Ford Mustang Mach-E - Here It Is

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

The newest Mustang is here, like it or not.

Whether the idea of a Mustang that’s both an EV and a crossover – Ford calls it an SUV – gives you hives or excites you, the four-door battery-electric Mustang Mach-E has officially been revealed to the world, following some leaks.

(Full disclosure: Ford flew me to Los Angeles to see the reveal of the Mach-E. The company fed and housed me for this event and several others related to the Mach-E and/or the Los Angeles Auto Show.)

Available with rear- or all-wheel drive, the Mach-E will be offered in five trims. Range is up to 300 miles in the extended-range version and 0-60 times are expected to be as low as the mid-three-second range.

Not only is this Mustang all-electric and an SUV/crossover, it also will feature the next generation of Ford’s Sync infotainment system. This system, featuring a 15.5-inch screen and smartphone-like controls, is supposed to be more intuitive for drivers to use, and a demo showed that it may just be. It will feature over-the-air updates.

A GT Performance edition will have an estimated 459 horsepower and 612 lb-ft of torque.

In order to achieve a range of at least 300 miles, one must select a Mach-E with extended range and rear-wheel drive. Ford is targeting 332 horsepower and 412 lb-ft of torque for extended-range vehicles with all-wheel drive.

Brembo brakes will be available, along with magnetic adaptive damping.

There’s three drive modes – Whisper, Engage, and Unbridled. Think of them as the equivalent to Comfort, Normal/Sport, and Sport + on other vehicles.

Pricing over the five trim levels is as follows: Select ($43,895), Premium ($50,600), California Route 1 ($52,400), First Edition (limited edition, $59,900), and GT ($60,500). Those prices don’t include destination or the federal EV tax credit of $7,500.

Mach-E buyers will be able to lock and unlock the car via their phone if they choose, and the doors handles are really just small buttons on the pillar, although there is a door pull for safety’s sake.

A drainable front trunk offers 4.8 cubic feet of storage, while the rear trunk measures 29 cubic feet of space. To my eye, it looked like strollers and golf bags full of clubs may be a tight fit, though. Perhaps in those use cases, you’d need to drop the rear seats to get the full 59.6 cubic feet of cargo space.

Premium audio is available, and a flip-up armrest is supposed to make it easier for bag storage. An available fixed panoramic sunroof is coated to help keep the cabin cool in summer and warm in winter.

The liquid-cooled, lithium-ion batteries feature 288 cells in the regular version and 376 in the extended-range cars. A charging unit comes with the vehicle, capable of adding 22 miles of charge per hour on a 240-volt outlet, according to Ford. The automaker claims the model’s factory nav system will help drivers find the nearest public charging systems, and that a DC fast charging station can add 47 miles of range to an extended-range, rear-wheel drive car in 10 minutes. A standard-range car can go from 10-percent range to 80 percent in 38 minutes.

Ford has EV-certified about 2,100 of its dealers. If this car tickles your fancy, it goes on sale in spring 2021 in all 50 states; you can put down $500 right now for the privilege of owning the next version of Ford’s iconic pony car.

Those are the deets. Now here comes the rant.

The sacrilege of attaching the Mustang name to an SUV – and an electric one, at that – is going to be hard to overcome for some people. I get why Ford is doing so: The Mustang name attracts attention in the way that calling this an Escape EV wouldn’t. But in my experience, folks who don’t follow the car biz closely get names confused. Will buyers be drawn in by the Mustang name? Or will they be confused as to why a moniker they’ve only known as attached to a two-door sporty car for 55 years is now on an SUV, electric or not?

Will they even understand what the Mach-E is?

Then there’s the styling. It’s not a bad looking little crossover, but it’s not flat-out attractive, either. It looks a bit Tesla-esque, for better or for worse. I’d not be ashamed of the looks, if I owned one, but it’s not classic design and no Mustang-inspired front end or taillight treatment will change that.

Inside, the center stack is way too derivative of Tesla, and while the materials look nice, the fact that designers cribbed them from smart speakers reeks of trying too hard to be hip. The layered dash is cool, though, and if Sync works as demonstrated, it’s a huge leap forward for that infotainment system. This version of Sync needs to be in other Fords ASAP.

I did roll my eyes at the words “vegan interior” but I can see how it’s a selling point among EV buyers.

Ford allowed us to ride in the Mach-E, and I found the backseat quite roomy. One could feel the instant torque on offer. If it handles well – that’s hard to ascertain from the back seat, especially on a loop of urban streets – I daresay this thing could be fun to drive. The ride on Los Angeles roads was smooth, and the car seemed to handle a parking-lot slalom easily enough, though with some body roll.

With just 5.1 inches of ground clearance, the Mach-E is hardly an SUV. That’s not a bad thing, as the lower ground clearance won’t hurt handling. It’s just that using the term is a bit odd, here.

Add it all up and you have an EV that could take on Tesla in ways that other EVs haven’t. I expect it will be fun to drive and swift. I expect it will be a fine commuter and family hauler.

I’m just not so sure that making the Mach-E a member of the “Mustang family” is smart strategy, or a marketing play that will backfire spectacularly. This isn’t a repeat of the Probe, since the internal-combustion Mustang isn’t being replaced (at least, not yet. We’ll see if Corey was right). But it feels like an odd fit. Like when Married With Children added a third child to shake things up and the character just didn’t fit in.

Ford wanted attention, and it got it. Thing is, if the car ends up being good enough, it probably didn’t need to kind of attention that goes with the Mustang name.

[Images: Ford, Tim Healey/TTAC]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • Ponchoman49 Ponchoman49 on Nov 19, 2019

    The Millennial Mustang. I think Mistake is more like it, especially the name, the Tesla copied interior and the weird looking front and side profile. Even my long time Mustang friend hates it. And he's only 31 years old!

    • See 1 previous
    • ToddAtlasF1 ToddAtlasF1 on Nov 19, 2019

      I suppose it could be argued that putting the name on an EV is a way of getting rid of the undesirable image of the old buyers for the past few Mustangs. Why young buyers would want a car named for the one driven by old guys who are famous for crashing on the way out of Cars & Coffee is beyond me though.

  • Jschinito Jschinito on Nov 23, 2019

    definitely was considering the tesla y until this came out. prefer styling, display in front of steering wheel,volume knob, power lift gate, door panel keypad (as a runner, love being able to not need to carry keys or phone), likely better service/dealer service/network, apple carplay, and lower price with $7500 fed tax credit. mustang name is fine with me... more pressure on ford to not mess it up. yes, wish efficiency was as good as tesla but effective range is similar and for daily home charging the charge rate will not mean much. going to sit in both a Y and mach E before buying but E is winning

  • Bd2 Absolutely not - do not want to support a fascist, totalitarian regime.
  • SCE to AUX The original Capri was beautiful. The abomination from the 90s was no Capri, and neither is this.It looks good, but too similar to a Polestar. And what's with the whacked price?
  • Rover Sig Absolutely not. Ever.
  • EBFlex No. I buy as little Chinese products as possible.
  • John "...often in a state of complete disarray on the roads" What does that mean? Many examples in poor repair? Talk about awful writing.
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