What Is It?
The 2021 Mustang Mach-E marks the first time that Ford has bestowed the legendary Mustang name on an entirely new vehicle segment. Unlike any Mustang (or any Ford for that matter) before it, the Mach-E is a fully electric 5-passenger crossover and easily one of the most advanced vehicles ever from the Blue Oval. With clever features, excellent performance and the latest tech — all built on a versatile platform — the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E certainly brings a new dimension of excitement, utility and fun to Ford’s Mustang family.
Ford provided us with a Mustang Mach-E Premium eAWD painted in Rapid Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat. The test vehicle featured the standard range battery and had no additional options for a total MSRP of $51,200, before the $7,500 federal tax credit or any state tax credits. Primary competitors to the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E are other electric crossovers such as the Tesla Model Y, Kia Niro Electric or even Jaguar i-PACE; however, Mach-E also competes with a long list of non-electric compact crossovers available in America.
New EV Architecture
The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E gets built on all-new architecture designed specifically for electric vehicles, which indicates that additional EV models will follow. The lithium-ion battery pack is located between the axles to provide a more spacious interior, as well as keep the crossover’s center of gravity lower for better handling and performance. For optimal operation in extreme temperatures, the liquid-cooled batteries are stored inside a waterproof case surrounded by crash-absorption protection.
The newly minted Mach-E stands out from the crossover crowd — not an easy task — and also features styling cues associated with its namesake Mustang. Up front, the Mach-E proudly displays the running Mustang pony logo, centered in what would be the grille — if the electric Mach-E needed a grille.
At the rear, the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E sports sequentially illuminating triple taillights familiar to Mustang aficionados. With a wide stance, long hood, sleek roofline, sculpted side panels and bold fenders, the Mach-E definitely telegraphs a high-performance vibe. Unlike traditional Mustangs, there are no big exhaust outlets bellowing throaty tones of a V8 engine — alas no roar, but also no emissions.
Unique Door Latches
Rather than going with traditional door handles, the Mach-E employs electronic latches. Hold a finger over the button and the door pops open, adding to the electric crossover’s unabashedly high-tech demeanor.
Speaking of high tech, the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E has a clean design with practically no physical buttons and two display screens. Horizontal vents as well as integrated speakers from the Bang & Olufsen sound system give the car a wide, spacious feeling. A tray below the display screen offers room for multiple device storage as well as wireless charging and two USB ports. Additional storage for larger items can be found directly below the tray.
Since we test so many cars with new tech, we’ve become sticklers about automotive interfaces. By now the systems in new vehicles should be easy to use and functional, and the touchscreen display in the Mach-E is one of the best. The 15.5-inch screen provides plenty of real estate, with one dial — for volume control – integrated at the bottom of the unit. Selectable features (such as navigation, Android Auto, vehicle settings, audio, etc.) get displayed via large active cards, scrollable at the bottom of the screen. As an item is selected, it loads in the top section of the screen and that item moves to the front of the list so, over time, the items used most often are always easily accessible.
Simple Driver Display
As digital displays for the driver become more common, they’ve also become more complex, so we really appreciate the simplicity of the Mustang Mach-E’s design. The rectangular display shows range, battery percentage, speed (shown as ground speed) and gear selector. An image at the center of the display indicates if the Mach-E is following too closely to the vehicle in front of it. When navigation is running, driving directions also appear here.
The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E extends its technical innovation to the FordPass smartphone app. The app not only allows the driver to monitor the vehicle’s charge status, it can lock or unlock the car remotely. The app also allows a driver’s phone to be used as a key — eliminating the need to carry a bulky fob.
We spent several hours behind the wheel of the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E. The front seats are comfortable; although the side bolsters are rather flat, the seats offer good support with multiple adjustments. The Mach-E’s seat heaters activate quickly — some might feel the seats get too hot too quickly, even at the lowest setting.
The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E provides a roomy back seat with decent legroom and headroom. Thanks to the EV’s flat floor, even the middle seat is usable, although the seat bottom and back are a bit stiff. The Mach-E has a full panoramic glass roof, so the cabin feels open and airy. Both USB-A and USB-C ports are available for rear-seat passengers.
The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E’s spacious interior gets enhanced by a full-length panoramic glass roof. Rather than using a cover, the roof glass features a special coating with infrared protection designed to help the interior stay cooler in summer and warmer in winter. A special layer within the glass protects occupants and interior surfaces against UV rays.
The rear cargo area of the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E is narrow yet still offers adequate space for multiple suitcases or plenty of groceries. The Mach-E’s power cord stores under the cargo floor, as well as a tire inflator — the crossover does not carry a spare tire. The 60/40 split-folding rear seats fold flat for additional versatility.
One advantage of electric cars with compact powertrains can be the lack of an engine up front. The front trunk — or frunk, as some call it — in the Mach-E offers an additional 4.7 cubic feet of space. An available divider provides additional storage solutions.
Ford offers the Mach-E with a standard or extended range battery. The Mach-E we tested was equipped with the former. With the standard 68 kWh battery and dual-motor e-AWD, the crossover is rated at 266 horsepower and a plentiful 428 lb-ft of torque. The extended range 88 kWh battery increases power to 290 horses with rear-wheel drive, and 346 horsepower with e-AWD. This summer Ford plans to introduce the Mach-E GT with 480 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque — we look forward to some seat time in that monster, and will provide full details when we drive it.
With the standard battery and e-AWD, the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E has U.S. EPA ratings of 100 MPGe city / 86 MPGe hwy / 93 MPGe combined with a range of 211 miles. Colder weather and driving style can affect these estimates, as they would affect mpg in any vehicle. During our time with the Mach-E the display indicated a driving range of around 170 miles on a full charge.
Gas vs. Electric — Quick Price Comparison
To provide a quick comparison between the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E and a comparable gas-powered vehicle, we performed a few simple calculations. During our drive, the Mach-E had an average fuel consumption of 3.5 miles per kWh. With a kWh running near 10 cents and a gallon of gasoline priced around $3.00, we were able to travel 105 miles for the cost of a gallon of gas. That’s sizable savings, especially when calculated over the lifetime of a vehicle.
On the Road
Although one of the least powerful players within the full Mustang Mach-E lineup, a Mach-E equipped with the standard battery is no performance laggard. Power delivery is instantaneous and smooth, and quick acceleration from stoplights will bring smiles all around as conventional cars get left behind. The Mach-E takes full advantage of the immediate torque, delivered to pavement via the confident grip of all-wheel drive.
A little side trip in the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E along some favorite back roads of the eastern Puget Sound region revealed a bit of this small crossover’s radical namesake. With precise steering and a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system, the Mach-E can be great fun when pushed into corners. And with strong, smooth power always available — especially in the 30–40 mph range — the Mach-E delivers excellent performance.
Whether cruising at 30 mph through the city or at 80 mph on the highway, the Mach-E’s cabin remains quiet and peaceful. Although engine sounds can be added to the cabin via the vehicle settings, this bit of electric car tech seems a bit hollow.
Through the Mustang Mach-E’s driving modes screen, drivers can select one-pedal driving. With this system, letting off the throttle aggressively engages the EV’s regenerative braking, eventually bringing the crossover to a stop. With a bit of practice, drivers will be able to manage the throttle to slow and stop with great precision, and during more spirited driving it becomes possible to slow enough for corners simply by reducing throttle pressure.
Is It a Mustang?
The 2021 Mach-E is part of the Mustang family, but it certainly doesn’t fit the profile of what many perceive to be a pony car. And to be honest, our first reaction was this is no Mustang — even if it wears the name. But after spending several days with the Mach-E, we discovered it evokes many of the emotions we associate with Mustang — it is an exciting vehicle, great fun to drive, and ultimately we didn’t want to give it back. Thus our tune has changed — this electric crossover does have a proper home in the Mustang family.
Given how low EV sales in America remain even as vehicle options increase, it’s clear that most folks are not quite ready to make the move to an electric vehicle. But as prices come down and the infrastructure improves, more consumers will have the chance to enjoy the benefits of a vehicle like the Mustang Mach-E. With bold, attractive styling, excellent use of interior space and one of the best infotainment systems on the market, the Mach-E becomes a strong choice within the crowded 5-passenger crossover market. Add in fantastic performance and low operating costs inherent with an electric car, and even those who haven’t previously considered an EV would be wise to check out the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E.