than 13.5 cubic feet of stuff in their trunks.

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2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

The Mach-E’s dashboard uses a minimalist, Tesla-like design that includes a slim, rectangular digital gauge cluster and a large, vertically oriented central touchscreen. The center console houses a rotary gear-selector knob, electronic parking brake switch, hazard flasher button, and park-assist-system button.

There is a mix of rear-wheel- and all-wheel-drive models (another departure from the Mustangs of popular imagination). Mach-Es also come with a choice of two battery capacities and four horsepower levels—all of which affect potential operating range. Consumer Guide tested a Premium-trim all-wheeler with the 88-kWh extended-range battery, which generates 346 horsepower, 428 lb-ft of torque, and an EPA-projected range of 270 miles. (An extended-range rear-driver makes 290 horsepower and 317 lb-ft but is estimated to go for up to 300 miles on a fully charged battery.)

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2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

Almost all the infotainment, driver-assist, and climate-control functions are controlled via a 15.5-inch touchscreen that uses Ford’s latest Sync4A infotainment system. Pictured here are the navigation system’s map, drive-mode selection, and rearview-camera/360-degree surround-view monitor displays.

This driver’s turn in the vehicle came during a stretch of mild early-spring weather that didn’t require running the heater. With a full charge—but an indicated range of only a little over 250 miles—he burned off 45 percent of available power in 146 miles. At the end of his stint, which included a majority of high-speed expressway miles, the Mach-E reported a remaining range of 134 miles and 3.5 miles run for each kilowatt hour of energy used. Indicated time to full recharge on CG’s 240-volt charger was approximately eight hours.

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2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

There’s respectable space for even big and tall adults in the front and rear seats. Mach-Es come standard with Ford’s ActiveX synthetic leather upholstery; our test vehicle was outfitted with “Black Onyx” perforated ActiveX material.

The juicier power source is a $5000 upgrade over the standard 68-kWh unit. In an AWD job like the test car, it boosts output by 80 horsepower and expected range by 59 miles. Per the manufacturer, it also shaves 0-60-mph time from 5.2 to 4.8 seconds. The 88’s big clump of torque is instantly ready to get the Mach-E away from a full stop with what feels like at least as much urgency as a much lighter Mustang with the 4-cylinder EcoBoost gas engine musters. Front and rear motors serve both ends of the electronic AWD system that digs in to help the Mach-E launch. There’s ample reserve for easy expressway cruising and passing.

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2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

A panoramic fixed-glass sunroof–with no sunshade–is standard on Mach-E Premium models.

Ford’s corporate penchant for, uh, interesting drive-mode names continues here with “Whisper”, “Engage,” and “Unbridled” settings. An Unbridled Mach-E has a higher weightier steering feel but also an undeniably stiffer ride that doesn’t filter out road jolts all that well. Engage softens the blow to a more pleasant level for daily commuting. The quiet cabin is a calming influence as well. The Mach-E—at least the one we drove—handles pretty well for a compact crossover, but not like a low-slung Mustang.

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2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

The Mach-E uses electronic push-button door releases for both the front and rear doors; the door pops out a couple inches when the latch button is pushed, and the front doors include slim pull handles.

The new crossover has been turned into a showcase for tech features. Its interior is dominated by a Tesla-like vertically oriented 15.5-inch central touchscreen. One of the things you can touch there is a SYNC4A infotainment with smartphone-linked user profiles, over-the-air software updates for future upgradability, and features such as machine learning to adapt to individual driver preferences. Everything is done there, from inputting audio settings to selecting drive modes, locating trip information, and even working the climate controls that run across the bottom portion of the giant screen. (Maybe we worry too much, but with so many operational eggs in the same electronic basket we’d hate to imagine that thing going on the fritz.) A FordPass phone app turns a smartphone into the vehicle key and allows remote locking/unlocking and starting, as well as monitoring the current state of charge and driving range, finding nearby charging stations, and a host of other handy connected features.

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2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

There’s 4.8 cubic feet of space in the front trunk (or “frunk”), but it’s compromised by a plastic divider insert (there because of an internal safety standard) that prohibits carrying larger items. A forthcoming over-the-air software update will enable the frunk to be opened remotely, and it’s possible to remove the divider with a bit of work. The rear cargo area offers 29.7 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, and 59.7 cu. ft. with the rear seatbacks folded.

The AWD Mach-E Premium starts at $50,800. In look and feel inside, it’s about comparable to higher-level Mustangs, but with distinct materials. Upholstery is perforated “ActiveX” imitation leather. The heated steering wheel is wrapped in vinyl. Front passengers settle into comfortable heated 8-way-power seats with driver’s seat memory. Above all is a single-pane panoramic sunroof—without a shade, so occupants had better enjoy everything from sunshine all day to overhead street lights at night. The climate system is dual-zone; the sound package is a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen unit. Wireless charging is included in the console. Doors unlatch upon the press of a button that pushes them open by a few inches. Standard wheels are 19-inch alloys. Ford Co-Pilot360 2.0 includes auto high-beam headlamps, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts, lane-keeping system, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, reverse brake assist, and reverse sensing. Also included is adaptive stop-and-go cruise control.

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2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

There are no Mustang nameplates on the Mach-E’s exterior, but there are running-horse badges on the nose and liftgate (and inside the charging-port door), as well as Mach-E logos on the front doors.

Aside from the good passenger room, the cargo space gains another 30 cubic feet when the rear 60/40 seats fold flush with the load floor. The rear hatch has hands-free operation. Personal-item space is just middling, though, with small glove and console boxes, pouches on the backs of the front seats, door pockets, and cup holders in the console and pull-down center-rear armrest.

No, the Mach-E certainly isn’t like any Mustang anybody has ever seen before. But does that mean it won’t ever be the one true Mustang someday?

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2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

The Mustang Mach-E is a bold step by Ford into the pure-EV market. It costs more than mainstream-brand rivals such as the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Kia Niro EV, but it offers ambitious, dynamic styling inside and out–and an invigorating driving character–that comparably priced EVs can’t match.

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2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium Gallery

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2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

Guide to Electric Vehicle Charging

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E