By Frank S. Washington
DETROIT – We test drove the future recently; the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E. It is the electrified version of the fabled Mustang.
This is not a concept car; it is on sale now. And it has a reasonable purchase price. The Mustang Mach-E has a sticker of $43,897. What’s more, government subsidies can shave up to $7,000 off that price.
We would need more time with the car to find something we didn’t like about the Mustang Mach-E.
Mechanically, as we’ve said, the Mustang Mach-E is an electric car. These are the core elements of the electric Mustang that undoubtedly will force manufacturers to speed development of their own electric offerings.
The Mach-E had a lithium-ion battery that comes in two sizes. In standard size, it makes 266 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque in rear-wheel drive format. In all-wheel-drive, it makes the same horsepower, but torque is bumped up to 420 pound-feet.
In extended range, horsepower is 290 and torque is 317 pound-feet for rear-wheel drive. In all-wheel drive, horsepower is a hefty 346 while torque is 428 pound-feet.
And range with a full charge is 230 miles for rear-wheel and 210 miles for all wheel on the standard model. The numbers of the extended range model are 300 miles for rear-wheel drive and 270 miles for all-wheel drive.
The difference between extended range and standard range is a bigger battery, nothing more. But don’t get it twisted, an extended lithium-ion battery on the Mach-E weighs 1,290 lbs. In other words, lithium-ion means light –comparatively.
The Mustang Mach-E can be charged using a standard household outlet, but it will take 95 hours to get a full charge. Level 2 charging using 240 volts from a dedicated household outlet will take 14.1 hours. A charge station professionally installed in a garage or driveway provides 24 volts but with 48 amps. That will take 10.1 hours for a full charge. And then there is the Level 3, 150 kW fast charger. A quick 45 minutes will get you an 80 percent charge.
There is nothing new about this charging data, but the FordPass Charging Network is new. What this will do, using a smartphone, is tell you where the nearest charging station is located, what kind of charge is available and is the station occupied. And that is nationally.
In other words, if you’re going from say here to New York, it will give you that charging information for the route, and the location of the stations where you should stop and charge along the way. It will also tell you what is in the charging area like restaurants and points of interest. In other words where you can wait or what you can do while charging.
There is no telling how far Ford can take the Mustang Mach-E brand. This year the company will introduce the Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition. It is estimated to get from zero-to-60 mph in the mid-3-second range and will have a projected 459 horsepower and 612 pound-feet of torque.
During development of the Mach-E, the challenge was to make sure that it looked like a Mustang. They did that especially around the rounded hood and the three bar lights fore and aft.
The Ford Mustang Mach-E is a small crossover. But it really doesn’t look like one. Its Mustang DNA was just that strong. Still, there was 29.7 cu. ft. of cargo space behind the second row. Fold the rear seats and that opened to 59.7 cu. ft. of space.
There are three drive modes: Engage, which provides a balanced acceleration and deceleration response, Whisper, which provides lighter coasting deceleration response and Unbridled has an aggressive throttle response and vehicle sound with stronger deceleration effects.
It had all the bells and whistles including blind spot alert, post collision braking, automatic energy braking, intelligent adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane centering and speed sign recognition, voice-activated touchscreen navigation and active park assist. The Mach-E also had a fixed glass roof. It had over the air updates, too.
We climbed into the vehicle though doors with no latches; internal studs open the door a bit and then a small grab lever could be used to open the front door. The rear seat passengers could just finger the inside of the door and pull it open. It made for a smooth look.
Anyway, we didn’t bother with any instructions or what controls were where. We just started driving our all-wheel drive extended range Premium trim. There was a huge, 15.4-inch, infotainment screen and a small instrument cluster screen in front of the driver. In other words, it was an all-digital layout.
Our cloth interior was comfortable and of course with a fixed glass roof our test car was airy. This was no spin around the block, it was a 75 mile-route on two lane roads, Interstate 94, and local traffic. There was plenty of time to pick up the motoring characteristics of the Mach-E.
First, it was not slow. On a couple of short straightaways, we put the pedal to the mettle and this Mustang got from 40 mph to 87 mph in a couple of seconds. It had a top speed of 111 mph. That jumps up to 124 mph for the GT which is coming.
The seating position was higher than a sedan like most crossovers, but it had a heft like it was anchored to the road. No doubt due to the battery between the axles which weighed almost 1,300 lbs.
But don’t get it twisted the Mach-E was quick, fast, and smooth. One of its traits we thought outstanding was the suspension. There were a lot of dips and gullies on this route and there were some tight curves too.
There was never any bouncing, the weight of the Mustang did not pull it to one side or the other. It was planted on the road and stayed that way no matter how much the terrain changed. It was easy to dive.
One thing we had to get used to was when took our foot off the accelerator, the Mustang Mach-E decelerated quickly. It was much like how a vehicle with a manual transmission slows down when it is first or second when and you take your foot off the clutch. The difference was with the Mach-E it came to complete stop without the engine shutting off because there was no clutch or transmission.
We wrapped up the route with a 20-mile run down I-94 back to the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti. The Mustang we obviously quiet but because of normal road noise the ride was not silent. Performance and road reaction were no different than a normal car.
It appears that the Mustang Mach-E has the right stuff.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com