2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E First Edition
A few years ago ford decided it was time to sunset their car lineup which means storied nameplates such as Taurus, Fusion and Focus were sent into retirement to pave the way for Ford’s all-electric future. And leading that charge is this crossover SUV Mustang called the Mach-E.
Through 2025, Ford plans to invest more than $22 billion to engineer electric vehicles with a company goal of achieving global carbon neutrality by 2050. This Mach-E, E-Transit Commercial van and upcoming F-150 Lighting are just the beginning. Introduced in 2019 to a truckload of fanfare and much consternation among Mustang loyalists, the Mach-E slowly began rolling out from its Mexican assembly plant to customers late last year, first with Select, Premium, California Route 1 and like here, First Edition models and just recently owners have started receiving the go-faster GT and GT Performance Editions. This long since sold-out limited quantity First Edition tester was available exclusively with all-wheel drive and the extended range battery for $59,400 before any available EV incentives, such as the $7,500 federal tax credit.
Other trims offer rear-wheel drive and a standard range battery for as under $45,000. This one is rated at 270 miles on a full charge but other Mach-E’s vary between 211 miles and 305 miles depending upon the build. The First Edition came very well equipped with all of the goodies and draws plenty of attention in this Grabber Blue Metallic paint.
It’s the very definition of a crossover; sporting a car-like appearance with SUV hatchback versatility. It seats 5 with cargo dimensions similar to that of a Ford Escape though unlike that small SUV the Mach-E doesn’t tow. But where the Escape would have its engine placed the Mach-E offers more carrying space via a divided luggage compartment that’s drainable meaning you could even pack it with ice for tailgating. The other big talking point is this enormous 15.5”, Tesla-like tablet housing the next generation of Ford’s SYNC infotainment system. Beyond its notable size, it’s meant to work like your smartphone, programmed to learn your behaviors and making suggestions based upon your routine. It’s also updatable over-the-air.
As an electric car owner myself, I get lots of question from people curious about the ownership experience – mainly charging and range. But by in large the fear of emptying your car’s battery and having nowhere to charge it is more about the anxiety of changing your behavior.
People exploring EVs for the first time expend way too much energy worrying about charging times. Here’s a basic rule of thumb; plug into a standard household outlet it’ll take days, a 240V outlet – like most public chargers or the one that your dryer is plugged – take hours and with a fast-charger – like the ones at Walmart, certain grocery store chains and upscale shopping malls it’ll take minutes. Days, hours, minutes depending upon where you do your charging.
But here’s the thing; you’ll do most of your charging at home, overnight and unless you live over 100 miles from your job and there’s no charger there this really isn’t a problem…it’s just in your head. Installing a dedicated charger will run you over $1,000 but it’s like having a gas station in your garage and it’s compatible with just about every other EV you may buy someday. Now all that being said, this Mach-E is rated at 270 miles of range – about the same as the V8-powered Mustang Mach – 1 – but I’ve consistently been getting about 30 miles less than that on a full charge. For some comparison, my Kona EV is rated at 245 miles but consistently returns closer to 290 miles.
The estimated average fuel cost is only $750; quite a bit better than a Mustang V8’s $2,600. Ford warrantees the electrical components including the 376 Lithium-ion cells for 8 years or 100,000 miles. Now, if you go the home charger route Ford is collaborating with Amazon for all of your installation services including Ford’s own more powerful Connected Charge Station which can add 32 miles per charging hour.
And the Mach-E comes with 2 years of complimentary free charging at a variety of chargers such as here at my local Electrify America station where you can take your car’s charge from 10% to 80% in about 45 minutes. The Ford Pass mobile app and in-car app will help you locate chargers along your route. Speaking of which…
I was in New York City for the kickoff this past spring and after 6,500 miles and 20 states visited, the Mach-E arrived in Seattle 50 days later showcasing its long range possibilities to curious crowds in Florida, D.C., Charlotte, Atlanta and Vegas.
The best part of driving any EV is the immediate acceleration and the Mach-E has plenty of that though Ford reserves the really spirited stuff for the GT trim. The other aspect of this car that makes it unique is the degree to which 1 pedal driving is applied. That’s where you can brake the car by just lifting off the accelerator. And unlike my Kona which has steering wheel paddles to vary the amount of 1 pedal, here on the Mach-E it’s either on or off and it’s the most aggressive form of 1 pedal I’ve ever tested.
Some people love it, others hate it and I’m somewhere in between…either way it takes some practice to do it right. And lastly, these tires are none too interested in sports car handling so in that regard the Mach-E feels a little heavy and sloppy for a car wearing the Mustang badge.
The new GT trims can be fitted with summer-use tires and hit 60mph in 3.5 seconds. This one – rated at 346 horsepower and 428 pound-feet of torque -accelerates with a chirp of the tires and little other sound on its way to a 4.8 second time; no doubt quick in the electric car style but nothing absurd. Ford has given the Mach-E clever drive names and so when it’s time to go Unbridled the car’s responsiveness improves and the interior sound increases to emulate a Mustang’s engine. You can turn this feature off it’s not for you but I kind of like it. The Mach-E’s all-wheel drive system improves handling but these Michelin Primacy all-seasons are a limiting factor. All-in-all the drive is semi-sporty leaning more towards SUV comfort but with a little edge to the ride…you’re not isolated from the road in here.
I’m not sure if it’s because this car has already been around for a couple of years or what but it’s just not exciting me that much. Yes, the cabin’s design breaks new ground for Ford and its quasi-SUV versatility is commendable but this new version of SYNC is eh, the driver display can’t really be customized, the ambient lighting isn’t fully fleshed out, and there isn’t anything in here I haven’t seen before. It is quiet, the seats are cushy, the glass roof is neat and I appreciate the wireless phone projection. All in all it’s very pleasant – I guess I was just expecting something a little more ground breaking for $60,000.
The integration of these B&O speakers across the front looks great, the blue seat stitching adds detail, and the clean design matches its EV propulsion. The glass roof doesn’t include a sunshade but Ford engineered it to insulate you from the heat and cold and the fixed rear seats are certainly adult-friendly. And check out these door handles…a button push to open the doors from out here and a funky switch to open them from the inside.
But the cut of the wireless charge pad is odd… it could have held 2 phones not one…and in general I’d like a little more Mach-E pizzazz, if you will. The ambient lighting is all down low so at night the cabin feels dark…though the Mustang projection is cool.
There is a hands-free liftgate and a 2-stage cargo floor but having the button to open the hatch on the screen and nowhere esle is cumbersome to say the least. Finally, Mach-E debuts Ford’s Phone As A Key Technology and better than Hyundai it does work with iPhone as well as Android devices.
So do you want one? You’d better be patient…if you order a 2022 Mach-E today wait times are greater than 20 weeks and over 28 weeks for the GT trims. But good things come to those who wait and the Mach-E does a commendable job of making a positive EV impression.
2021 FORD MUSTANG MACH-E TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES | TESTDRIVENOW 2021(c)