Ford’s Mustang Mach-E
Thirty years ago, I embarked on a career in automotive journalism. At least, I thought of it as a career in the fall of 1993; three decades later, I’m not sure I’d even regard it as a jobs program. After 10+ years of working on retail showrooms and a lifetime of car enthusiasm, I hoped to combine that experience, enthusiasm and perspective into automotive reviews for a suburban Dallas audience. With the help of Today Newspapers, a small chain of community newspapers in Southwest Dallas County, I had an outlet. And with the help of a Ford PR exec, Jim Bright, I had a Mustang for that first review.
The ’94 Mustang was a new take on the iconic Mustang brand, and that following spring Ford would mark the 30th anniversary of the Mustang’s 1964 intro, in much the same way as next spring will mark the performance coupe’s 60th anniversary. Of course, a lot had changed in that first 30 years, and nothing speaks to change in the Mustang narrative today more decisively than the launch of an electrified platform – dubbed Mustang Mach-E – in 2021. Of course, Mustang diehards don’t consider the Mach-E a true Mustang, just as that same audience won’t regard Dodge’s Omni GLH a true Shelby – and 911 fans still regard the Cayenne as blasphemous. But it’s here on the Ford showroom, and while there remain Ferrari owners that believe nothing with the Cavallino should have less than twelve cylinders, here we have a Mustang with more than two doors…
With word of its launch I was skeptical, thinking Ford had any number of copyrights more appropriate to an EV platform than ‘Mustang’. But you can’t deny the vibe imparted by the Mustang brand, and while Mach-E is intended to recall Mach 1, I’m unsure how many in the EV space would remember or recognize that muscle car nameplate, from either ’73 or ’23. Regardless, Mach-E it is, and three model years in I’ve grown comfortable with it.
Whether on the road or in your driveway, the Mach-E offers a nice footprint. While the ’94 sat on a wheelbase of 101 inches supporting an overall length of 182 inches, the Mach-E sits on a wheelbase of 117.5 inches, while its overall length is but 3.6 inches more than in 1994. In short, if you – like me – find front and rear overhangs excessive on many Mustangs, you’ll be pleased by the lack of same on the Mach-E. The car is visually tight, and that impresses me as more athletic.
Of course, if you are athletic, you’ll find the Mach-E’s hatch makes those athletic endeavors (such as cycling or snowboarding) more convenient. Open that hatch and you’ll enjoy almost 30 cubic feet behind the rear seat, and some 60 cubic feet with the rear seat folded. Slip in the bike or throw in a couple of snowboards (beer and other consumables can go in the frunk), head out on the highway and – you know – look for some adventure.
Behind the wheel Ford had done a credible job of combining new tech (digital dash, big infotainment screen) with materials and textures to create a warm, personal environment. And the seat’s hip point, in combination with a reasonable generous glass area, makes intown, in-traffic navigation far less harrowing than it can be in that 2-door, ICE Mustang. You and your passengers won’t need to climb in, nor will you need to jump up; instead, you can comfortably slide into your seat or get behind the wheel.
Our press car, a ’23 in Premium trim, was upholstered in what Ford describes as black perforated ‘Activex’. I found the seating reasonably spacious, but the driver’s cushion seemed closer to a well-worn couch than the driver’s perch I was expecting. Of course, everything’s relative, but the two previous test vehicles, the made-in-Italy Dodge Hornet and Honda’s CR-V Hybrid, impressed as offering the better long-term perch.
You can’t dismiss, however, the sublime, responsive driving experience of the Mach-E’s powertrain. With several different Mach-E trims you can buy or lease what you think you need; our test Premium eAWD provided 91 kWH of battery, 346 horsepower, 290 miles of range and a 0-60 sprint of under six seconds. But that extended range battery came at a surcharge of $7,000, bringing the MSRP – with destination – of roughly $66K.
From this laptop, of course, I don’t think you should buy an EV; instead, you should lease it, and in three years rotate out of your ’23 or ’24 Mach-E and benefit from the updated tech that will inevitably appear in the Ford showroom. On Ford’s website leases look to be under $700/month, offset by not having to buy gas at between four and $ix bucks per gallon.
If I had access to Ford’s product team, I’d ask for a plug-in hybrid Mach-E. And in a (small) tribute to my astrological sign, call it Taurus.