Ford Mustang Mach-E — Electric-car perfection photo

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

(June 20, 2021) Even though many people have defended Ford's use of the iconic Mustang name, you can argue with us the whole live-long day and we won't be convinced that the new Ford Mustang Mach-E is really a two-door Mustang pony car. What the Mustang Mach-E is we discovered is a well-done, lightning-fast electric crossover — sans the rumbling Mustang V-8 engine — that has some familiar Mustang styling cues highlighted by the galloping Mustang logo and the tri-bar taillamps.


While Ford has done its best to create the Mustang look we suspect they decided to use its most iconic brand name to create an instant buzz drawing attention to its first-ever electric crossover utility. If that was their intention, they succeeded. But the Mach-E — or whatever they could or should have named it — can stand on its own without the Mustang buzz. It's a handsome exercise in crossover design with lines that flow neatly from front to back.

It has a coupe-like roofline giving it a fastback appearance that helps bridge the design gap from crossover to sports coupe. The bottom line is that the Mach-E is a good-looking car, and we are fans of good looking cars, regardless of the name attached.

So here are the significant facts:

• Batteries — standard-range 75.7 kWh, extended-range 98.8 kWh

• Driving range — 230 miles RWD, 211 miles AWD base Select model; 305 miles rear-wheel drive, 270 miles AWD on Premium and First Edition models

• Horsepower — 266 on base Select model; 346 on Premium and First Edition AWD models

• Torque — 317 pound-feet RWD, 428 pound-feet AWD base Select; 428 pound-feet AWD Premium and First Edition photo

Even more confusing, there's a California Route 1 edition that falls between the base Select and the Premium. The First Edition is sold out.

Yes, there is a head-scratching array of horsepower and torque numbers available depending on trim level and drive configurations. But if you are seriously interested in a Mach-E we suggest opting for the Premium trim with either RWD or AWD. Premium comes with the extended range giving you the best of both worlds in terms of range and horsepower.

There's more — within a few months Ford will introduce a high-performance GT model that will put out a mind-numbing 480 horsepower and up to 634 pound-feet of torque. You want your electric crossover fast, try 0-60 in 3.5 seconds.

We drove the First Edition with the same performance and range configurations as the Premium trim. Our findings were eye-opening. The Mustang Mach-E is nothing short of a crossover performance beast. It goes fast with a Ford-published 0-to-60 time of 4.8 seconds; it handles the twists and turns like, well, a Mustang, with solid grip in the corners and very little crossover lean; and steering that feels well-weighted and accurate. Our all-wheel drive test car came with a bigger motor in back and a smaller one up front delivering the all-wheel drive experience and no doubt contributing to its excellent handling traits.

There are three driving modes available that affect the weight of the steering, pedal response and artificial noise. They can be dialed up on the big center screen — Engage, which is described as a balanced drive that is "fun and engaging;"  Whisper, which is a seamless drive "calm and  quiet;" and Unbridled, which is an "exhilarating drive" according to Ford. We drove all three modes and noted a bit more performance feel with the Unbridled setting. But we think once you have experimented you will return to Engage on a full-time basis.

The interior is spacious and uncluttered. The driver faces two large screens, a giant 15.5-inch center tablet that runs just about everything, and a large rectangular screen in front of the steering wheel that includes relevant information such as speed using giant digital numbers for tired old eyes, and driving range, which in an electric vehicle is more important than a gas gauge in an internal combustion engine car.

The center screen running Ford's proprietary SYNC 4A software has everything from navigation to radio readouts to setup pages for all sorts of things to help personalize the driving experience. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included as well as sound settings for the excellent-sounding 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system that comes standard in the Premium trim.

Unlike its namesake this Mustang has very useable storage space measured at about 29 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 60 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks folded. There's a modicum of storage up front in the "frunk" that comes with a divider and a drain plug, perhaps for keeping beverages cold on ice.

Driver and passenger space is ample and comfortable both front and back with excellent head room in back for even tall passengers, two of which were delighted with their accommodations.

Ford has made safety a priority. All Mach-E models come with adaptive cruise control, front collision mitigation, blindspot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane centering, and rear parking sensors with automatic braking.

For those worried about battery life, Ford includes an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty. The basic warranty is 3-years/36,000 miles and the drivetrain warranty is 5-years/60,000 miles.

Base price for the Mach-E is $47,195 including destination charge. The California Route 1 starts at $51,500; and the Premium lists at $53,700. Our First Edition test car carried a bottom line of $60,000. All Mach-E variants are eligible for the government's $7,500 tax credit and may also be eligible for rebates in several states.

Key rivals include the Audi e-tron, Polestar 2, Tesla Model Y, Volvo XC40 Recharge and Volkswagen ID.4. We think most buyers will find the Mach-E not only price competitive, but performance and feature competitive as well.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E


Base price: $47,195; as driven, $60,000
Engine: two motors making 346hp
Torque: 428 pound-feet
Battery: 88.0-kWh lithium-ion battery pack
Transmission: 2 direct-drive
Drive: all-wheel
Seating: 2/3
Wheelbase: 117.5 inches
Length: 185.6 inches
Curb weight: 4,856 pounds
Turning circle: 38.1 feet
Luggage capacity: 29 cubic feet
Cargo capacity: 60 cubic feet
Driving range: 270 miles
EPA rating: 96 city, 84 highway, 90 combined MPGe
0-60: 4.8 seconds (Ford)
Also consider: Tesla Model Y, VW ID.4, Volvo XC40 Recharge

The Good
• Outstanding acceleration
• Sporty handling
• Big center touchscreen
• Long range with larger battery pack

The Bad
• Base model has modest range

The Ugly
• Mustang purists will miss rumbling V-8