Ford Mustang Mach-E test drive | New car reviews 2022

Ford Mustang Mach-E test drive | New car reviews 2022


The choice of electric vehicles (EVs) is getting broader and broader as more manufacturers decarbonise existing models and create swanky new models. The Ford Mustang Mach-E is one model falling into the latter category here.

Built from the ground up to be nothing but pure electric, the fact Ford has called it a ‘Mustang’ tells you all you need to know about the kind of drivers they’re looking to attract with the Mach-E.

Not to be confused with any model of razor blade, the Mustang Mach-E has great kerb appeal. Sitting in the large SUV category, the design lines carry real elegance, mitigating the chunkiness that can often be associated with SUVs. It’s a car squarely aimed at taking on rival models like the Volkswagen ID.4, Jaguar I-Pace and anything in the Tesla range, but also luring petrol drivers of cars like the Hyundai Tucson, Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage over to the world of pure electric. 

The Mustang Mach-E has been well received by the motoring media, so we’re keen to find out more about what it’s like to live with and whether it should be on your new car shopping list.

What’s new?

Everything. Ford has taken what it knows about building cars – it turns out, quite a bit – and combined that knowledge with its comparatively fledgling progress in electric vehicle technology development. The Mustang Mach-E is Ford’s first all-electric car; but it’s not a pre-existing model that’s been turned electric, it’s brand spanking new.

How does it look?

Really smart. The body shape is big, but it’s more Captain America than Incredible Hulk. That is to say, it’s proportionate. The tail-lights with their three-stripe indicator and brake illumination feature the unmistakable modern Mustang flair and this design has been integrated into parts of the cabin display too.

The door handles aren’t your traditional pull handle, neither are they retractable ‘hidden’ ones featured in early versions of the Tesla Model S and current Jaguar i-Pace. There’s a circular button on the door near the B-pillar combined with a pull-lip immediately below it, which makes access to the car swift and easy, albeit not conventional. On the driver’s side, there’s also a keypad, giving you a way of accessing and driving the car using a PIN, completely key- and mobile-free.

How does it compare with rivals? Styling is always a subjective thing, but we think the Ford Mustang Mach-E looks better than the Tesla Model X, Hyundai Kona or MG ZS EV. But it’s not as good as the Jaguar i-Pace or Porsche Macan.

What’s the spec like?

Standard spec is generally very generous on Ford models, which continues with the Mustang Mach-E; the latest version of the company’s SYNC infotainment suite joins features such as dual-zone climate control, heated steering wheel and heated front seats, which are electronically adjustable.

The Pre-Collision Assist safety suite is partnered with the Technology Pack to earn a five-star safety Euro NCAP test score, where adult safety is an excellent 92%, child safety 86% and safety assist is assessed at a respectable 82%.

Red brake calipers peek cheekily from behind the 19” black alloys and design touches, such as the Mustang Logo puddle light projections, speak to the fancy sportiness of the marque – all as standard. The car looks sharp in the daytime and the dark.

Privacy glass and the optional ‘Carbonised Grey’ body colour, exclusive to the Mustang Mach-E, engender a sense of understated prestige, which transitions into the vehicle’s cabin too.

How does it compare with rivals? Equipment-wise, the Ford Mustang Mach-E is better kitted out than Citroen e-C4 but not as good as what Tesla offers in any of its models.

What’s the Mach-E like inside?

Stepping into the cabin, there’s an unmissable 15-inch iPad-like screen, reminiscent again of early Tesla Model S models. Tesla has since changed its highly controversial screen from portrait to landscape, to cater for the TV streaming services the brand has started offering. But Ford’s efforts here are more like a digital amalgamation of the climate control panel and a regular infotainment touchscreen. It looks clean and minimalist, particularly with the speaker integrated into the dash, but it’s not a perfect solution.

The home page of the central display offers all the selections for switching between FM radio, DAB, Bluetooth, telephone, navigation and other services. It’s a customisable experience, so you can ensure your home page is always configured for when you drive, if you share your car with other householders. It’ll remember your preferred seat position and your favourite radio stations too. Nothing innovative there, but it’s easier than many other cars to set it all up.

Trying to select anything on the move without voice control, though, just feels far too hazardous. Your eyes leave the road for a beat too long and there’s no buttons to develop any muscle memory, so there’s no way of seeing how this might improve over time. There is a reasonably responsive voice control, however.

A ten-inch digital instrument display sits directly in front of the driver. This works well since it only delivers the simplest information; clock, digital speed, navigation cues and safety alerts. Conversely, this display will be preferred by drivers who don’t like the lack of any driver display in the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y cabins.

Wireless Android Auto and Apple Carplay connectivity reduce the need for a clutch of cables littering the central console area, as does the wireless mobile charging pad, enabling drivers to arrive at their destination with juice. Notwithstanding, there are USB ports if you still need them.

There’s also cubby space on a non-slip mat for sunglasses, keys and other detritus. Practicalities such as cup holders, armrest storage and rear seat climate control complement the top-quality contrast-stitched fabric interior. The build quality and selected materials feel as impressive as the Mach-E looks.

And there’s a decent amount of space too. Rear seat passengers won’t feel cramped, even 39 weeks’ pregnant. While the boot of the Mach-E isn’t the biggest, compared with rivals, 502 litres (equivalent to over 220 four-pint milk cartons, so….a lot of space) provides enough convenience to throw your world into the back and get on the road pronto.

How does it compare with rivals? We rate the Ford Mustang Mach-E cabin as better than the Tesla Model 3, Peugeot 3008 and Volkswagen ID.4, though not as good as the Porsche Macan, Land Rover Discovery or Land Rover Defender

What’s under the bonnet?

Trick question – under the bonnet is a ‘frunk’, or front truck, as the Americanised portmanteau goes. Instead of a petrol engine mounted at the front of the car, everything to power the Mach-E is located between the axles (well, as close as humanly possible) to ensure perfect weight distribution.

When it comes to the choice of battery size and motoring configuration, however, that depends on how frequently you’re willing to stop to charge on longer journeys, how often you do longer journeys and whether you need all-wheel-drive (AWD), which requires an extra electric motor on the front axle in addition to the one found on the rear as standard.

Specifically, there’s a choice of five set-ups; RWD with Standard (68kW) or Long Range (88kW) battery, AWD with Standard or Extended Range. The Extended or Long Range option claims 379 miles. Unsurprisingly, the bigger the battery, the more expensive the car. A pricey GT option with the bigger battery tops the list of five, at £67,000.

Our test model was the AWD without extended range; it was noticeable. The claimed 248 miles was more like 200. A little more energy could be eked out with more conservative driving along more scenic roads, since regenerative braking technology (i.e. the tech capturing the energy lost in braking and putting it back in the batteries) doesn’t make a happy bedfellow with motorways, where the battery gauge drops almost before your eyes. Unlike a conventional petrol or diesel car, an EV tends to get best economy in stop-start urban driving rather than constant motorway speeds.

How does it compare with rivals? We rate the Ford Mustang Mach-E powertrain as better than BMW i4, Kia e-Niro, MG ZS EV and Citroën e-C4, but not as good as the Mercedes Benz EQC, BMW iX or any Teslas.

What’s the Ford Mustang Mach-E like to drive?

For the miles you do get from the batteries, the driving experience is spirited and the steering is light. Like all electric cars, the acceleration is instant, so the sizeable Mustang Mach-E makes easy work of getting off the line at traffic lights and roundabouts. There’s not a lot of body roll in corners either, which coupled with the comfortable ride height and great visibility makes it a reassuring car to drive.

Since it’s been given its own button, we were hoping for a bit of self-parking magic. Alas, the Park Assist feature is simply a reversing camera and sensors. Still, the Mustang Mach-E manouevred easily and the turning circle was relatively tight.

Initiating cruise control was straightforward and the digital menu gives you the option to select different cruise control modes; standard (you just want the car to maintain a constant speed), adaptive (you want the car to maintain a specified distance from the car in front) or intelligently adaptive (you want the car to cruise at the set speed, maintaining the distance with the car in front AND keep to the centre of the lane using Lane Keep Assist).

Of course, to mitigate distraction these preferences need setting before you start your journey, but it’s heartening for drivers, not buying into the new-fangled future of autonomous driving, to have the chance to opt out if they wish.

How does it compare with rivals? The Ford Mustang Mach-E is better to drive than the MG ZS EV but not as good as the BMW iX, Mercedes EQC or Tesla’s models.

What about charging it?

The charging experience was one of the best we’ve had in an EV. Ford claims it can go from 10% battery to 80% in just over 35 minutes, which we found to be an accurate gauge. In fact, it felt faster, but we did use rapid chargers to top up.

Impressively, Ford has integrated a button next to the plug port to force the charging to stop and release the plug from the car. This means if the charge point provider’s app is not communicating properly with the charging station, the situation can be managed by the driver. Since the alternative is a frustrating altercation with the charging device’s touchscreen, a unpredicable wait until all devices decide to disengage, or a call to the EV charging network provider for assistance which may never come, we really really liked this feature.

One charge a week should suffice for most drivers, though, it might push out to two, if you drive mid-week and run around at weekends. Our one longer charge cost £15 from a rapid Pod Point at Lidl, a figure that should halve using a home charger (despite rising energy bills).

Verdict

There is no hiding our enthusiasm for the Ford Mustang Mach-E, as it’s one of the best EVs we’ve driven in a while. From the sleek styling on the outside to the comfort, convenience and practicality on the inside, this car ticks a lot of boxes for busy drivers with lively family lifestyles or hectic outdoorsy hobbies.

Drivers who aren’t tech-savvy are going to be really put off by the unequivocal commitment to digitisation here. The centre screen is massive. While the menus seem intuitive, they’ll take a bit of time to get used to.

Similar cars

If you’re looking at the Ford Mustang Mach-E, you might also be interested in these alternatives

Audi e-tron | Audi Q4 e-tron | BMW iX3 | Hyundai Ioniq 5 | Jaguar I-Pace | Kia EV6 | Mercedes-Benz EQC | Nissan Ariya | Polestar 2 | Skoda Enyaq | Tesla Model Y | Volkswagen ID.4

Key specifications

Model tested: Ford Mustang Mach-E AWD Standard Range
Price (as tested): £52,000
Motor unit: Two electric motors
Gearbox:
Single-speed automatic
Power:
269hp
Torque:
580 Nm

Top speed: 111 mph
0-60 mph: 6.3 seconds
Battery size: 68 kWh
Battery range: 248 miles
Euro NCAP safety rating: Five stars (2020)
TCE Expert Rating: 77% (as of May 2022)



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