The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E disappoints in our first drive
This is not a review of the SUV version of the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E.
I just spent a brief two hours inside Ford’s forthcoming EV. I don’t feel confident drawing conclusions after just a few hours of driving. After Ford sees this piece, I’ll probably be last in line for long-term testing since I need more time with the Mach-E.
During the little time I spent with the Mach-E, one thing became obvious: the vehicle is neither a Mustang nor an SUV.
Ford is selling customers an experience that is not available in the Mach-E by referring to the Mach-E as a Mustang SUV. This is not a battle of words. Traditional definitions of a sporty SUV don’t apply to the Mach-E. For example, look at the Tesla Model X or the Audi E-Tron Sportback, which provide numerous essential qualities lacking from the Mach-E SUV and are robust, strong, and seem tiny, loose, and sloppy in comparison.
There are various things to worry about. The car dynamics raised several red flags for me. The back end struggles to maintain traction, and the throttle is sickening. Comparatively speaking, the range is inadequate; the AWD variant gets 50 less miles per gallon than an equivalent Tesla. What aspects of an electric car are more crucial than the way it drives and its electric range?
I just drove a 2021 Mustang Mach-E AWD down a well-traveled highway in southern Michigan. This region is well-known among car journalists as Hell, Michigan. In spite of the moniker, it’s a beautiful location with old-growth hardwoods along peaceful, meandering roads that allow automobiles to breathe. And for some excitement, detour onto a dirt road and dip and dive for a while. The Mach-E had it rough in this region.
Even though the test was brief, I still had a lot of impressions.
The Mach-E stutters like a subcompact crossover. The ride and handling lack any sense of assurance or security. The Mach-E doesn’t drive like a Mustang, despite having the moniker Mustang (hold your jokes; the latest Mustangs are fantastic). The Mach-E can’t be backed into a corner and hope to come out unscathed. Rear tyres come off, the body rolls, and you stop respecting the Mustang brand.
The throttle is very expressive and sensitive. Mach-E advances using a pedal press. The Mach-E requires some getting used to when coupled with intense regenerative braking. The powertrain seemed careless to me. The use of electric cars requires skill. The electric motors must provide power in a steady, predictable manner that is thrilling and self-assured without being oppressive. Few manufacturers have succeeded the first time around with this difficult recipe.
The terrible handling of the AWD Mach-E shocked me right away. Most new EVs drive so wonderfully that they become monotonous. Unlike the Mach-E. The rear end is overly bouncy and not in a dynamic way for a pedestrian vehicle. Simply said, this is reckless and sloppy. When making routine manoeuvres, the tyres are readily released. In order to prevent the rear wheels from spinning, the car often has to activate traction control while the accelerator is depressed and the wheel is being turned.
Ford raised expectations for the Mach-capabilities E’s beyond its technical capacity by insisting on promoting the vehicle as sporty. When the driver concentrates on the Mach-performance, E’s things get chaotic. There were multiple occasions when I was driving the Mach-E through corners and the rear tyres became erratic or caused the vehicle to turn excessively wide. With more speed, this is magnified. How the AWD system manages snow and ice intrigues me. Throughout my test drive, it had a few issues with gravel.
That response from the Ford engineer, “Yeah, only if you drive it that way,” remained with me since I don’t believe it was my fault when I subsequently challenged him about the extreme oversteer. Even though the roads were dry and I don’t believe I was driving the Mach-E in an aggressive manner through Ann Arbor, Michigan, the traction control engaged numerous times during my brief drive. That must not occur.
Straight line performance is greater for the Mach-E. The increase in speed is rapid. The Mach-E rears on its back legs and leaps forward with eagerness, smashing the go-pedal to the ground. Can it outrun a Tesla in speed? No, but it’s still faster than the majority of cars in its price range and has enough speed to accelerate through a stop sign.
Three driving modes exist for the Mach-E. The throttle transmits power in a more controlled manner in the regular and economy modes than it does in the performance mode, which seems clumsy and unpolished. Through forceful regenerative braking, all three modes enable one-pedal operation.
Another thing to take into account with the Mach-E is the electric range. The Mach-RWD-only E’s variant has a peak range of 300 miles per charge, while the AWD version has an EPA-estimated top range of 270 miles, which is less than the 326 miles offered by Tesla’s AWD Model Y.
I’m unable to go further into the Mach-actual E’s battery range due to the test’s short duration. I must keep the automobile with me and utilize it for a range of local and out-of-town chores. All I have to say is that I averaged 2.7 miles per kilowatt-hour throughout my two-hour journey. The battery had 112 miles left when I returned it, which is 56% according to the car. I was operating an AWD vehicle with a long-range battery. According to the EPA and Ford, this model has a range of 270 miles per charge.
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The starting price of $42,895 for the Mach-E is reasonable. The starting price for the AWD, extended-range model is $54,700, and it rises according on the choices. The majority of American purchasers qualify for a $7,500 tax credit. At $37,990, the Tesla Model 3 is affordable. The Model Y crossover costs $49,990, while the long-range, AWD Model 3 begins at $46,990.
Competitors also have drawbacks. The Tesla Model 3 and Model Y are cutting-edge cars with a class-leading range, but they are not without faults, such as a shoddy construction job. Although the Polestar 2 is a terrific car, it starts at a higher beginning price of $59,900 and has a shorter electric range.
Fantastic interior design is hardly a surprise with the Mach-E. Ford produces some of the most beautiful interiors in their class, and the Mach-cabin E’s is stunning.
Ford made considerable efforts to replace conventional automobile parts with contemporary alternatives, as do the majority of EVs. A tiny, slender LCD panel is placed in front of the driver in place of the gauge cluster. It is elegant and effective. The temperature controls and a large LCD screen for media playing are located in the middle stack. Physical volume control comes in the form of a spinning knob that is permanently attached to the screen’s bottom. The volume knob is fantastic.
Although the inside is a little congested, it’s adequate for a compact crossover. One possible explanation for the SUV moniker is the driver’s commanding seat. For a quick trip across town, two people can fit in the back, but there isn’t much space for legs, so I wouldn’t want to stay back there for too long.
I find the vehicle’s dynamics annoying since they obscure the Mach-entertaining E’s characteristics. Through a feature-rich road-trip software, owners may preprogram navigation routes and use their smartphone as a key. Because the doors are button-operated, the outside is kept tidy. Even more is being added by Ford through an over-the-air update: hands-free driving. But they don’t really matter. If the cake tastes depressing, it doesn’t matter how lovely it is.
I had low expectations for the Mach-E going into this little test, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised. For me, the purpose of this Ford Mach-E was to popularise electric cars by using a recognisable trademark and a storied brand. Being a Michigan native and a Ford fan, I take great delight in the Mach-E project’s progress. Betrayed, I say.
I don’t believe the Ford Mustang Mach-E is excellent enough to purchase over a Tesla right now, so based on first impressions, I can only advise consumers to test-drive rival vehicles before purchasing one.