So, Ford decided to expand the already expansive Mustang lineup with a new pony car: its electric SUV Mustang. I know, I’m a little skeptical as well. The Mustang Mach-E was unveiled last night at the Los Angeles Jet Center with the help of musician and actor Idris Elba, and the Detroit Youth Choir recently seen on “America’s Got Talent.” The party served as a kick-off to the LA Auto Show running through this week.
According to Ford, Mach-E offers Mustang performance with practicality, and you can feel good about not contributing to any air pollution. The vehicle represents Ford’s first long-range electric car – 300 miles per full charge – and the only vehicle to be called a “Mustang,” that isn’t a Mustang.
The Mustang Mach-E will hit the streets in about a year. As presented last night, it feels like it’s a complete vehicle ready to go, which is a testament to “Team Edison,” the group inside Ford responsible for developing the Mach-E after pivoting away from a Focus-based electric car in mid-2017.
Like other electric vehicles, the Mustang Mach-E has a screen-forward interior but doesn’t appear too minimalistic. The digital instrument cluster looks beautiful, but the 15.5-inch touchscreen’s software was not ready for the debut.
It’s got a lot of interior space, headroom, and legroom if you are into that stuff, and the car is relatively small as far as SUVs go. Other interior features include USB-C ports and a wireless charging mat, and of course, it has a big front trunk and deep storage space in the doors and center console.
The exterior of the Mustang Mach-E is a touch polarizing. If you take away its Mustang badging and the tri-bar taillights, you see a bit of Mustang body lines when viewing it from the side, but overall the Mach-E looks similar to the Mercedes-Benz EQC, Jaguar I-Pace, with a pinch of BMW X5 shaping thrown in. Fitting, as it would seem, drivers of those vehicles are the target demographic for the Mach-E.
The Mach-E is also offered in five different models: First Edition, Select, Premium, California Route 1, and the GT. The various editions can be differentiated by two-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive, styling cues, and other various features.
It’s nearly impossible to avoid comparisons to Tesla when it comes to electric cars, and the Mustang Mach-E is no exception, especially since the front grille seems to scream Tesla influence. It’s also hard to ignore that Ford revealed the Mustang Mach-E at the same municipal airport hangars where Tesla unveiled the Semi and second-generation Roadster just two years and one day before. It’s also interesting as the venue is right next to SpaceX headquarters, where Elon Musk will unveil Tesla’s “Cybertruck” pickup truck in just a few days.
From what I have observed on social media, enthusiasts are pretty fired up about the Mach-E. I feel it would have been easier for Ford to sell the idea that the Mach-E is a Mustang if they had used the same or similar headlights to what is currently on the car, or if they had made the grille or interior seem a little more familiar.
In terms of performance, the Mach-E seemed to handle well from what I could tell during my brief ride-along in a Mach-E prototype. My favorite feature of the car is that Ford gave it car sounds that are similar to how a Mustang sounds. The noise is only audible from the inside and is faint, not very noticeable or overwhelming, but it’s enough to make you smile when you accelerate hard.
But it’s important to note that the Mach-E is Ford’s attempt to turn the Mustang badge into a brand of its own, and honestly, if they had given the electric SUV a different badge name or created a new one, I suspect it would have sparked much less attention – given some of the reactions may be less than positive.
In terms of pricing, the Mustang Mach-E will range between $44,000 to over $60,000. Federal and state electric vehicle tax incentives will help soften that blow, but this is undoubtedly a premium car.
Regardless of what the Mach-E gets compared to or how people want to pick apart its looks or performance, the direction is inspiring, and it’s nice to see Ford making a bold move as opposed to making a slightly better electric Focus.
|2021 Mustang Mach-E
|Estimated 342 kW (459 horsepower)
Estimated 830 Nm (612 lb.-ft.) of torque
|0-60 mph: Mid-3-second range
|EPA-estimated range of at least 300 miles with the available extended-range battery
Photography by Nicole Ellan James.