Ford is finally getting into electric vehicles in a committed way, and is using its most iconic branding to fuel its entry into the EV world.
On the road
On the road
Having only dabbled around the edges of the electric vehicle market so far with a Focus Electric that was never significantly pushed in the UK, Ford has now deployed the ‘go big or go home’ method of entering a segment by controversially putting its most iconic of nameplates on this electric SUV.
Branding it Mustang Mach-e certainly adds an extra level of attention and pressure to perform, but it also signifies the importance of the new model to a brand that has said it will offer an electric or PHEV version of every car it sells by 2026, and be 100% pure electric in Europe by 2030.
1. The electronic buttons to open the doors are a bit of style over substance compared with a traditional handle, but show that the Mach-e is a bit different.
2. It’s a little odd that it’s two tugs on the bonnet release lever to access the front boot, and that you can’t do it without opening the passenger door first.
3. Even in the subtle hue of our test car, the Mustang Mach-e certainly turns heads and is a vehicle people want to know more about.
The Mustang Mach-e is described by Ford as the “first of a new breed”, and is the first model that Ford has developed from the ground up purely as an electric car.
The Mach-e launches in four forms, so the line-up consists of two battery sizes and motors that offer different power outputs. Both versions are also offered with either rear- or four-wheel drive.
The Standard Range Mach-e has a 68kWh battery and offers 269hp, delivering an official range figure of 273 miles in rear-drive form. This drops to 248 miles with the addition of all-wheel drive.
Step up to the larger 88kWh battery and the rear-drive version generates 294hp and has a range of 379 miles, which is the longest range of any Mach-e. This falls to 351hp and 335 miles when all four wheels are driven.
Worth noting is that the Extended Range battery will charge at up to 150kW, whereas the maximum rate on the Standard Range car is 115kW, which is still significantly higher than rivals such as the Kia e-Niro’s 77kW and the 50kW max of the Lexus UX300e or Nissan Leaf e+. That means the Mach-e can utilise the gently increasing numbers of 150kW public chargers for more rapid refills.
The entry price of £40,350 jumps by £6300 to go from two- to four-wheel drive, and by £9630 if you want to go from the base car to the longer-range and more powerful rear-drive car. It is hiked by £16,680 when you go from the entry-level car to the top model with the longer range, more power and four-wheel drive.
In essence, that means that the sensible version to choose is the cheapest one, unless having an official range of more than 300 miles, or the extra power, is vitally important.
And that’s because there’s really not a lot wrong with the rear-drive Standard Range Mustang Mach-e. It’s very much the one to choose, with an impressive amount of standard equipment, and a powertrain that offers significantly more than 200 miles in the real world, even driven hard. Its 269hp means it’s got enough power to be rapid, including the instant off-the-line surge enjoyed in most electric vehicles, but it’s not stupidly fast for the type of car. This is very much an SUV ahead of a sports car, and it doesn’t need hundreds of horsepower to do a good job. It’s something that one or two others could learn from. In addition, it seems to come with
a good level of real-world efficiency that eases the range well over 200 miles if driven sensibly.
That’s not to be dismissive of the Mustang Mach-e’s performance, but it just feels like it has the right amount of power to be a sensible, usable SUV. Still, there’s a hot GT version being added to the range this summer for performance EV fans.
Any links with the Mustang coupe from a performance point of view are dispelled fairly rapidly. The Mach-e handles tidily enough, as is usually the case with Fords, but it has light steering and a tendency towards understeer, likely in part at least due to the sheer weight of batteries.
The least appealing element of the driving experience is the harsh ride quality, with the Mustang crashing uncomfortably over bumps.
Switching on the maximum level of regeneration means it can be driven almost exclusively by coming on and off the accelerator pedal, such is the deceleration, although more levels of adjustment than the fairly binary on or off would be appreciated. Better news comes in that the turning circle is very impressive for a car with such a decent-sized footprint. However, the standard Lane Keep-Assist safety feature is too violent in its corrections, although it is at least easy to switch off.
The three driving modes are amusingly named Whisper, Active and Untamed, to reflect what are effectively Eco, Normal and Sport settings for the steering weight, throttle response and cabin lighting.
The Mach-e makes it known on approach that this isn’t just another car, and opening the door is an action completed by pressing a button on the door pillar rather than pulling a handle. Greeting you on arrival is a giant Mustang emblem on the steering wheel – there’s not a Ford badge to be found.
The cabin feels good quality and is neatly designed and put together with a sense of sober classiness – with the exception of the frankly huge touchscreen in the centre of the cabin. Only Tesla can rival the Mach-e’s 15.5-inch system, which carries all the major climate and infotainment controls. Ford has taken the wise step of leaving several functions visible at the same time, so you don’t have to exit the navigation, for instance, to change the heater settings. It doesn’t quite look resolved in the way it splits the different sections, but works well from a functionality and logic point of view. The dial for volume control looks a little chintzy compared with the rest of the interior, but the cabin has some decent stowage, although the door bins aren’t the biggest.
Rear space is good for adults, and although the boot isn’t massive for this size of car at just over 400 litres, there’s also a handy 80-litre front trunk which means wet charging cables can be stashed away from the rest of your belongings. Not every EV offers that.
Equipment levels justify the £40k+ price tag for a Ford, with the likes of privacy glass, heated front seats and steering wheel, wireless charging pad, keyless entry, adaptive cruise control, rear camera and dual-zone climate control standard on all cars.
Long Range models get powered front seats, a 360-degree camera, hands-free tailgate, panoramic roof, park assist and uprated B&O audio system as well as more power and the bigger battery.
Although getting better with each arrival, it’s still a pretty disparate group of competitors that faces the Mach-e. This entry model lines up within touching distance of the top-spec Nissan Leaf and Kia e-Niro, as well as being cheaper but within distance of the new Lexus UX300e. There’s also a new entry-level Polestar 2 on the way that will cost around the same as the Mustang, and Audi will launch a core rival in the form of the Q4 e-tron later this year. Ford is also claiming that the Jaguar i-Pace is a competitor, and although it makes sense in terms of dimensions, that car is significantly more expensive, starting at nearly £65,000.
The more expensive Mach-e models don’t look as appealing, with this Standard Range rear-drive model making the greatest sense on paper. The extra kit of the Long Range cars would be nice, and the extra power and range can always be welcome, but the £40k price point puts this version within reach of more company car drivers, and will be an enjoyable car to look at, drive and live with. The entry car is certainly not the poor choice in the range, and gives Ford an excellent base to build its plug-in line-up over the coming years.
The Mustang nameplate is not only Ford’s most iconic but also its longest-serving, having been in continuous production since 1964.
Prior to the name’s use on the Mach-e, the Mustang has always been a coupe or convertible, and it passed 10 million sales in 2018.
Success in the 1960s was instant, with plans for 100,000 sales in its first year surpassed within three months on the way to more than 400,000 in its first year. The opening million cars were produced within 18 months.
That first car, which initially offered 101hp or 164hp from its V6 and V8 engines, borrowed heavily from the Falcon and Fairlane models to hit the $2368 entry price and to allow ease of both production and servicing.
The first ‘Stang made appearances in the James Bond movies Goldfinger and Thunderball in 1964 and 1965, the former being shot before the car was unveiled to the public. But its most famous popular culture appearances include the legendary car chase sequence with Steve McQueen in the 1968 film Bullitt (pictured), the Mustang known as Eleanor in both the 1974 and the 2000 remake of Gone in 60 Seconds and a namecheck in the 1966 Wilson Pickett song Mustang Sally.
What they said
What They Said
“All fleet customers across the board are looking at adopting EV technology within their fleets, which means the new Mach-e is absolutely the right vehicle at the right time for the fleet market."
“Indeed, our order take is exceeding expectations. We’re seeing a strong order take in many areas, from a number of different industries and different customers."
“The Mach-e has really captured the imagination of a lot of our fleets and a lot of the drivers because of its styling, the range, practicality and, as is the case with all Ford products, it drives tremendously well.”
Neil Wilson, fleet director, Ford of Britain
Need to know
Three things we like...
It’s interesting that the Mach-e has no Ford badging at all, only Mustang
The huge infotainment screen is Tesla-esque and user friendly
Having a front boot to store the charging cables is really useful
...And one we don't
The fabric parcel shelf is a bit flimsy and easy to dislodge with a load in the boot
The Mach-e handles well for an EV, but isn’t a sporting SUV to rival ICE models, and isn’t helped by its light steering. The power level is about right, so performance is rapid but not silly.
Range and electric efficiency are both decent, so the standard range rear-drive Mach-e has plenty for day-to-day use.
The boot could be larger, although the front stowage area is handy. Interior space for four is plentiful.
Even the standard Mach-e comes with plenty of premium-level standard equipment.
It’s not perfect from all angles, but the Mach-e is distinctly Mustang in the lighting in particular, and grabs attention.
Comfort and refinement 7/10
The ride quality is very much on the harsh side, crashing over bumps rather than absorbing.
Quality is good and there’s a nice scattering of stowage areas.
The infotainment screen is huge, dominating the cabin in a way only Tesla has done before. It generally works well, because functions such as the climate control are visible all the time. But the different elements on the one screen don’t necessarily blend together perfectly.
Whole life costs 8/10
Residuals reflect the Mustang brand rather than Ford so are good, but SMR costs are high.
CCT opinion 8/10
The debate about the use of the Mustang name on an EV SUV will continue, but it’s a likeable EV.