While most see EV and hybrid vehicles as a welcome addition to the automotive landscape, this new breed has faced a bit of an uphill battle among certain subsets of the driving public. This sort of bias might have made sense during the infancy of the EV/hybrid segments, but—as the industry has grown, adapted, and introduced new technology—these alternative fuel vehicles have become just as capable and powerful as their gas-powered forerunners. Look no further than the 2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E to see why.
Along with its stablemate in the Ford F-150 Lightning, the Mach-E is here to do the impossible: convince die-hard pony car and full-size pickup fans to give up their gas guzzlers for new, all-electric versions of their beloved models. When the first wedge-shaped hybrid rolled off the line at the turn of the millennium, it was hard to imagine a day when pickups and sports cars would see an EV powertrain dropped under the hood, but—over the intervening two decades—automakers have proved that hybrid and electric powertrains don’t need to come at the cost of power and performance.
It helps to have one of America’s most storied auto brands jump into the fray because, when an automotive powerhouse like Ford decides to get into the EV business, drivers take notice. The automaker’s new generation of all-electric vehicles has quickly become some of the most popular models in their respective segments, jumpstarting Ford’s nascent EV business and earning the automaker the #2 spot in domestic EV sales.
Detroit’s Big Blue Oval is now making EVs a big part of their game plan, boosting production of models like the Mustang Mach-E, F-150 Lightning, and E-Transit to meet the red-hot demand. In fact, Ford recently announced it’s going to triple the production of the F-150 Lightning and double production of the Mach-E, all while actually reducing the price of the latter model by around six percent. If all goes to plan, Ford will be able to roll out 210,000 units of the Mach-E and 150,000 units of the F-150 Lightning by the end of 2023.
These strong sales have been buoyed by a recent tax credit program from the US government, enabling buyers to save $7,500 on qualifying EVs and hybrids and up to $4,000 on used models. The program has been a particular boon to automakers like Ford due to the fact that only vehicles assembled in the US qualify for the credit. Both the Mach-E and F-150 Lightning qualify under the EV tax credit program—assuming a driver can find a model priced at less than $80,000. That’s easier said than done at the moment as shortages and high demand have some models going for well over MSRP, but—with a little patience—it should be easy enough to take advantage of this generous tax credit.
So why are Ford’s EV offerings proving so popular among the driving public? After all, there’s no lack of EV and hybrid models on offer these days, with nearly every automaker rolling out new models each year, not to mention a handful of EV startups looking to disrupt the industry with their own all-electric offerings. Let’s explore some of the unique features that set Mach-E apart from the competition and see how Ford has managed to translate the spirit of its legendary pony car into a new model well-poised to lead the brand into the future.
Our Five Favorite Features
THREE DRIVE MODES: While the Mach-E might technically be an SUV coupe, make no mistake, its pony car heritage is alive and well. That sounds good in theory, but what if you’re not looking for a pony car experience every time you step behind the wheel? Don’t get us wrong, that 480 hp can be a lot of fun to play with, but it might be a little overkill when you’re running errands around town or picking the kids up from school. Well, Ford is way ahead of us, gracing the Mach-E with three distinct driving modes that allow drivers to customize the driving experience to their whims. These modes allow the Mach-E to adjust everything from steering and stability control to throttle response, efficiency, acceleration, deceleration, and more. They also offer a host of interior adjustments that tweak the ambient lighting, interior sound, instrument cluster, and graphics to reflect the spirit of each mode.
Engage Mode is the ideal choice for everyday driving, offering a balanced experience and soft blue ambient lighting while adding just enough simulated engine sound to let you know you’re behind the wheel of a Mustang. Whisper Mode is the Mach-E at its most demure, enabling lighter steering control and more gradual acceleration and coasting deceleration response to make for the smoothest possible ride. Simulated engine sounds are also deactivated, and Brake Traction Control makes for a less stressful driving experience by improving traction on wet surfaces. For those looking for the pure Mustang experience, there’s Unbridled Mode. As soon as the orange ambient lighting kicks in, you know you’re in for quite a ride as the Mach-E sharpens its steering, enhances the throttle response, and even simulates the sensation of downshifting when decelerating. Unbridled Mode also makes a pleasant amount of noise, copying the original Mustang’s throaty V8 rumble while allowing you to keep the gas station firmly in your rearview.
NITE PONY PACKAGE: The Mach-E has only been on the market since 2021, but Ford has already rolled out a number of updates to ensure the model doesn’t run the risk of seeming stale. New for 2023, the Nite Pony appearance package is available for the Premium and GT Performance Edition trims to outfit the EV with a moody new look. On the Premium trim, that means new, blacked-out accents to the front bumpers and door cladding, a black-painted roof, and a new set of gloss-black 19-inch wheels. Those opting for the top-tier GT Performance Edition will enjoy similar black accents as well as 20-inch gloss-black wheels and black GT badging. These changes are perfectly reflected in the Nite Pony moniker, which was actually the result of an online poll conducted by Ford in 2022. The name beat out Shadowmare, Shadow Stallion, and Alastor to grace the 2023 model, although Ford has also trademarked the name “Mustang Dark Horse,” so keep an eye out for future models wearing that particular honorific.
ONE-PEDAL DRIVING MODE: Sometimes, less is more, and that’s certainly true in the case of the Mach-E’s One-Pedal Driving Mode. This innovative system is unique to the EV segment since the same electric motors that drive the vehicle can be spun backward to capture braking energy and translate it into battery-topping power. When One-Pedal Driving Mode is activated, the Mustang ramps up the motor’s resistance to the point where you can skip the brake pedal altogether and rely solely on releasing the accelerator to bring the vehicle to a stop. This mode is perfect for stop-and-go driving, removing the need to switch between pedals while maximizing the Mach-E’s battery power and maintaining its range. The brake pedal is still there if you need it, but once you get used to the one-pedal system, it might start to gather some dust.
FRUNK: frah-unk (plural frunks), noun: A trunk (boot, storage compartment) located at the front rather than the rear of a car. Everyone knows what these are by now, and yet we’ll never get over the novelty of finding extra storage space every time we pop the hood. Built with a focus on thrill, not practicality, the Mustang has never been the most spacious model in Ford’s lineup, but the frunk gives the Mach-E some much-appreciated storage space, making it a more practical daily driver than most of the pony cars of old. Ford has improved on the frunk concept with the 2023 Mach-E, adding a water-tight bin with a drain plug in the front so drivers can take their next tailgate, fishing, or camping trip to the next level.
BLUECRUISE: Ford’s hands-free driving automation system might seem like an odd inclusion on this list. After all, who is buying a Mustang NOT to drive it? That argument seems valid right up until you’re faced with your first long road trip or commute where, no matter how thrilling the ride might be, you’ll always welcome a little break from driving duty. When BlueCruise is activated, drivers can enjoy hands-free driving across 130,000 miles of Hands-Free Blue Zones across North America.
Formerly known as Active Drive Assist, the system takes advantage of some of the latest and greatest advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) on the market, leveraging everything from Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go to Lane Centering and Speed Sign Recognition to give drivers a ride straight out of the sci-fi realm. This system currently requires drivers to touch the steering wheel from time to time to ensure they’re attentive to the road ahead, but BlueCruise is regularly updated with over-the-air software updates, which will steadily expand the system’s Hands-Free Blue Zones while adding important safety and security updates.
There’s a lot to love about the 2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E. From its generous suite of advanced automotive tech—like BlueCruise and One-Pedal Driving—to various drive modes, bold appearance packages, and the lovely frunk, this SUV is more than worthy to carry on the legacy of America’s original pony car. While we’ve given you a quick look at some of our favorite features on the 2023 model, we’ve barely scratched the surface.
The Mach-E boasts an impressive range of up to 312 miles, as well as a fast-charging capability that allows drivers to top off their battery in a hurry. Add in all-wheel drive, a MagneRide Active Suspension, a panoramic fixed glass roof, and Sync 4A infotainment technology, and you’ve got a well-rounded EV that manages to hit the sweet spot between performance, convenience, safety, and fun. This is only the third year the Mustang Mach-E has been on the market, and if early sales figures are any indication, it could play a big role in Ford’s EV future. We’re excited to see what the automaker has in store as they march into the all-electric future, but we are more than happy to occupy ourselves with the 2023 Mach-E for the time being.