Tested: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

OK, let’s get this out of the way from the top – The Mustang Mach-E is not a Mustang – or at least it should not be.

The Mustang has been Ford’s sports car since 1964. It has gone through many iterations and is arguably now the best it has ever been. The ‘Mustang’ Mach-E is an exciting new, all-electric crossover or five-door hatchback.

 

2021 Mustang Mach-E at Fort Beauséjour in New Brunswick (Photo: Garry Sowerby)

 

There is nothing wrong with resurrecting a nameplate from the past to cash in on brand recognition. Marketing departments throughout the industry have done it for years. Ford has brought back the Bronco and is about to unveil a new Maverick (as a compact pickup). But the Mustang is still very much with us and going to be here for some time.

 

There should only be one Mustang- with two doors, a low profile, long hood and short deck, rear driver.

Now that I have that off my chest, let’s look at the pseudo-Mustang, the Mach-E.

As I said above, this is an exciting development, a strong indication of Ford’s intention and ability to become a major player in the electric passenger vehicle field. The Mach-E has four doors, seating for five, a big hatch and a frunk – a front trunk where the engine would be in a conventional car or crossover.

 

The Mach-E is available in a variety of battery/motor configurations.

The standard setup, tested here, has a single electric motor mounted on the rear axle mated to a one-speed transmission sending power to the rear wheels. Power comes from a battery pack rated for a 370-kilometre range. It is also available with an extended-range battery pack rated for a 491-kilometre range.

An all-wheel-drive Mach-E is available with a second motor driving the front wheels. The AWD version can be had with either of the battery packs. Range drops to 340/418 km depending on which battery.

 

Video review of the 2021 Mustang Mach-E here.

 

The standard battery produces 266 horsepower, and 317 lb. ft. of torque. The result is instantaneous and VERY impressive performance. All that torque is available from the instant you step off, and passing performance is equally stout.

The larger extended range battery pack produces 290 horsepower and 428 lb. ft. of torque. In AWD models, the second motor means a total of 346 horses and 428 lb. ft. of torque. A high-performance model coming in the fall will have 480-horsepower and 634 lb. ft. of torque!

 

2021 Mustang Mach-E (Photo: Matthew Guy)

 

 

Driving range, in any vehicle, not just an all-electric one, depends on your driving style and conditions

Natural Resources Canada says the standard 68 kWh battery will go 370 km before needing a recharge. The 88 kWh extended range unit pushes that to 483 km. But there is a catch – that range depends very much on your driving style and conditions.

My real-world observations were that the Mach-E with standard battery pack can go just over 300 kilometres before you need to find a charging station – if driven in a civil manner. Enjoy all that power and performance at every opportunity, and that range can be cut by almost 50%.

That may sound like criticism, but the same math holds true for fossil-fuelled vehicles. Driving style and performance have a direct impact on mileage or range.

 

When it comes time to recharge your Mach-E, there are several choices.

You can use the supplied plug and a 15-amp, 120-volt household outlet – and break out the calendar.

It will take more than a day to recharge a depleted battery. An overnight charge will add about 50 km of range. The obvious solution is to have an electrician install a 32-amp, 220-volt Level 2 unit in your garage or near your driveway or parking spot.

This uses the same, supplied three-prong cord and plug, cutting charging time in half, making overnight top-ups a breeze.

A charge from 10 – 80% takes about 45 minutes on a 45-amp Level 3 charging unit.

Ford, Petro Canada, Nova Scotia Power and several others have installed chargers around the region. You are rarely more than 100 kilometres from a publicly-accessible charger, even in the most remote areas of the province. More heavily populated locals offer dozens of choices.

You can use an app on the giant screen to find to nearest one and direct you there. I used the Flo unit in a grocery store parking lot near my home and found a ‘fill’ to be about half the price of a tank of fuel. I was able to add about 150 km of range in less than 20 minutes.

 

On the menu: Mustang Mach-E Three Ways – Whisper, Engage and Unbridled

Mustang Mach-E offers three drive modes — Whisper, Engage and Unbridled — fancy speak for Eco, normal and sport. There is a discernible difference in the driving dynamics, instrument display and sound – yes sound – the otherwise silent electric motor cam be augmented by a piped-in sound track.

Regardless of driving modes, the overall driving impression is extremely positive.

The suspension is supple enough to soak up major road blemishes and stiff enough to allow rewarding handling when pressed in the turns. The steering is communicative and the brakes strong after you become accustomed to the regenerative feature.

 

One-pedal driving feature saves brakes and recharges battery

The Mach-E can be driven in one-pedal mode. When backing off the throttle, the regen is strong enough to bring the vehicle to a complete stop. You quickly learn to adjust the way you slow the vehicle with the accelerator. I spent almost the entire week and hundreds of kilometres in a wide variety of conditions hardly ever using the brake pedal.

Electric or not – this is a very pleasant vehicle to drive. The instant, abundant and silent power is the frosting on the cake.

The drive modes and practically everything else is accessed through a GIANT (40-cm) vertically-oriented, centrally-mounted screen. Easily the largest in the industry, and the first thing folks mentioned when looking at the Mach-E. The graphics, response time and ease of use are commendable.

 

2021 Mustang Mach-E (Photo: Garry Sowerby)

 

 

Hats off to Ford engineers for the Mach-E’s quiet, sleek interior

The interior is spacious, modern and all but silent at any speed. The lack of drivetrain sound makes it tough on engineers charge with eradicating road and wind noise. Hats off to that team! The seats are comfy and supportive. Ford’s Sync infotainment system has a great home in the giant screen. There are a number of ways to track battery life and use, and to locate the nearest charging station.

The fact that you’ve clicked on a review of an electric crossover built by a traditional OEM proves Ford was right about one thing.

Aside from Tesla, Mustang is arguably the most effective name to get people to pay attention to a new vehicle. Ford doesn’t need you to be happy about seeing a pony badge on an EV cute-ute. It just needs you to know it exists. The name is a means to that end.

The Mach-E is Ford’s first step toward all-electric vehicles. This tall five-door may be a fake Mustang. But it has earned a place among the favourite vehicles of the 2,000 or so I have tested over the past 40 years.

 

FACTS & FIGURES – 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

 

PRICE

Base: $50,495

As tested: $55,985 including freight

 

SAFETY

LED headlights, auto dimming rear mirror

 

INFOTAINMENT

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible, navigation system, The latest SYNC infotainment system uses machine learning to customize up to three driver profiles. Ford will roll out over-the-air updates over time, adding content and improving the system.

 

STANDARD EQUIPMENT INCLUDES

LED headlights, heated wiper park, power locks, windows and heated mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats, tilt & telescope steering wheel, navigation

 

SIGNIFICANT OPTIONS

Infinite blue metallic paint, $550; Comfort/appearance package ($2,590) – 19-in panted aluminum wheels, black painted roof, hands-free foot-operated liftgate, heated steering wheel and front seats,  memory for driver seat and mirrors, cargo area protector, front and rear floor liners

 

MECHANICAL

Permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor powered by an 68 kWh lithium-ion battery pack (combined output of 266 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque), direct drive. NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway equivalent): 2.2 / 2.5 or 25 kWh/100 km

 

DIMENSIONS

Length, 4,713 mm; width, 1,881 mm; wheelbase, 2,984 mm; weight, 2,1207 kg

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