The automotive world paused and glanced the way of Ford when they announced a new all-electric vehicle. Then, the world did a double-take when they saw the Mustang name and badge attached to this new all-electric vehicle and, finally, there was a collective gasp when it was announced the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E was an SUV. And yet, despite the initial shock, the idea of an all-electric Ford Mustang SUV is growing on a lot of people.
The Ford Mustang is your classic pony car. In fact, it’s the classic pony car because it’s often attributed to making pony cars a thing in the first place. And, it’s been like that for over 50 years now. Enter the Mach-E, which will first release in 2020, and it almost seems like Ford is messing with people’s conceptions of what a Mustang even is. Really, though, it’s not changing a classic, but adding some much-needed electric performance to its repertoire. And, with the way SUVs have become so popular, it just makes sense to make this a crossover.
Ford is innovating. So, let’s see what they’ve managed to cook up.
If you’re going to put the Mustang name on a vehicle, you’re going to have to meet some lofty expectations. This can’t be your run-of-the-mill commuter SUV (although it can surely fit that role just fine), designed for taking Jimmy to soccer practice. No, you need something that’s going to perform on the road because, if it can’t, then it shouldn’t have a galloping pony anywhere close to it.
Fortunately, the good people at Ford know all of this. They wouldn’t dare touch something as sacred as the Mustang without making sure it would be a perfect fit. Not a good fit, but a perfect fit. They also know they can’t please everyone. Simply by making the Mach-E an SUV, they’ve probably infuriated a lot of the Mustang’s loyal fans. But, you have to take big risks for big rewards.
The extended range all-wheel drive Mach-E has a target of 332 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque, which is actually more powerful than your standard 2020 Mustang Ecoboost Fastback (310 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque). Although, you can expect the Mach-E to cost quite a bit more than an Ecoboost Fastback as well. Still, the power is nothing to be laughed at. Also, Ford is targeting for the standard all-wheel-drive variation of the Mach-E to have a faster 0-60 miles per hour time than the base Porsche Macan series, which has a 0-60 miles per hour time of 6.3 seconds.
That seems like a decent goal to aim for, beating a Porsche Macan, but 6.3 seconds doesn’t seem all that quick these days, especially when you look around to see what else can come close to that time. For example, the 2017 Kia Soul has a 0-60 miles per hour time of 6.4 seconds, just 0.1 seconds behind the Porsche Macan. Now, nothing against the Soul, but this is the vehicle that has been permanently branded the “hamster car” because of Kia’s aggressive marketing on the subject. A Mustang should be able to beat a hamster car, right?
Hopefully, that’s the case. And it really looks like it should be. Of the available trims, the Mach-E California Route 1 is the only configuration that comes into a targeted mid-6-second range for 0-60 miles per hour times. All of the other trims, including the limited edition First Edition, have targeting times in the mid-5-second range and below.
The real showboat is the Mach-E GT configuration, which looks to have an available Performance Edition within the variation. The Mach-E GT is targeting a 0-60 miles per hour time range of “less than 4 seconds,” while the GT Performance Edition’s target is the mid-3-second range. Now, we’re leaving the hamster car competition behind and facing off against more worthy opponents, like the Porsche Macan Turbo3 and the Porsche 911 GTS.
You can see the performance aspects of the Mach-E are looking pretty good, but what about the interior and luxury features? It’s an SUV, plus it’s a Mustang, so you should expect some good stuff all around, especially when the estimated starting MSRP will range from $43,895 to $60,500.
Stylistic features include the signature long Mustang hood, aggressive headlights, and a sharply angled windshield for a sportier look. You’ll also find a familiar rear-haunch design and trademark tri-bar tail lamps. Of course, the galloping pony logo will be found, both on the back of the vehicle and the front grille. It should be noted; the grille is actually a faux grille because it’s more a large plastic covering than anything, which is probably helpful in reducing drag. The GT variant still has the faux grille, but it includes a design that makes it look like a real one.
The Mach-E will come with a huge, centrally located 15.5-inch screen that’s connected to the SYNC communications and entertainment system. This system learns your preferences quickly and can be updated via over-the-air updates. It’s basically like a giant smartphone, including the ability to touch, swipe, or pinch the screen like any modern mobile device. From the screen, you can access an entire adaptive interface.
If you aren’t familiar with electric vehicles, you should know that they don’t tend to make a lot of noise. They can actually be eerily quiet, especially if you’re used to throaty growls and/or powerful thrums, which is why Ford has included three unique driving experiences with the Mach-E. They’re called Whisper, Engage, and Unbridled. They’re actually different sound profiles that you can switch between to change the driving experience on the interior (the exterior noise for pedestrian safety won’t change). You can expect what the name implies with Whisper (a quiet ride), but you’ll get a bit more noise with Engage and quite a bit more with Unbridled. All of the simulated noise will be coming through the Bang & Olufsen sound system, which includes a premium cloth-covered soundbar. Having to include fake noise in a Mustang sounds a little strange, but you’ll just have to see how you feel about it when you test one out.
Bluetooth Technology on the Mach-E
A new feature being debuted with the Mach-E is phone as a key technology. This technology will allow the vehicle to connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth, which will enable you to unlock the door and start the vehicle as long as you’re in range, thus eliminating the need for a key or key fob. You’ll still be able to start the car with a backup code input into the center touch screen if your phone battery is dead.
Interestingly, there is both a front trunk and your typical rear trunk. Being all-electric (and storing batteries inside the underbody of the vehicle) clears up some space for both luggage and passenger capacity, making for a spacious ride.
If you aren’t at least intrigued by this vehicle, then you’re just a tough nut to crack. It’s got power, it’s got style, and it’s got features. It’s shaping up to be a very nice vehicle, although the Mustang badge is still a little strange.