Ford Mustang Mach-E: ignore the name and fake engine noise, this is a solid electric car
The Ford Mustang Mach-E isn’t a traditional Mustang. A two-door muscle car this is not, but you almost need to ignore the Mustang name altogether, because as an all-electric car the Mach-E has a lot going for it.
It’s Ford’s first foray into the fully electric car world, and while it certainly raised eyebrows when it slapped the iconic pony badge onto the front of this SUV, there’s enough here to potentially worry the likes of Tesla and Audi.
The Mach-E price starts at $42,895 / £40,350, but we got between the wheel of the RWD (rear wheel drive) extended range model which packs in a bigger, 88kWh battery and bumps that starting price up to $49,800 / £49,980.
In the UK, Ford claims the extended range Mach-E can offer a range of up to 379 miles, although real world usage will see you get comfortably less than that – but still enough to remove most range anxiety.
Ford Mustang Mach-E design
Ford Mustang Mach-E RWD Extended Range Power: 294PS (216kW) Battery: 88kWh Top Speed: 111 mph 0-62mph: 7 seconds Range: up to 379 miles Price: £48,130 (after grant)
So it has the Mustang badge on the front – and the Mach-E inherits the slender lights and bulbous hood from its muscle car namesake, while round the back the familiar Mustang light blocks and Pony badge are present – but a lot of what’s in between is very different to any Mustang that’s come before.
There are more doors, more height and despite a sweeping roofline which gives it a sportier aesthetic, its side profile is distinctly SUV. Not that it’s an issue, and overall the Mustang Mach-E is a good, and slightly different looking offering to its competition.
It certainly has the ability to turn heads, but it wasn’t clear whether people were attracted to the overall look of the Mach-E, or slightly confused by the fusion of the famous Mustang badge with a silent SUV. There’s certainly no roaring V8 in play here.
Look a bit closer and you’ll notice something else – the lack of door handles. Instead, on each of the front doors, the Mustang Mach-E has a small, static fin that protrudes from the base of the B pillar. This allows the Mach-E to have a sleeker, less interrupted profile.
Just above this is a button, and this is the door release which gently opens the door by a few centimeters, and the fin allows you to hook a finger or two to pull it open fully.
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Oddly though, the rear doors don’t get the fin, with the button press popping open the door but then requiring you to grab the frame to fully open. It’s a little less elegant and could lead to greasy fingerprints on the paintwork.
The push-button door entry didn’t take long to get accustomed to, and quite quickly we found ourselves preferring it over the traditional handle – however, it does mean there’s another system to potentially fail over time.
Climb into the driver’s seat, pull the door closed and you’ll notice another handle oddity in the Ford Mustang Mach-E. The internal door release handle is positioned vertically, rather than the traditional horizontal position, and it’s located in the small well that you dip your hand in to pull the door closed.
Its location and direction of travel takes a touch longer to become accustomed to, but after a few trips out we got used to this positioning.
Look up, and driver and passengers can be treated to a wonderful view of the sky via the vast panoramic roof (if your Mach-E’s spec level includes it).
The seats are comfortable, heated and provide enough head and leg room. A large central armrest has covered storage under it, plus there are dual cup holders and a large tray for keys, money and other pocket items.
There’s a reasonable amount of space for rear-seat passengers too, who get the best view out of the panoramic roof, and certainly much more room than the rear seats of a standard Mustang. The Mach-E can comfortably accommodate adults in the back as well as the front for long journeys.
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Ford Mustang Mach-E drive and charging
There’s no 5.0 liter V8 under the hood of the Mustang Mach-E, in fact, you get a small luggage storage area instead – enough for a weekend bag or two, or a small grocery shop.
As the Ford Mustang Mach-E is an electric car it instead has a battery in the floor and an electric motor on its rear axle (for the RWD model) which provides the get-up and go.
There are three driving modes, and in its most aggressive – named ‘Untamed’ – the Mach-E can go from 0-62mph in a swift 7 seconds and reach a top speed of 111mph. It’s not the most thrilling of performance specs, but Ford is releasing a Mach-E GT model in the near future which can take the 0-62mph time down to sub 4 seconds.
The Untamed mode is great for when you want to have a little bit of fun with the Mach-E, as it sharpens the steering and acceleration, and stiffens the suspension for a sporty experience, however most of the time you’ll be better off out of this mode.
By default the Mustang Mach-E is set to ‘Whisper’ which is effectively the eco mode, with a dash of regeneration when you lift off the accelerator and performance dialed down a notch.
It’s no slouch in this mode though, and the Mach-E will comfortably get you where you need to go – although we still found the ride to be rather hard in this most forgiving of modes. You’ll notice the bumps and lumps in the road surface.
The intermediate drive mode – dubbed ‘Active’ – balances fun driving elements with a hint of more economical performance. Around town we’d advise sticking to Whisper, but if you’re planning on hitting faster moving roads then Active is a nice transition option to have.
Mustang fans may be disappointed about the lack of engine noise when the accelerator is depressed in the Mach-E, but Ford has thought about that. Dive into the settings on the large, central touchscreen and you’ll find the option to enable ‘propulsion sound’ under the drive modes.
Switch it on and the Mustang Mach-E will play engine notes through the speaker system. It isn’t overly loud, but it apes the sound insulation of the car – you don’t want a deafening roar as if you were strapped directly to a V8 – but it adds to the feedback as you speed up.
It’s a slightly surreal experience when you think about it, it feels a little odd as you know the sound is artificial, but there is something subconsciously pleasing when put your foot down and you’re greeted with an audible roar as you sprint past another car.
It certainly won’t be for everyone, and we had it turned off when driving around town as it felt unnecessary, but it’s an option that can be easily enabled for those who want it.
Onto the range, and as we mentioned at the start Ford quotes 379 miles for the extended range model in the UK. That’s a healthy stat, but you’ll need the driving economy of a driving wizard to reach that.
With a mix of driving styles and speeds, plus a healthy use of each of the three driving modes, we were getting over 250 miles from a single charge. That’s a solid showing and puts the Mustang Mach-E firmly in the mix for comfortable mileage without range anxiety.
If you tend to use your car on shorter journeys, and often stay away from higher speed roads, the Mustang Mach-E will give you more mileage per charge.
The Mach-E supports fast, 150KW charging speeds, which Ford says can take the battery from 10% to 80% in 45 minutes – enough time to stretch your legs, have a bite to eat and visit the facilities before hitting the road again.
Ford Mustang Mach-E specs and tech
You cannot miss it. The massive 15.5-inch touchscreen mounted on the center console dominates the dash of the Mustang Mach-E.
Ford has taken a leaf out of Tesla’s book, adopting a portrait orientated display similar to that of the Model S and Model X, however this screen has a nice additional feature. There is a physical dial built into the bottom part of the screen, providing you with a touch of physical control in what is otherwise a very touch-orientated approach.
This wheel is a volume control, allowing for easy adjustment without the need to take your eyes off the road – but this can also be done via steering wheel volume controls, so while it’s nice to have, it feels a touch redundant.
We’d have liked to have seen a customization option that allows you to program the wheel to a function of your choice – such as climate or drive mode – hopefully Ford is reading this and will add it to a future software update. We can but hope.
The screen is bright and clear, and offers up plenty of space for functions. The bottom section is dedicated to heating controls including options for heated seats, wheel and windows, and the area can be expanded to fill the whole screen for more detailed controls.
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Above this is a row of widgets which, Ford says, will learn over time which functions you regularly use and when, and work out which ones to display at any given time. There are a variety of different widgets, from phone and music playback to navigation and even tire pressure.
We had the Mustang Mach-E for a week, which wasn’t enough time for it to fully learn our usage – so it’s unclear how well this system will adapt to you over time.
The top portion of the display – the largest of the three areas – is reserved for the application you’re currently using – be it mapping, music playback or vehicle settings. The built-in navigation was very good, with clear maps and directions mirrored on the digital instrument display for easy viability.
There’s Bluetooth connectivity for your smartphone, allowing you to stream audio via the Mach-E 10 speaker, B&O sound system – which packs a pleasing punch in terms of bass – as well as make and receive hands-free calls.
You can also opt to plug your smartphone into the Mach-E infotainment system via the USB-C port at the base of the center console. This provides support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which mirror key smartphone apps on the main display of the car.
This gives you access to navigation options such as Apple Maps and Google Maps, and other applications including Messages, WhatsApp, Spotify and more. The integration works well in the Mach-E, and it’s nice to have these options available.
The large touchscreen certainly makes the interior of the Mach-E feel futuristic, but for its size we felt that it was limited in terms of the options available to use on it.
In its current state, the screen could be smaller and still provide the required functionality – compare the options here to Tesla and the latter has many more options to play with (and sure, some are gimmicks) which makes a large display feel more justified.
However, Ford has already committed to delivering over-the-air updates to the Mustang Mach-E, which it says will “deliver performance enhancements and entirely new features that might not exist when customers first take delivery of their vehicles.” So the big screen may become more utilized over time.
This isn’t the only screen the Mustang Mach-E is packing however, as there’s also a slender, landscape 10.2-inch offering acting as the instrument cluster. Unlike some other digital cluster displays, there aren’t any customization options here – you get what you’re given.
That may be a small point of frustration for some, but Ford has done a good job of making the key information clear in a simple, yet effective way that doesn’t distract you from the road. You get speed, road limits, range and charge information, plus if you have navigation on, directions are also displayed here.
What’s nice is this display can also show navigation directions from mapping apps used via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay – something not every manufacturer system can do right now.
We mentioned the USB-C port that allows you to connect your smartphone to the infotainment system, but the Mustang Mach-E also has a standard USB-A port in the front, allowing you to charge devices without interaction with the car’s display.
There’s a wireless phone charging pad too, allowing you to top-up compatible handsets without having to plug in.
You also get a range of driving aids, including intelligent adaptive cruise control and lane centering, which are capable of handling the bulk of driving on highways with just light resistance on the wheel required. There’s also the likes of automatic lights and wipers, making for an easier driving experience.
The Ford Mustang Mach-E has the space, range and technology to make it a solid electric car, and one that can be considered not only by those looking for a reasonably affordable and comfortable EV, but also by families as it directly rivals the Tesla Model Y and offers a slightly more premium package than the cheaper Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Konda Electric.
John McCann is getting behind the wheel to give you an alternative look at the wealth of cars – and the tech inside them – available today. From super-fast sports cars to tech-packed hatchbacks, he’ll take you through a range of makes, models, power and price tags in his regular TR Drives column.