We won’t sugar-coat it: Some hearts were broken and some brains were confused when Ford confirmed that their new electric crossover SUV would not be merely "Mustang-inspired." It is, in fact, a Mustang proper and a new member of the Mustang family. The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E is Ford’s first attempt at a serious EV contender. And based on the initial performance specs, it is an impressive entry into the market. It can be mentioned in the same breath as the upcoming Tesla Model Y, which will be its closest competitor.
The Mustang is not being replaced, and, according to Bill Ford, the company will "always make the Mustang car that everybody loves." While lots of existing Mustang enthusiasts are critical about the potential brand dilution of the Mustang name, others are simply hoping that this new model allows Ford to be agile in a changing market while bringing new customers onboard to the Mustang family.
Watch Our Driving Review of the 2021 Mustang Mach-E
Bill gives you his honest opinion on the controversial new electric Mustang. Watch our resident Mustang expert as he walks you through the Mach-E's driving modes and demonstrates how it handles on the road.
What is the Ford Mustang Mach-E?
The Ford Mustang Mach-E is a performance-oriented, 5-person, fully-electric crossover SUV. Depending on the trim, the targeted range goes from 230 miles to a maximum of 300 miles, and the top trim GT is targeting a 0-60 mph time of around 3.5 seconds. As Ford’s first mass-market EV, it’s an important step for the company into a new market. The vehicle is specifically styled and marketed as a car within the new “Mustang Family,” taking visual design cues and performance inspiration from the fabled pony car. As Bill Ford said, they knew that if this new electric vehicle was going to wear the Mustang badge, it would have to “go like hell.”
The Mustang Mach-E is 186 inches long, 74 inches wide, and 63 inches tall, with a 117-inch wheelbase (compare to the current S550 Mustang GT’s 188.5 inch length, 75.4 inch width, and 54.9 inch height).
It can fit 29.0 cubic feet of storage in the trunk, or 59.6 cubic feet with the rear seats folded, giving it a cargo capacity just under that of the 2020 Ford Escape and a bit more than the Ford EcoSport. That’s not bad given the aerodynamic, sloping roofline; Ford has tailored this vehicle to be a practical family hauler and it certainly hits the mark there.
Moreover, you get a fully-washable front trunk with a drain plug, adding an additional 4.8 cubic feet of space that's perfect for muddy or wet gear. It's very similar to the MegaBox that Ford debuted on their European Ford Puma and Puma ST, and it’s good to see this cool and innovative idea being shared across the Atlantic ocean.
Ford Mustang Mach-E Design and Style
The face of the Mach-E should immediately remind most people of the current generation Mustang. Though the headlights are less instantly recognizable, they’re still unmistakably Mustang. Perhaps the most controversial design element on the exterior is the “grille,” which is often the case for electric vehicles. It’s up to the enthusiast to decide how they like it, but early feedback indicates that many seem to prefer the less monolithic look of the GT trim grille, which features a sort of mock mesh design.
The rear taillights are interesting; they maintain the classic Mustang tri-bar look, but with a horizontal addition that almost looks as if some lens flare was made into a design element. With a decklid spoiler as well as a raised line just above the taillights, the rear of the vehicle has a very sporty look. Although the “SUV coupe” sloping roofline is very popular for many brands right now, you can definitely see the angles and lines that are inspired by the Mustang.
For those worried that the Mach-E would be a “bloated,” large SUV, that’s not the case at all. It’s only an inch taller than the Honda Accord Crosstour and similar to both the BMW X4 and the upcoming Tesla Model Y in all dimensions. It’s also quite similar in size to an Audi Allroad wagon, just a few inches taller. It’s a few inches shorter in height than a Subaru Outback, and even an inch shorter than the small Fiat 500X! Despite Ford marketing the Mach-E as a crossover SUV, it really is more like a wagon in many respects. But crossovers are what the public wants right now, so it’s important for Ford to advertise it as such.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Exterior Paint Colors
There are currently 10 different colors available for the Mustang Mach-E. Grabber Blue Metallic was initially only for the First Edition but has since also been added as an option for the GT. If you select the GT, you also get the choice of Dark Matter Gray and Cyber Orange.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Exterior Paint Colors
|Cyber Orange Metallic Tri-Coat
|Dark Matter Gray Metallic
|Grabber Blue Metallic
|Infinite Blue Metallic Tinted Clearcoat
|Rapid Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat
|Star White Metallic Tri-Coat
Sample colors are for representative purposes and may not accurately portray actual paint color due to screen settings, metallic finish, etc.
Ford Mustang Mach-E Features and Technology
The Mustang Mach-E comes with four different battery configurations, combining either a standard or extended range battery with either RWD or AWD. A full charge can easily be achieved overnight with a 220-volt connection. Moreover, with the 150kW chargers in the FordPass Charging Network, you can achieve an estimated 47 miles of range in just 10 minutes if you need a quick top-up. You’ll go from 10% charge to 80% charge in about 45 minutes. That’s not quite as good as industry leader Tesla with their Supercharger stations, but it puts Ford in line with or ahead of other competitors.
The cabin is a fairly minimalist place, and so the massive 15.5-inch touchscreen on the dashboard really dominates the interior. Everything is done from this touchscreen, which has just one physical knob at the bottom for controlling different functions. Ford is proudly showing off the speed and ease of use of this new SYNC 4A system, which is designed to give users everything they need at all times with minimal touches. Additionally, some functions will be blocked while the car is in motion, allowing for safer, more focused driving. There's also a digital instrument cluster screen just behind the steering wheel that displays critical driving information.
Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included on the Mach-E, which are expected in this day and age. What’s not necessarily expected is that they are available wirelessly, with no need to plug in. There’s also keyless entry and phone integration with the FordPass app, allowing for an easy way to get in and remotely control various features.
Perhaps the most important technological feature is the inclusion of Ford’s latest version of their semi-autonomous driving suite Ford Co-Pilot360. The company’s more advanced system, Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+, allows for fully hands-off driving (though it’s important to note that this is not fully autonomous driving, and the human operator must still remain fully alert and ready to take over if needed). The software is still being optimized, and so, unfortunately, is not slated to be available on the Mustang Mach-E at launch. Still, this program, along with the GM/Cadillac Super Cruise system, is the only hands-free driving option on the market. While Tesla’s self-driving technology is very advanced, it does require that the driver keep their hands on the wheel.
There’s an immense amount of technology, performance, and utility that the Mustang Mach-E brings to the table. So what are some potential negatives that enthusiasts have pointed out?
Well, the styling and use of the Mustang name are sure to remain controversial for the foreseeable future. Some might not like the lack of traditional door handles, which have been replaced with push buttons. The front doors do have small winglets that can be used as handles to assist with opening. The rear, however, seems like it is opened by simply pulling on the door itself once it is slightly popped out. The most grabbable area is, unfortunately, gloss black, and sure to quickly become a fingerprint trap. The interior is also a bit somber and could maybe use some lighter or brighter colors. Every vehicle has trade-offs, of course, and from what we’ve seen so far, the Mach-E’s features and performance far outweigh any drawbacks.
Ford Mustang Mach-E Trim and Spec Comparison
Although Ford is still finalizing the software and tuning of the vehicle, they’ve released some preliminary estimated targets for key attributes. We’ve gathered these specs into a handy table below, giving an overview of the different trims.
Ford Mustang Mach-E Trim Comparison - Specs and Price
|Trim||Est. Starting MSRP (without Federal Tax Credit)||Targeted EPA Range||Targeted 0-60 mph||Battery Configuration
|Mustang Mach-E Select
||Standard battery with RWD or AWD
|Mustang Mach-E Premium
||Standard or extended battery with RWD or AWD
|Mustang Mach-E California Rt. 1
||Extended battery with RWD
|Mustang Mach-E First Edition
||Extended battery with AWD
|Mustang Mach-E GT
||Extended battery with AWD
The Mustang Mach-E will launch with the First Edition trim, which is essentially a Premium trim with some additional visual upgrades. It is only available in Carbonized Gray and Rapid Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat, plus the currently trim-exclusive color, Grabber Blue Metallic. We hope that the latter will later be available on the GT trim, as Grabber Blue is one of our longtime favorites.
For the remaining four trims, the Select offers an affordable entry-level option starting just under $43,000. That will look pretty attractive after a $7,500 federal tax credit makes the "real-world" price even lower.
California Route 1 Edition
Instead of offering solely visual upgrades as the California Special package has for Mustangs in the past, this model is oriented as a long-range cruiser with RWD only.
The more upmarket Premium trim gives you larger wheels and more of a luxurious feel. While the shown 300-mile maximum range and lower starting MSRP makes it look like a more attractive option, you won’t get the maximum range without adding the $5,000 extended range RWD battery set-up.
Finally, there’s the GT trim, the real performance model. And while it won’t offer the famous exhaust note of a V8 Mustang or the sporty handling of a coupe, the performance specs are undeniable. A targeted 0-60mph of around 3.5 seconds makes it quicker than the vast majority of crossovers, or any other car on the road. That’s firmly in Tesla territory when it comes to acceleration.
Some Things to Consider
There are some things to note about the specs we’ve been given so far. The less expensive Mustang Mach-E select will actually get you more range (230 miles), because you're getting RWD instead of AWD. Secondly, the MSRP for the Mustang Mach-E First Edition has been shown on the Ford website as both $59,900 and $60,300; both are estimates, with the final number still unknown. Finally, different parts of the Ford website show the Mach-E GT range as either 235 or 250 miles. This will likely depend on if the additional performance package is added, which would give you the best acceleration but decrease overall range to 235 miles.
Why Does the Ford Mustang Mach-E Matter?
The Mustang Mach-E represents a fundamental shift in how Ford is viewing and targeting the automotive market. Although the Mustang model has changed significantly over the decades, it’s a big transition to add a completely new car to the line-up, let alone one that is both a four-door and electric vehicle. Time will tell how the market reacts to a crossover EV with the Mustang name, but Ford clearly saw it as important that their first true electric car make a big splash with its debut.
For those that want a smaller, two-door Mustang that still has the classic style they love, a plug-in hybrid and fully-electric version are almost surely on the way with the S650 Mustang in 2023. In the meantime, sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest news, features, and releases.
Sources: Ford | CNET | Alex on Autos | Tesla
Image Credit: Ford