2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Review

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E - The perfect transition from gas to electric, Mach-E is a winner!


Banking on the credibility of the Mustang name, Ford introduces the Mustang Mach-E -- an all-electric four-door wagon with rear- or all-wheel drive. Roughly the same size as a Ford Escape, Mach-E blends typical crossover proportions and electric underpinnings with some undeniably Mustang styling cues. Key rivals include the Audi e-tron, Hyundai Ioniq5, Kia EV6, Polestar 2, Tesla Model Y, Volvo XC40 Recharge and Volkswagen ID.4

Mach-E went on sale in early spring in Select, California Route 1, Premium and First Edition Trim. While the First Edition models are sold out, a new GT trim is just arriving at dealerships now. In terms of range and performance, things an get a little confusing. Here's a chart of how battery, range, drive wheels and performance shakes out.

* Rear-wheel drive: 230 miles of range; 266 horsepower
* All-wheel drive: 211 miles of range; 266 horsepower
California Route 1
* Rear-wheel drive: 305 miles of range; 290 horsepower
* Rear-wheel drive: 230 miles of range; 266 horsepower
* All-wheel drive: 211 miles of range; 266 horsepower
Premium (extended-range battery)
* Rear-wheel drive: 300 miles of range; 290 horsepower
* All-wheel drive: 270 miles of range; 346 horsepower
First Edition (extended-range battery)
* All-wheel drive: 270 miles of range; 346 horsepower
GT (extended-range battery)
* All-wheel drive: 250 miles of range; 480 horsepower
* All-wheel drive Performance Edition: 235 miles of range; 480 horsepower

All models come standard with digital instrument panel, 15.5-inch touchscreen, Sync 4 infotainment system with navigation and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, remote monitoring and control via smartphone app, wireless charging pad, portable 120-volt or 240-volt charging cable and DC fast-charging capability. Standard safety features include Ford's Co-Pilot360 suite of advanced driver aids, including adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning and mitigation, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist and rear parking sensors with automatic emergency braking. Pricing ranges from $48,000 to $61,000.

Fear not performance fans, Mach-E is no Mustang II. Even the least expensive model will run from 0 to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds and Ford claims GT Performance Edition can make that run in 3.5 seconds. However, driving an electric vehicle provides a different sensation. It is eerily quiet when accelerating and there's no shift shock because there's no transmission. Simply stomp on the gas and the Mach-E takes off. Acceleration is most impressive from a standstill, but midrange punch is strong as well. There's a bit of a drop off in highway passing power, especially at speeds above 60 MPH.

Mach-E offers several drive modes: Engage, Whisper and Unbridled. They don't change how the Mach-E accelerates only the sensation around that acceleration. It also offers one-pedal driving, which is can be very useful. Though it takes some time to master, one-pedal driving maximizes battery energy capture under braking. In essence, drivers don't utilize the brake unless necessary for emergencies. Lifting off the accelerator engages maximum brake-energy regeneration and slows the vehicle swiftly. It's not for everyone, but it does help extend battery range.

Speaking of range, the EPA gives the Mustang Mach-E MPG3e ratings of 90 to 101, depending on model. That compares favorably to its traditional competition but trails the Tesla Model Y by a fair margin. But before you get into a discussion about theoretical range, it is more important to understand real-world range and more importantly charring speed. As with a gasoline-powered vehicle, your range between fill-ups is mostly dependent on driving conditions (air temperature), driving type (highway or city) and load (1 passenger or 5 passengers). Then, of course, you have to factor in how you drive. Are you a lead foot, are you're a hyper miler or somewhere between?

With the Mustang Mach-E it is fairly easy to replicate the advertised range provided you are diving in temperatures between 40 and 70 degrees, mixing a bit of city with a bit of highway and are using modest energy-saving techniques (like one-pedal driving). More important is charge rate and the Mach-E can be DC fast charged. That's the new tech that you keep hearing about where you get a 100-plus miles of range in about 15-20 minutes. Reasonable, but requires the right kind of charger and the infrastructure to support that rate of charge (meaning you can't do this at home). Still, with a Level 2 charger, which you can have installed at home, you can charge from 0 to 100 percent in 11 hours.

Despite its portly 4,500-pound curb weight, the Mach-E is surprisingly fun to drive. The batteries are packed in the floor of the vehicle, giving it a very low center of gravity. No, it isn't as agile as a regular Mustang, but it is surprisingly nimbler than a typical compact crossover. The suspension is also a bit firmer than you might expect, though it never grows busy or annoying. The electrically boosted steering has a natural feel and tracks easily on the highway. Brakes don't have any sponginess that's so typical of traditional hybrids and transition smoothly from energy-capture braking to friction braking. In all, the Mach-E provides a sporty driving experience without being overly firm.

Partly because it's electric and partly because of great sound isolation, the Mach-E is very quiet at all times. Even on the highway, noise levels in the Mach-E are significantly lower than you'd expect. Selecting Unbridled drive mode adds some artificial engine noise under acceleration. It's strange and necessarily appealing.

Mach-E's interior is a clear departure for Ford and a huge step away from the Mustang's driver-focused dual cockpit design. The wide and sweeping dashboard falls away from front-seat passengers and is dominated by two large digital displays. One, replacing a traditional instrument cluster, is fairly straightforward. However, the center display might have some new owners scratching their head for a minute. It's beautiful and nicely integrated into the interior. However, you'll need a moment of two to familiarized yourself with operations and menus. Thankfully, Ford has done a great job of creating a fresh and new infotainment interface that deftly blends traditional functions like audio and climate control with the myriad of electric-vehicle functions. Great job by Ford of offering traditional controls for lights, wipers and other basic functions as well (another all-EV automaker might want to take notice of how much easier the Mach-E is to drive on a daily basis).

Though it is a Mustang in name, the Mach-E's front seats are more traditional crossover fare, with ample soft padding and not a whole lot of lumbar support. They are comfortable, but larger adults might find themselves squishing about a bit. The rear seat bottoms are a bit flat and low, but overall comfort is good. Despite a low roofline, there's ample head room and plenty of leg room for front-seat passengers. Rear-seat passengers have enough room, but larger adults might wish for a bit more space.

So, you might have been hearing the term "frunk" when people talk about EVs. Basically, that's slang for a front trunk. Mach-E has one, albeit small. It's also got a drain hole, so you can use it as a mobile cooler if you like. In terms of cargo capacity, Mach-E offers 29 cubes behind the rear seats. That's less than some compact crossovers, but still quite usable. The rear seats fold to increase space as well. There's a flimsy cargo cover that seems like a design oversight. Thankfully it can be removed. Interior storage is great, thanks to the open and airy cabin. Lots of open and covered bins throughout.

Bottom Line - Say what you will about using the Mustang name, Mach-E is an outright winner. It's a very traditional crossover that just happens to be a battery-electric vehicle. There's no learning curve -- a perfect transition from gas-engine to electric for most buyers. Of course, there's a mindset adjustment in terms of range and re-fueling. But once you get past that, owners will find that Mach-E is a perfect replacement for that Escape or Edge.

Mark Bilek

Mark Bilek is the Senior Director of Communications and Technology for the Chicago Auto Trade Association and the General Manager for DriveChicago.com. He is also responsible for developing and maintaining the Chicago Auto Show Web site.

Mark has been reviewing vehicles for more than two decades. Previously, he was associate publisher at Consumer Guide, where he oversaw publication of Consumer Guide Car & Truck Test, Consumer Guide's Used Car Book, and ConsumerGuide.com. He was also responsible for publication of "Collectible Automobile" and various hardcover automotive titles. In 2001 and 2002 he served as president of a Midwest Automotive Media Association. Mark has appeared on NBC TV, ABC TV, Fox News, WGN and MotorTrend TV as an automotive consultant. He hosts the Drive Chicago radio show on WLS 890 AM and was a regular guest on WGN Radio's Steve & Johnnie show. Mark lives in the northwest suburbs with his wife and three sons.