Ford Mustang Mach-E Starting Price: €51,592
Price as tested: €51,592
Polished chassis, decent battery options
Small boot compared to rivals, average quality inside
WHAT IS IT?
The Ford Mustang Mach-E will be the first dedicated electric vehicle that the storied American brand will sell in Ireland. Its name draws on one of its most famous models, but that’s where the connection to the sports car ends. Nonetheless, this five-seat, five-door SUV does take on a dynamic design and is focused as much on driving pleasure as it is efficiency and practicality, though it lags behind some rivals in the latter aspects.
It will come in two versions - a standard range model as tested here, with a 68kWh (usable) battery or as an extended range variant with an 88kWh (usable) battery, each with either rear- or all-wheel drive. The smaller battery has a peak DC charge rate of 115kW, but if you go for the extended range model you get rapid charging at up to 150kW.
HOW ABOUT THE LOOKS?
The Ford Mustang Mach-E fits into the mid-size SUV category and adopts a coupe-like roofline that is in itself a clever piece of design due to how the roof is shaped. Its central section is black, helping disguise the overall shape, making the roof appear more sloped than it actually is.
While there is the appearance of a front grille, it is fully enclosed and instead of the Ford badge, the Mustang horse is galloping across the car’s nose. Its slender headlights and bulging bonnet may shout muscle car, but the rest of the design is a more reductive design. You won’t find any door handles in the traditional sense; instead, Ford uses a touch-sensitive button that electronically ‘pops’ the door open. The front doors have a discreet handle to pull them open, but this is missing from the rear doors.
The triple arrangement of the rear lights serves as a nod to Ford’s proper Mustang. Standard models get 18-inch wheels, with 19-inch rims on all-wheel-drive versions. There are several colours to choose from, but if you want the distinctive Grabber Blue it is only available on the First Edition model.
WHAT IS THE INSIDE LIKE?
The simplicity of the exterior’s design continues inside. A clutter-free layout is mostly down to a large 15.5-inch touchscreen display that is set to the portrait orientation. This runs Ford’s latest SYNC 4 infotainment system and is much improved on anything it currently uses in other cars. Unusually, the screen features a single rotary dial set within it for controlling the volume. It has a knurled metallic finish, but it is plastic and feels of lower quality than you might expect.
It’s the same story for the similar drive selector; it’s simple to use and sits within easy reach on the centre console. There’s a practical layout between the front seats, with two cupholders, a wireless charging pad and USB ports of both varieties. A second storage area below this shelf is useful for putting a bag or larger oddments into.
All of the switchgear throughout is standard Ford fare and will be familiar to anyone that’s been inside one of the company’s current cars, though there’s no obvious Ford badging anywhere on the car. Plastic materials and some sparing use of faux carbon inserts feature, while the use of contrasting red stitching throughout the seats and on many of the surfaces does add to the Mustang Mach-E’s sporty image, but this doesn't feel like a very upmarket car in places. What makes it better are those crisp digital displays. The 10.2-inch instrument screen behind the steering wheel is pleasingly simple in what it displays.
What may surprise some is that, despite the appearance of the dramatic roofline, rear passenger space is quite generous both in terms of legroom and, crucially, headroom. The angled seat base makes it easy to sink into the supportive backrests. As is often the case with sporty SUVs, this is more suited to carrying two adults in the outer rear seats — the middle position is smaller and less comfortable, although the flat rear floor doesn’t hinder foot room.
Continuing the practical aspects, the tailgate lifts to reveal a wide aperture, but its shape means that it can only swallow up 402 litres in the boot, which isn’t much more than a Volkswagen Golf. The rear seats can be folded down, while dropping them all increases capacity to 1,420 litres. Not bad, but still well below what you can get in a Volkswagen ID.4 or Hyundai Ioniq 5, for example. Nonetheless, the Ford also has an 81-litre storage compartment in the front that is handy for cables. It was designed to work as a storage cooler, apparently so that you could fill it with ice and drinks for a BBQ... There’s even a drain hole in it!
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
Within the first few kilometres of driving it becomes clear that the Mustang Mach-E is set up to be a rewarding driver’s car. A rear-wheel-drive setup and punchy electric motor, combined with a dynamic suspension setup, make for an involving drive. The body control is quite good and deals with bumps well, absorbing them without sending a jolt through the car and damping enough to ensure decent composure.
Ford has consistently been one of the leaders in honing steering feel and the Mustang Mach-E is no different. The electrically-assisted system has just the right amount of communication without seeming to be artificially overweighted. It retains a sense of connection with the car as if you’re properly attached to what the front wheels are doing.
It’s reasonably quick, too, though that shouldn’t come as a huge surprise given its 430Nm of torque. Yes, there are faster electric SUVs out there, but how much performance do you honestly need? The Ford may concede a few kilowatts of power to some competitors and has only one motor in this instance, but how it drives, especially on Irish roads, more than makes up for it. On motorway journeys, it proves to be an adept long-distance cruiser and remains reasonably hushed inside, aside from a little bit of wind turbulence around the generously sized door mirrors.
WHICH ONE SHOULD I BUY?
The main factor in determining which one to buy is which battery size will suit your needs best. If you’re doing the normal everyday stuff and charging at home, then the standard range should be more than enough. Even for the occasional long trip, its 115kW rapid charge rate will serve you well when stopping to top up. All-wheel-drive versions get some additional torque but aren’t as efficient and don’t have as much range.
If battery range is what you prioritise the most, then opt for the rear-wheel-drive extended-range model, which Ford says can cover up to 610 kilometres in WLTP conditions. It is also the most efficient model, with a quoted consumption of 16.5kWh/100km and has the upgraded 150kW DC charging.
IS IT SAFE?
The Ford Mustang Mach-E has yet to go through the Euro NCAP crash test, but it should fare well when it does. In the United States, where the car went on sale first, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rated it good in all major crash-worthiness areas resulting in it receiving a ‘Top Safety Pick’ overall.
Some of the available safety features include lane keep assist, pre-collision assistance with automatic emergency braking, evasive steer assist, dynamic brake support and forward collision warning. Both outer rear seats also have ISOFIX mounting points for child seats.
An excellent chassis and positive handling characteristics set the Mustang Mach-E apart from numerous other electric SUVs and its firm ride doesn’t detract from the experience. It isn’t the most capacious of electric SUVs available, but it is a striking design, and its driving range will suit most buyers.
Ford Mustang Mach-E Standard Range RWD
Engine: 198kW electric motor with 68kWh lithium-ion battery
0-100km/h: 6.9 seconds
Fuel economy: 17.2kWh/100km
Top Speed: 180km/h
Transmission: single-speed automatic
Annual Motor Tax: €120
Luggage Capacity: 402-litres with the seat up, which can extend out to 1,420-litres with the rear seats folded.
Price as tested: €51,592
AA Ireland: September 2021 For more information: https://www.ford.ie