The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E vaults the famed pony car into the electrified age. Inspired by the Ford Mustang but mechanically unrelated, the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E is an electric crossover SUV competing with the Tesla Model Y, Chevy Bolt EV, Volvo XC40 Recharge, Volkswagen ID.4 and other forthcoming electric crossovers. But its balance of performance and range, smart packaging, sharp design, and loaded features make it a standout in the burgeoning new class. The Mustang inspiration appears on the long nose and dipped down hood, the wide rear and the flat front end, and, most directly, on the sequential taillights. By applying the Mustang’s 56-year-old reputation on the Mach-E, Ford accomplished what no other automaker has done with its electric vehicles, not even Tesla with its silly S-3-X-Y naming convention: the Mustang portion of Mach-E instantly conveys that it is fun.
The rear-wheel-drive Mach-E can travel up to 300 miles on a single charge with the larger 88-kWh battery pack. With the smaller 68-kWh pack, it can go up to 230 miles. An available second motor provides all-wheel-drive traction, but it sacrifices some of that range The quickest Mach-E on sale now reaches 60 mph in 4.8 seconds; the forthcoming GT model can do it in 3.5 seconds. The sleek coupe-like shape of the Mach-E doesn’t sacrifice interior room. It seats five adults in comfort, and an available glass roof opens up even more room inside. The rear cargo area houses up to 59.7 cubic feet with the seats folded flat. A tiered cargo floor, neat door handles, and good storage pockets optimize the space.
The Mach-E comes loaded with Ford’s latest safety and convenience features, including automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control that restarts from a stop. An available hands-free driving system can be optioned, but leather upholstery cannot. A 15.5-inch touchscreen serves as a mastermind of controls, though the lower quadrant always shows climate controls, and a volume dial simplifies the simplest task. The Mach-E pairs with smartphones for wireless charging, to use as a key, and to monitor the vehicle, among other things. Excluding the available $7,500 federal EV tax credit, the 2021 Mustang Mach-E starts at $43,995, including destination. The larger battery adds $5,000 and all-wheel drive adds $2,700 to Select and Premium trims. At $59,400 the First Edition tops the listing sheet until the GT model arrives.
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Ford bridges the divide between the iconic pony car and the modern SUV with the 2021 Mustang Mach-E. The Mustang part of the Mach-E honors hallmark Mustang cues, such as a long wheelbase that pushes the 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels to the corners, and a long nose with a ridged hood that dips dramatically down into the blunt front end. The galloping pony stamps the front, and thin LED headlights wrap around to twin parallel body lines running down the side, same as the Mustang. That upper body line connects at the tail to the signature Mustang element of sequential indicators in fishbone taillights. The lack of door handles accentuates the wide rear haunches. A button illuminates on approach and pops the doors open an inch until pulled open fully by a lip on the window sill. When the driver and fob or smartphone leave, it automatically locks.
The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E comes with two battery choices and four power outputs crowned by the GT model with 480-horsepower and 634 pound-feet of torque. The slowest Mach-E hits 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, the quickest GT model does it in 3.5 seconds, but the linear acceleration and instant torque delivery cause the quickest grins off the line. It handles more like a sports coupe than an SUV.
The Mach-E comes with a 68-kWh battery pack in Standard Range or a 88-kWh pack in Extended Range. Regardless of battery size, a single motor Mach-E makes 317 lb-ft of torque. Base Select models come only with the Standard Range size that generates 266 hp and reaches 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. In calmer driving, Standard Range with rear-wheel drive has a 230-mile range. The Extended Range standard on California Route 1 models makes 290 hp with a 300-mile range. That’s the highest range but slowest 0-60 mph time of 6.1 seconds due to the heavier pack that adds 333 pounds to a portly total of 4,727 pounds.
The second motor for all-wheel drive adds about 200 pounds and results in output of 346 hp and 428 lb-ft. It drops 60 mph time to 5.2 seconds with Standard Range but cuts the range to 211 miles, or to 4.8 seconds with the Extended Range but cuts the range to 270 miles. The Extended Range with all-wheel drive compromises the least in the tradeoff between quickness and range. In the forthcoming GT model, the dual-motor Extended Range has an estimated 250-mile range and hits 60 mph in 3.8 seconds; a GT Performance Edition (235-mile range) targets 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, quicker than the Mustang GT500.
One-pedal driving lets drivers to a stop and recapture more energy without pressing the brake pedal, then it will automatically hold the car in place until traffic resumes. Another setting lets it coast more like a traditional gas car. An independent suspension with MacPherson struts up front and multiple links in back leads to a ride that suits the inputs, whether they’re coming from the driver or the road. It’s comfy for cruising and nimble for stabbing.
Acceleration is brisk, especially off the line, even with the Standard Range model. Shifting the Mach-E from Whisper to Unbridled mode brings the kind of satisfaction and gut-dropping acceleration that makes the Mach-E so much fun. A setting in the control panel can pipe in some distant engine rumble. Two-motor all-wheel-drive variants have more power and more control to spit gravel from a stop, and the nose tucks in on ramps and turns. The rear-wheel-drive setup channels the Mustang without the fear of snap oversteer as in so many infamous Mustang videos. With either set up, the Mach-E benefits from its low center of gravity and hefty battery weight suspended between the axles. It stays lower to the ground and feels more planted than other crossover SUVs, especially compared to the Tesla Model Y.
The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E uses electricity efficiently getting more than 3.4 miles per kWh. For comparison, the Model Y is rated at 3.6 miles per kWh, but most other electric vehicles of this size and capability hardly top 3.0 miles. The Standard Range battery provides 68 kWh of usable capacity, enabling 230 miles of range in single motor rear-wheel drive or 210 miles on the dual-motor all-wheel-drive model. The Extended Range battery provides 88 kkWh of usable capacity, good for 300 miles or 270 miles with the dual-motor setup. On our Extended Range Dual-Motor Premium rated at 270miles we consistently achieved 250 miles with plenty of range left so we have much more faith in Ford’s ratings versus the sadly optimistic Tesla ratings.
While the Mustang Mach-E can be charged on a typical 120-volt Level 1 outlet in your garage, a 240-volt Level 2 charger cuts the max charge time down from an impractical 95 hours to 14.1 hours, or 3 miles of range per hour to 21 miles, in Extended Range models; Standard Range wouldn’t take as long. Ford’s available Connected Charge Station upgrades a Level 2 charger to 48 amps (from 32). Charge time drops to 10.1 hours, or 30 miles of range per hour. Away from home, owners can register for the Fordpass Charging Network for access to more than 13,500 public charging stations via the Electrify America network, which includes Level 3 DC fast charging that can fill up 80% of the battery in 45 minutes.
The NHTSA has yet to mangle the Mach-E’s metal, but in the real world, its excellent standard driver assist systems and optional safety features mitigate road risks. It’s also a Top Safety Pick in upper models with better headlights, according to the IIHS. Standard safety features include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, active lane control, adaptive cruise control that can restart from a stop, blind-spot monitors with automatic rear braking, and automatic high beams. Despite the small digital gauge display, the systems are easy to initiate and track with clearly illuminated icons. For instance, when adaptive cruise control is set, the speedometer reading shrinks and shifts to the right side of the display, and the icon of the vehicle with the gap meter takes the center spot. Optional equipment includes hardware to enable hands-free driving when the software rolls out in 2021. Called Ford BlueCruise, it enables sustained hands-free driving on more than 100,000 of mapped divided highways, and it bundles a self-parking feature.
Clever packaging optimizes the coupe-like design of the Ford Mustang Mach-E. It can fit five adults, plenty of gear, and the front seats provide long-distance comfort, though more for the driver than the passenger. The driver rides on an 8-way power seat with adequate bolstering and seat bottoms; the passenger gets a 4-way manual seat. Black synthetic leather and a vinyl-wrapped steering wheel cover the surfaces. A fixed panoramic glass roof that looks black on the outside and stays cool on the inside protects occupants from UV light while still letting in all the sunshine. Unlike panoramic sunroofs, the fixed glass roof increases head room 1.5 inches and contributes to the airy cabin. The sloping roofline doesn’t limit rear head room; the rear seats fit a 6-foot-6 passenger with no slouch, though we wouldn’t stack a pair that size or put one in the middle seat unless the basketball court is nearby.
The 60/40-split rear seats fold down to expand cargo volume from 29.7 cubic feet to 59.7 cubic feet.. A foot-activated power liftgate is an option. There’s an additional 4.8 cubic feet in the front trunk that can double as a cooler. Shallow side pockets provide some stability for smaller items. A cargo cover standard on all but the base Select model mounts to the liftgate so it won’t get in the way, and if it does, it can be stowed in a two-tiered cargo floor that can be lowered about four inches.
The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E rewrites the book for a base trim. In addition to the excellent standard safety features mentioned above, the Mach-E comes with a 15.5-inch touchscreen that performs much better than it looks, a 10.2-inch digital gauge bar that looks like ticker tape, smartphone compatibility with wireless charging, keyless start, satellite radio, and two USB ports. The infotainment setup works as slick as it looks. A large icon on top of the display acts as a shortcut for driving and vehicle preferences. Otherwise, the screen layers three categories, with climate controls fixed at the bottom. The upper sections could be navigation up high and Apple CarPlay or Android Auto in the middle, or the middle section can be icons of the most recently used functions. Being able to see both at once is excellent and it’s easy to use. The 10.2-inch digital gauge bar is only a few inches tall, but shows all necessary info, with the drive setting on the right and speedometer in the middle. If navigation is active, the arrow for a next turn takes prominence in the display, then retreats when it has passed.
It really comes down to the tradeoff between performance and range. At $43,995, the Select model offers the best value but with the most limited range. Factoring the $5,000 charge for the larger battery and the $2,700 charge for all-wheel drive, the Premium model for $55,800 balances performance and range, and spares us the upcharge of the limited First Edition. It adds a power liftgate, the hardware for Ford BlueCruise, heated front seats and steering wheel, and a 9-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound. The limited-run First Edition costs $59,400. In addition to exclusivity, it adds branded scuff plates, unique seat stitching, and red brake calipers. All Mach-E’s come standard with a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty, but the battery is covered for 8 years/100,000 miles.