2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E pricing starts at $50,495 in Canada, $42,895 in the US.
The Mustang Mach-E represents a critical turning at Ford.
Yes, this SUV’s name remains controversial.
Here are clues to help us all deal with and understand why Ford went and called their first electric SUV Mustang Mach-E. This SUV needs to rise above all other SUVs, even those within Ford like the Bronco, which itself has garnered an exceptional amount of attention. The other clue is that naming this vehicle as they have is the best way to ensure the Mustang’s survival.
Electrifying the Mustang name
For longer than most remember, over 15 years to be more precise, Ford has been electrifying many of its models. Having established the fact that it can do hybrids, and to forget about previous EVs, their newest vehicle needed to be recognized. Ask any product planner about how difficult it is to launch a new nameplate. True, they could have used Fusion, Futura, or even Thunderbird but they went with Mustang.
The name Mustang, for the Mach-E, also signifies to me that Ford will do whatever it takes to keep the name of their only car left in North America alive, and remembered. As such, the Mach-E has a name and expectations to live up to and based on my brief first drive in the electric SUV, this might become a problem for Ford.
If we put styling aside, another potentially long debate, the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E needs to be convincingly good enough to drive for us critics to eventually glaze over the naming scheme. My brief stint behind the wheel of the Mach-E revealed little more than it’s a good average EV.
Good EV performance
My tester was a Premium AWD with the Extended Range battery. The dual-motor configuration develops a total system output of 346-horsepower which makes it the most powerful of the non-GT versions. This Ford Mustang Mach-E delivers a rated 0-60 mph sprint time of 4.8 seconds, which is extremely believable considering the available 428 lb.-ft. of torque. The 88 kWh, which replaces the Standard Range 68 kWh battery, will, on a 150 kW charger, go from 10% to 80% in about 45 minutes, which is about on par with current industry averages.
Like many mainstream EVs, the sense of speed is somewhat lost because of their inherent weight. The Mach-E is quick and excels at urban driving, very much like the recently reviewed Polestar 2. In fact, initial driving impressions of the Mustang reminded me very much of the Polestar where performance, weight through the controls and driving position are concerned.
The EV driving experience
From behind the wheel, the Mustang Mach-E is isolated and insulated from the goings-on beneath which endows the vehicles with a fairly refined driving experience. This is desirable as, with the exception of ICE noise, the Mach-E feels like a typical larger SUV. The chassis is tuned to deliver a tad more dynamism than all-out comfort but that’s par for the course as it is a “Mustang”.
Ford provides the driver with a number of drive modes but perhaps most importantly, a function that enables one-pedal driving. For most owners, this will be activated once and forgotten. The advantages to this mode involve extra regen-braking and rarely using the physical brake pedal. About the brakes themselves, they work as expected.
A cool quirk about the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E is the available Propulsion Sound which, quite frankly, I enjoyed. Typically, digitally produced engine sounds are unpleasant but this one actually sounds good.
Spacious and perfectly modern
Onboard, the Mach-E proves to be spacious and generally comfortable. The front seats and rear outer positions are quite plush. The front trunk offers a number of dividers for smart storage purposes while the rear boot delivers decent useable space. The rear bench will accommodate three across with no fuss. Up front, the dashboard is a cross between the Polestar 2’s more conventional cockpit and that void of the Tesla Model Y.
The 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster display helps the driver remain focused on the road ahead. The centrally-located 15.5-inch touchscreen is brilliant and thanks to standard SYNC4, is extremely intuitive to use. Its vertical positioning enables easy access to commands width-wise and I do like the physical volume knob at the very bottom of the screen.
The first mainstream Mustang for everyone
As noted previously, my time with the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E was quite short. My first impressions are that of an electric vehicle designed and engineered to satisfy the average buyer. Who that person will be is simple to figure out: They will have a $60,000+ budget, are both attracted by an SUV’s supposed superior capabilities and finally, by the Mustang name. As tested, the Premium AWD with Extended Range battery ($7,000 option) and a few options retailed for just shy of $72,000 before fees and incentives.
Everything about the Mustang Mach-E works, including its name. It will be controversial for some time to come however the marketing value alone of having everyone say the word “Mustang” is immeasurable to Ford. Though this decision, the Blue Oval has guaranteed in many ways than one that the Mustang will live on. And, in time, we will probably come to thank the Mach-E.
I look forward to more wheel-time with the Mach-E.