2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E review

Staff
By Staff Writer
Jun 20, 2022 | Ford, Mustang, Electric Cars, Mach-E | Posted in News and Notes | Never miss an article

Photography Credit: David S. Wallens

Sure, this might not be the electric Mustang many of us had in mind, but it still has an awful lot going for it.

[I have a Mustang Mach-E. What do you want to know?]

How does it stack up against a growing field of electric vehicles, and how does it perform as an everyday, do-it-all car?

Keep reading to find out.

Other Staff Views

David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

I’m old enough to remember when you could buy a Cutlass or a Corolla in either rear- or front-wheel drive. Or when a Dodge Charger had just two doors. If Ford wants to stick its latest e-car under the Mustang name, I’m fine with that.

Not that the Mustang is the most refined car out there (sorry not sorry) but for my $50,000, I do have a few asks of the Mach E:

  • Less highway wind noise. I’m not saying that the car should be silent, but I’d call the noise level unacceptable.
  • More supportive lower seat cushions. The bottoms just felt too short and too flat.
  • Tactile buttons or switches for the major HVAC controls, specifically temperature and fan speed. Please don’t make me take my eyes off the road should I want to make the interior warmer or colder.
  • Shock absorber valving that prevents the car from slamming into every road imperfection. My lowered Miata shouldn’t ride better. 

Other than that, I’m cool with the Mach-E. I think it looks good. It’s definitely quick. It’s a good size for two people although rear-seat access can be a little tight.

And it offers more range that a lot of other EVs, including some premium models. (Looking at you, Porsche and Audi.)

Aside from the seats, I’d give the interior a solid B. I’ll give Ford props for the mechanical interior door panels, but the giant iPad looks a bit, well, tacked on. (The wide-screen found in the Genesis, for example, just looks more upmarket.) The plastic controls feel solid but not luxurious.

So, the one-pedal driving. I tried it out. I get it but prefer the control offered by the two-pedal setup.

The EV landscape has gotten busy–and quickly. Where does the Mach-E fit in? I think it looks good and, in a quickly evolving market, the styling offers some comfort food to the mix.

J.G. Pasterjak
Production Manager\Art Director

I guess we’re officially past the point where we need to belabor the concept of “EVs are just like ‘regular cars hurrr durrrr” because we’re all grown-ups here. So we won’t discuss the Mach E from that angle.

I’m also not going to spend much time with the “Why did they call it a Mustang?” discussion. Because they did. It’s their company and they can do what they want. If that’s the most important thing you have to worry about right now, I envy your life.

Anyway, I like the Mach E a lot. In fact, with gas nearing $5 a gallon in our area, we took a serious look at it to replace my wife’s 2016 Mazda CX-5 when the time comes.

The drop from about $160 in gas per month to about $30 of electricity isn’t going to help the $50,000+ Mach E pay for itself very quickly, but at some point she’s going to need a new car and a full-electric something or other is becoming more and more realistic for her situation.

We did the math and realized she could have easily managed her entire life for the last six years with an EV with a 270 or so mile range. She probably would have never needed to charge at a commercial outlet, as she hasn’t taken a trip in her car, like, ever, that was far enough from home that she couldn’t have left with a full charge and gotten back. So, for us, our personal infrastructure works quite well for a modern full electric whip.

Of course, they’re not realistic for everyone’s situation. The public EV infrastructure is still hot flaming garbage with a side of pain. Charging at a commercial charger is going to cost many times more than the electricity coming out of your wall at home. (Sorry apartment dwellers who park too far away to run an extension cord.)

And that’s if that commercial charger is open and unoccupied, which the various apps for the commercial chargers are supposed to tell you, they often don’t work very well–which, as the former owner of a Nissan Leaf, I can tell you happens a lot.

So, yeah, EVs are absolutely “there” when it comes to being real cars, but they’re served by a nearly unusable public infrastructure that is the biggest hurdle to adoption for so many people. Which is a bummer because a lot of people would really dig the Mach E.

While I could use real knobs for the “big four” controls–volume, station, temp and fan speed–the Mach E’s large driver control panel is pretty intuitive, and at least doesn’t bury key functions several levels deep in menus.

I’m also a HUGE fan of one-pedal operation, which I admit will not be something everyone loves. But the integration of the system and the intuitiveness that it operates with (for me anyway) makes driving the Mach E really convenient and fun.

Overall, it’s not exciting, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s a fully functional vehicle that’s easy to live with and do errands with and has great sight lines and good steering and is easy to park. As a driving tool, it’s really effective, even if it isn’t particularly soulful.

Tom Suddard
Director of Marketing & Digital Assets

Remember when Chevy launched the Volt a decade ago? There was widespread condemnation, talking heads on TV decrying it as a government-built deathmobile, and lots of people screaming about how “They” would have to pry gasoline cars from cold, dead hands.

­Spoiler alert: It was fine.

Not only was the Volt a sales success, but it spawned a second generation and a whole genre of plug-in hybrid cars built by every mainstream automaker. They’re so common, that you probably drive past one every day without even realizing it.

This progress would have been unimaginable to everybody a decade ago, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Ask most people to name their dream car, and they’ll likely name a Tesla. On top of that, most automakers have full electric vehicles on sale.

Forget the politics and treehugging, more and more people are buying EVs–and they’re mostly buying them because they’re good. 

I’m one of those people—I spent nearly four years daily driving a Nissan LEAF, and I didn’t do it because I thought it would save the planet or because my gas cars were taken away at gunpoint. I bought an EV because it was the most convenient, best tool for the job of being my daily driver, and I loved every minute of it.

Yes, I parked my electric car in between our LS-swapped 350Z and LFX-swapped Miata project cars. The world didn’t end, Greenpeace didn’t throw anything at me, and I still walked out to a fully charged car every morning. 

All this progress begs the question: Have EVs progressed to the point where an electric motor is simply another engine option?

For decades, Ford has made Mustangs with four, six or eight cylinders–but that all changed with the introduction of the Mustang Mach-E, where your only engine choice is an electric motor.

Name aside–seriously, who cares if a car is named Mustang or Maverick or Fred–let's talk about the Mach-E. Our test car came nicely optioned with all-wheel drive, a larger battery and some fancy tech, stickering at $55,800.

That money gets you 346 horsepower, a 4.8 second 0-60 time, and 270 miles of range. Don’t need that much range? You can save $5000 and only travel 211 miles by opting for the smaller battery pack, or drop the all-wheel-drive to save a few more bucks and drive about 10% further on a charge. 

Is 270 miles enough? Absolutely. I used the Mustang as my only car for a few days, and in those few days I had an unexpected trip to the hospital at midnight, a surprise dinner invitation with no notice an hour’s drive away, and everything else involved in a busy life.

The entire time, I never worried about the range—the car started every day with a fresh charge, and filled itself back up while I slept. I did try DC fast charging at one point and bought 70 miles of range for about $6 over a 12-minute charge. I didn’t need the extra range, but it was worth it for the decent parking space while I was in the store. 

How does the Mach-E drive? The drivetrain is wonderful—4.8 seconds to 60 isn’t fast, but it’s plenty for a daily driver and there’s never any lag, downshifts, or noise. It just goes. Period. The steering is similarly wonderful, with a nice weight and much more feedback than anything else in the category.

In fact, there’s only one complaint I have about the driving experience: This thing rides rough. I found myself wondering if Ford was shooting for a Street Touring build when they chose spring rates for the Mach-E. At least it handles well, with a pleasant neutrality I didn’t expect from a crossover. It’s also the right shape and size, and I found it perfect for carrying five people, hauling groceries, and being a daily driver. 

One thing worth talking about is Ford’s attention to detail. Aside from the ride quality, every part seemed to be well thought out:

The cargo cover lifts up with the hatch so it doesn’t get in your way.

The interior door handles have a physical connection to the latch so you don’t get Fiero’d (or, these days, Tesla’d).

The speedometer display is labeled “Ground Speed” in a pleasant font that screams “I didn’t come from the corporate parts bin!”

Even the audio fader buried in the stereo’s menu shows the sound moving around a little photo of the Mach-E’s interior.

These little touches don’t cost extra money, but they made me feel like I was in something a bit special in a way I can’t quite explain. 

Overall, the Mach-E might be the best electric car I’ve ever driven. And if naming it “Mustang” means more people will learn it exists, I’m all for Ford’s decision to borrow some attention from its halo car. I’m looking forward to reminiscing about this car in another decade when we’re all driving even better electric cars.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more Ford, Mustang, Electric Cars and Mach-E articles.
Comments
View comments on the GRM forums
oneway
oneway New Reader
6/18/22 11:04 p.m.

Great article and honest reviews.  My biggest question about electric cars is the actual cost of daily driving.  For decades we have the MPG ratings clearly stated on the vehicles, X number of miles on 1 gallon of gas.  Simple math, but the variable has been the cost of the gallon over the decades.  I have yet to see, or maybe have just missed it, how many kilowatts needed to go X number of miles.  Like gas prices, kilowatt prices vary from region to region but it can give us a good estimate on how much additional electricity-kilowatts- do we need to use to keep the battery fully charged overnight?  Easy to find your kilowatt cost on the monthly utility bill and then get a rough estimate on the actual cost of fuel-in this case kilowatts not gallons-to have an EV as your daily driver.  Thanks for a great magazine and informative website, John-LugSC,

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/19/22 12:51 a.m.

In reply to oneway :

it's available in the same place you'd find the MPG ratings: fueleconomy.gov

Here's the Mach-E.

It's rated at 37 kWh for 100 miles. So figure roughly 3 miles per kWh as a rule of thumb - that's about typical for a non-Hummer EV. Some do slightly better, some slightly worse. And of course, driving style and conditions have an effect. But that's a good start. Last time I checked, our EV was bang on the rated consumption over 20,000 miles.

The chargers have very little loss (note - see some posts below where the amount is discussed), so you can figure that if you drove 100 miles it'll take 37 kWh to refill the battery overnight. At the national average of roughly 15c per kWh, that's $5.55 for 100 miles if you're charging at home. 

BillKeksz
BillKeksz New Reader
6/19/22 6:55 a.m.

Keith - What EV are you driving?

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/19/22 9:38 a.m.

Wow, have times changed- when I started driving, 0-60 in 4.8 seconds wasn't possible in anything you could buy,  now it's apparently "not fast" according to Tom.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/19/22 11:02 a.m.
BillKeksz said:

Keith - What EV are you driving?

I've had a Model 3 Dual Motor for a few years. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
6/19/22 11:32 a.m.

In reply to alfadriver :

Would it be better if I said "0.3 seconds faster to 60 than a new Camry" laugh

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/19/22 11:42 a.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

What makes the new Camry not fast?  

(one of my pet peeves over the last two decades- so much performance on speed performance over all else...  as if people actually use it- I'm betting that most posters have encountered that really cool new BMW going really slow on the freeway on-ramp.)

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/19/22 12:00 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver :

I went to a C&C with the Targa Miata, the first time it's been in front of the local public for a while. One of the kids heard the 500 hp figure and said "well, I guess it's light so that's not too bad" laugh

Perceptions have changed. 

DrMikeCSI
DrMikeCSI New Reader
6/19/22 9:04 p.m.

My 2001 Mustang couldn't do 60 in 4.8 seconds. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/19/22 9:34 p.m.

Nice review - my parents are talking about buying one of them (they seem to prefer the Ioniq5, but apparently no Hyundai dealer in this region actually HAS one).

I did chuckle at the "The cargo cover lifts up with the hatch so it doesn’t get in your way" as "attention to detail/well-thought-out." Is that not something you usually see? Pretty much any VW hatchback (Golf/GTI) has had that for decades. Hell, I think my 1987 Integra did that (or not)

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
6/19/22 10:03 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

The chargers have very little loss, so you can figure that if you drove 100 miles it'll take 37 kWh to refill the battery overnight. At the national average of roughly 15c per kWh, that's $5.55 for 100 miles if you're charging at home. 

From what I have read, this varies, but is generally in the 5-15% range, with the lower voltage chargers being worse.  Superchargers or other really high voltage public chargers seem to be damn near 100%.

https://www.caranddriver.com/features/a36062942/evs-explained-charging-losses/

 

tremm
tremm Reader
6/19/22 10:36 p.m.

Looks a bit like an awkwardly sized Veloster in that picture to me. I saw one on the streets today for the first time in a while, I'm not sure if I'm just not noticing them, or if they're still rare.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/20/22 9:57 a.m.
ProDarwin said:
Keith Tanner said:

The chargers have very little loss, so you can figure that if you drove 100 miles it'll take 37 kWh to refill the battery overnight. At the national average of roughly 15c per kWh, that's $5.55 for 100 miles if you're charging at home. 

From what I have read, this varies, but is generally in the 5-15% range, with the lower voltage chargers being worse.  Superchargers or other really high voltage public chargers seem to be damn near 100%.

https://www.caranddriver.com/features/a36062942/evs-explained-charging-losses/

 

Good link, thanks. Car and Driver isn't usually my first stop for carefully researched data, but it looks like they monitored actual energy consumption of the charger on their long term Model 3 which is the way to do it instead of an extreme 0-100% charging session. 95% efficiency average for home charging with a 240v charger is in line with what I've come across on other data sets, and high enough that you don't need to take it into account for back-of-the-envelope math where I was also knocking the last couple of decimal places off the cost of electricity. But if you want to add it into my previous statement, it would take 39 kWh to add 37 kWh to the battery at 95% charger efficiency, or $5.84.

One interesting point I've seen is that short sessions are lower efficiency for Level 1, so there's a cost to starting the charge cycle. I expect this is likely related to matching the temperature. Level 2 does not suffer as much in that scenario.

(For those not familiar, Level 1 and Level 2 chargers refer to how fast they can deliver power. Level 1 is a fairly slow option running 120v that will only add about 3 miles of range for every hour. Figure it's the space saver spare tire of charging, but it works for hybrids due to their small battery size. Level 2 runs off 240v and is what you'll find in most permanently installed home chargers or the chargers you've probably seen around town. It'll charge your EV overnight and typically runs about 30 miles of range per hour in a home install. Level 3 is faster and outputs DC power, usually called a fast or high speed charger. Over 1000 miles of range per hour is possible.)

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
6/20/22 10:00 a.m.

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

Sorry, I should have worded it better. It doesn't tilt up like those cars--it completely removes itself from the trunk when you open it. The front and rear are tied to the hatch. It's a pretty clever design.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/20/22 1:44 p.m.

How's this for meta: following a Mach-E while driving a Mach-E. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/20/22 1:45 p.m.

Also, maybe it's me, and maybe it's subtle, but from behind the wheel, the Mach-E's hood reminds me of an SN-95. There's just something about the contours.

Our Preferred Partners
E2lhMpubUNwUiCZ0wsSFlLdr7bIQT9HZjRDR0VjkAYUP01cE35unetyy1tjF5X6X