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There was bound to be some controversy over the name of the new Ford Mustang Mach-E just as there’s controversy surrounding the inevitable emergence of electric vehicles (EVs). However, after spending a week with the new Mustang Mach-E fully electric SUV, I can welcome a promising future of EVs with open arms, but with a few minor exceptions when it comes to the caveats of charging and use of America’s current charging infrastructure.
The Mustang Mach-E is an all-new vehicle for the 2021 model year that for the newer 2022 model year received a slightly improved range. Otherwise, what I have here in my possession is what you can order from your local Ford dealership after begging for a break on the ridiculous dealer markups applied at some greedy dealers.
Powering the Ford Mustang Mach-E in the Premium All-Wheel-Drive trim, which slots just below the more-powerful Mustang Mach-E GT, is a pair of AC motors – one on the front axle and one for the rear axle. Combined output is rated at 346 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque getting its electric power from an 88-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The drivetrain being all-wheel-drive in my test vehicle makes for a sure-footed experience where the Mustang Mach-E AWD may bark the efficient-focused Michelin Primacy 225/55R-19-inch tires but remains mostly composed. The rear end tends to kick out a little for some fun out of a turn but in a controlled fashion so as to never put cars & coffee crowds that fear Mustangs in danger.
The instant torque from the Mustang Mach-E is the bulk of the thrilling experience that helps the electrified SUV get up to 60 mph from a standstill in just 5.1 seconds. The ride quality is good but the suspension dampers tend to cause some jouncing and pogo stick action in my test car.
The dynamics of the Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD are good and on the sporty side if you choose to bring them out using either the Engage or sporty Unbridled drive modes. Otherwise, you can leave it in the Whisper drive mode that doesn’t enable any deceleration from the drivetrain motors for regenerative braking. The Engage and Unbridled modes bring a decent amount of deceleration acting as regenerative braking before pressing the brake pedal, which is mostly seamless for its transition to the friction brakes after utilizing all of the motors’ regenerative properties. There is also a 1-pedal drive option that will bring the Mustang Mach-E to a stop without using the brake pedal where it smartly enacts the LED brake lights at a certain degree of letting off the throttle.
Ford went the distance to live up to the Mustang name in the Mach-E, even though it is an SUV that affords additional head space and cargo room with a slightly upright stature over the Mustang coupe. Not much gives away to the Mustang Mach-E being fully electric until you get in and drive off. The unique simulated drivetrain sounds that are customized to each drive mode add to the sensation of acceleration that plants you deep into your seat from the ample instant torque available from a stop and at virtually any speed.
Having the extended-range version of the Mach-E to test is a welcoming experience considering you have a range of up to 270 miles. That range is usually not tapped because a 100% battery charge state is rarely obtained unless you opt to charge at home overnight taking about 14 hours via a 220-volt connection, which Ford provides an adaptor if you wish to use your home dryer outlet. Otherwise, you may use the standard 110-volt connection that may take you a few days to fully charge a depleted battery.
Where things get interesting is the ability to charge from 10% state of charge up to 80% in just 38 minutes using a DC fast charger (up to 150 kW), if you can find one on your driving route. Thankfully the navigation of the Mach-E provides clear paths and indications of nearby charging stations, which are nicely populated near major American Interstates. If you opt to charge from 80% to 100% it is best to do it at home considering how the dynamics of the battery reduce the charging speed when it looks to pass 80% state of charge – mostly to prolong the lifespan of the battery pack. Doing such at a fast charger may take upwards of an hour or two just to reach 100% from 80%. The thinking here is to top it off at 80% and continue to drive to your next destination or await a home charge overnight to top it off at 100%.
Having a range of 270 miles for my extended range AWD Premium Mach-E test vehicle I feel is a sweet spot for EV range for commuting and driving around town, or even on short trips to neighboring cities. I noticed that the Mustang Mach-E AWD Premium can be quite efficient and best its estimated range if you’re conscious of your energy moves and throttle. Having ample power makes it easy at times to be soft with your throttle application and matching the 96 MPGe city, 84 MPGe highway, and 90 MPGe combined figures is relatively easy. In all, that equates to about 37 kW-hours per 100 miles, which using simple math on the readout of miles per kW-hours is spot on for what I saw during my week unless I was having fun to live up to the Mustang name.
There are many traits that make the Mustang Mach-E a more cohesive concept than something like the Tesla Model Y as it has more traditional switchgear and a more agreeable cabin layout in my opinion. In terms of build quality, it too seems to be above what I have seen in Tesla vehicles as of late, which isn’t surprising considering Ford has been in the game longer than just about everyone else even though they are relatively new to the full EV fray.
Inside there are of plenty soft-touch surfaces, including the bulk of the upper door trim. On the dashboard. there is an interesting use of fabric covering some speaker areas of the 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system. Oddly, the climate vents are somewhat hindered by the massive portrait-oriented 15.5-inch infotainment screen, which is unique in its own right and feels more natural than other screens oriented in such a manner. The screen combines all the vehicle functions and controls but is nicely integrated for quick ease of use once you overcome just a short learning curve. The system, utilizing Ford’s new Sync 4A setup, displays the important functions in a fixed area but allows the best use of such screen real estate that I’ve seen in a modern vehicle. For starters, the 360-degree camera system expands and makes clever use of the screen real estate, in addition to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto displayed in a larger form than most with the option to shrink its display area. The vehicle functions and settings are grouped together within a quick access Mustang Mach-E icon at the top left, and the volume knob is nicely integrated to float at the bottom of the screen for easy reach. Ford thought this through!
The seating areas are roomy and comfy and often feel as if they are more isolated from one another than in other similarly sized compact SUVs. There’s a good amount of front seat adjustability with heating up front. I would have liked to have seen the availability of ventilated seats up front but I think Ford may do such in the next year or two. The driving position feels like it is hard to find as the brake and ‘throttle’ pedal are a bit high for my taste but could benefit shorter drivers.
The back seats have a surprisingly good amount of space, and the cargo capacity is good at just under 30 cubic feet with the 60/40-split seatbacks in place. Fold them down and you get just over 59 cubic feet of space, all accessed through a hands-free power liftgate. As a bonus, which is expected from EVs, is a 5-cubic-feet frunk (front trunk) area with plastic storage dividers that also allows you to use it as a cooler to store ice and easily drain the water from the compartment after the ice has melted.
The Ford Mustang Mach-E gets its full array of active safety features as part of the standard Co-Pilot360 suite of driver aids, which includes blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alert, lane centering, parking sensors, frontal collision warning and mitigation (emergency braking), and adaptive cruise control. There’s the option of Ford’s BlueCruise system, which is their hands-free driving aid available on select divided highways across America.
The Ford Mustang Mach-E paves a clear path to vehicle electrification for the mainstream, and that’s also reflected in the pricing that starts at $43,895 for the base trim 2022 model year. Moving to the top trim of my test vehicle you’ll look to spend just over $56,000 and around $63,000 for the Mach-E GT Performance trim that touts 480 horsepower and 634 lb-ft of torque with a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds.
The Mustang’s future looks electrifying and intriguing, for sure, even if it is in an SUV form!
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