Ford’s Mustang is known for its love of hydrocarbons but not this one. It runs on electricity and is an SUV. So is it really a Mustang?
We’re not sure some will ever forgive Ford for using the Mustang nameplate on an electric vehicle, and an SUV at that. But then we’re pretty sure those are the type that will never buy a car that you plug in either.
The Mach-E is all about leveraging the brand cache of the famous horse badge, as the association is sure to spark people’s attention.
The Mach-E isn’t Ford’s first electric vehicle; that would be, um, yeah, a forgettable Focus, something that wasn’t sold here. Before they dreamed up the Mach-E, Ford’s new EV was to be just another Focus with a better battery.
Not very exciting then, and not something the marketing department could whip up any sort of hype around. While we might have had an electric Focus RS eventually, there’s just not the scope to sell as many five-door hatches as there is to hawk an SUV.
Ford says the ‘Mach-E embodies the Mustang spirit – from its sleek silhouette and muscular curves to exhilarating drive experiences that offer unique driving dynamics’. The marrying of sports car styling cues to the SUV form is never an easy task.
We can see the bits they have incorporated; the long bonnet line and the sculptured haunches, the way the glass house slopes away at the rear, and there are the headlights and tri-bar lamps at the back. But does it gel cohesively? Hmm, at least it’s better looking than a Model Y.
Anyway, we’ll leave it to the eye of the beholder. What we can comment on are those unique driving dynamics. But first a few Mach-E details.
Exactly how many Mach-E models ARE there?
Ford NZ has managed to sneak one model in at the all-important $79,990 mark, so it nets the rebate (now $7015) and is known simply as the Mach-E RWD. It has a single motor with 198kW/430Nm while the 68kWh (net) battery gives a quoted range of 440km (WLTP).
There’s a decent price jump to the AWD at $109,990 which gets two motors, outputting a total of 258kW and 580Nm, and it will canter to 100km/h a second quicker than the RWD at a claimed 5.1sec.
It has a larger 88kWh (net) battery and a potential range of 550km.
The top GT gets the same battery but with more powerful motors and outputs of 358kW and 860Nm. The Mustang Mach-E GT is said to gallop to 100 in 3.7sec and can range up to 490km. It costs $124,990.
It’s the GT we have here. More than 60 per cent of the models sold so far have been the base RWD variant, with people chasing the rebate. And it’s the one that is by far the best value given it doesn’t miss out on much in the way of specification.
Anyway, we’ll bring you a review of the RWD next month.
Does it run like a real GT?
There’s certainly some Mustang DNA about the way it goes. Despite the GT’s twin-motor set-up, it’s not unusual to get the front wheels spinning when you give it a burst of the mark. It’s momentary but it seems deliberate, to add a bit of drama to proceedings.
But unlike the rear-drive, petrol-fired GT, this otherwise does not struggle for traction. It’s quick out of the blocks and they say it’s good for a 3.7sec 0-100, although that’s using the cheat’s one-foot rollout methodology which helps whittle the tenths off a time.
We managed just 4.5sec; maybe it would have been quicker had we managed to initiate the ‘Untamed plus’ driving mode but for whatever reason it just wasn’t doing it for us on the day.
Still, that compares favourably with the real Mustang GT which runs a similar time. And yet, the Mach-E doesn’t feel as oh-my-god fast as the outputs suggest.
While the GT is super punchy, that instant hit of torque surging you forward, it does start to taper off above the 130km/h mark, which we discovered when ‘drag racing’ on the track during the media launch last month.
Versus the AWD, the GT displayed a more instant power delivery, and lots more of it, sprinting away easily.
But the drop off in squirt is typical of electric performance, the lack of gears holding it back from attaining serious speed. However it’s more appropriate for road use, and this sure is quick when blasting off a bend.
The GT gains a sportier suspension set-up complete with MagneRide adaptive dampers and lower profile performance-oriented rubber. This sees it turn in better than the AWD model which we also drove on road as part of the media launch.
While it does a nice job, it isn’t quite as sharp. On the flip side, the AWD rides better but the trade off is more roll and tyre squirm when heading into a bend. Both Mach-Es have a neat dynamic trait compared with other dual-motor EVs.
Add some throttle on the corner exit, and you’ll get a helping hand from the rear to rotate the car and help negate any understeer.
It’s quite a trick, giving a sense of character to the drive, especially as the dynamic stability control helps keep things from getting unruly.
But it will go feral in the Untamed plus mode (which we dabbled with on track and managed to get the thing quite out of shape).
Is this electric GT as engaging as its V8-powered namesake? Not quite. This feels heavy, and it doesn’t quite disguise that mass as well as other EVs.
And the brakes, upgraded with Brembo hardware on the GT, don’t feel great through the pedal, making it more of a challenge to haul up smoothly for the all-important corner entry.
Go in too hot and it upsets the flow. And the synthesised electric soundtrack just can’t compare.
Does the Mustang Mach-E GT do the everyday okay?
Well, it is an SUV. The steering feels slightly possessed when the lane control system is in charge but a quick click of a button exorcises that demon.
While it’s light enough, the steering ratio could be quicker for more effortless commuting and parking. And with that long wheelbase comes a large turning circle.
The GT has a sporting bent to its gait, and can get pretty lumpy over rough surfaces. The brake pedal is rather sensitive, not requiring much in the way of pedal effort to initiate a strong response.
And there’s also a genuinely decent one-pedal drive mode to minimise the need for actual braking.
The amount of brake regen is linked to the drive modes; in Whisper it’ll coast more but, thoughtfully, it’ll slow when heading downhill, nixing the speed creep.
We like the seats, which are both comfy and supportive, and the driving position is okay too. The A pillars are rather chunky however, restricting forward view.
The small instrument display shows your ‘ground speed’ and distance to empty, and just a wee power gauge shows how little of the GT’s ultimate power you use getting to work. Most of the screen is dedicated to keeping tabs on the active driver aids.
The Mach-E is adept at guiding itself along on the motorway – it does all the work for you – and without too many prompts to ensure you’re still conscious.
The interior quality is sound, with minimal hard plastics about, though you’d never dub it luxurious.
Its big 15-inch touch screen controls most aspects of the car, the size of it giving space for more ‘buttons’, so there’s less tap, tap, tapping to get what you want done. And the heating controls are always present, along the bottom. There’s even a real volume knob.
One novel feature is the E-latch external door release; press the button and the door pops open, the kids love it. And it works as intended.
It’s spacious in the rear, especially for those long legged folk while the usual Isofix points are present for kid seats.
Boot space is adequate though not overly generous for what is a large car – the hold is not particularly wide. The seats can be folded easily enough and you get a flat load space, once you raise the floor up a notch.
There is a reasonably sized frunk for whatever else you might have.
Charging and consumption?
Ford supplies a cable for use at public chargers, but not a three-pin slow charger for home use. They recommend owners pony up for a wall box there.
We juiced up at a 50kW DC station boosting it from 43 per cent to 62 per cent (17.4kWh delivered) while another 30 min session raised it from 45 to 70 per cent (21kWh delivered).
With consumption tracking around the 20-21kWh/100km mark, that means about 100km of range added each time. It can take on up to 150kW of DC, which Ford says equates to 99km of range in just 10mins.
Any last thoughts?
The GT has its moments but we wish there were more of them for the price asked. You always expect the best from the top of the line model, but we were more impressed with the AWD variant, a more rounded approach.
And we suspect the RWD model will impress as well, given it’s some $53k cheaper than the GT, and you can still say you drive a Mustang.
|Model||Ford Mustang Mach-E GT|
|Clean Car Discount||Neutral – $0|
|Drivetrain||single-speed auto, e-AWD|
|Stability systems||ABS, ESP, TV|
|Safety||AEB, ACC, BSM, LDW, |
RCTA, ALK, AHB
|Luggage capacity||f-100L, r-519-1402L|
|Service intervals||12 months, 20,000km|
|Warranty||5yrs, Unlimited km|
|ANCAP rating||5 Stars|