The Mach-E’s electric range varies depending on the model and whether rear- or all-wheel-drive. Maximum range is claimed to be 480 kilometres. PHOTO: FORD

The Mach-E’s electric range varies depending on the model and whether rear- or all-wheel-drive. Maximum range is claimed to be 480 kilometres. PHOTO: FORD

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E: An electric Mustang is definitely a horse of a different breed

Mach-E’s performance characteristics and slick styling are winners

Not surprisingly, there’s plenty of opinions regarding the new Mustang Mach-E, beginning with the name choice.

Some Mustang die-hards are choked that a family-oriented four-door hatchback has been christened with the same name as Ford’s iconic two-door pony car. The Mach-E label is even similar to Mach 1, which was applied to a special Mustang sport package for 1969.

Then there are those who beg to differ.

In extended-range all-wheel-drive configurations, Mustang Mach-E is targeting 332 horsepower and 417 ft.-lbs.2 of torque – with the standard all-wheel-drive variation targeting a faster 0-60 miles per hour time than the base Porsche Macan series.

In extended-range all-wheel-drive configurations, Mustang Mach-E is targeting 332 horsepower and 417 ft.-lbs.2 of torque – with the standard all-wheel-drive variation targeting a faster 0-60 miles per hour time than the base Porsche Macan series.

Considering the electric Mach-E’s performance characteristics, they feel that any Ford capable of blowing the doors off existing Mustang variants — with the possible exception of the 760-horsepower Shelby GT500 — has earned the right to be called by any name the automaker deems appropriate.

Pedigree aside, brand recognition and acceptance are important considerations. There’s likely no better strategy to convey the sporting nature of the Mach-E — which is beginning to ship, although there’s an eight-week delay for some vehicles — than by calling it a Mustang. It also leaves the door open to additional models in future, electrified or not.

Although the Mach-E’s general shape is typical of many so-called crossovers, Ford’s designers have done a particularly good job sketching a curvaceous body that’s as slick, or slicker, than most conventional hatchbacks. They also replaced the traditional door handles with illuminated pushbuttons embedded in the door pillars. Yet another neat trick is the non-carpeted front storage compartment — with a drain plug — located beneath the hood that can be used as a beverage cooler.

With no internal-combustion engine, the Mach-E gets a small front truck that has a drain. Yes, you can fill it with ice and use it as a cooler. PHOTO: FORD

With no internal-combustion engine, the Mach-E gets a small front truck that has a drain. Yes, you can fill it with ice and use it as a cooler. PHOTO: FORD

To recognize the Mach-E as a Mustang, the taillights positioned above the truncated rear end appear similar those from the regular pony car.

The midsize Mach-E is scaled between the compact Escape and the larger Explorer in Ford’s utility-vehicle lineup, but the Mach-E provides considerably less cargo space, owing to a lower roofline. Interestingly, it’s within about 45 kilograms of the Explorer’s base weight.

The Mach-E’s interior is dominated by a vertically oriented 15.5-inch touch-screen that resembles a sideways-mounted laptop monitor. It operates the various communications, infotainment, ventilation and navigation systems and has a physical volume knob for the audio system. A smaller 10.2-inch horizontal screen positioned directly in the driver’s line of sight displays speed, battery status and remaining range.

In the interior, a floating, flip-up armrest doubles as a place to store purses or bags. PHOTO: FORD

In the interior, a floating, flip-up armrest doubles as a place to store purses or bags. PHOTO: FORD

In Canada, the base Selectcosts $52,500 including destination charges, before any provincial rebates in British Columbia and Quebec. (The base price is too high to qualify for the $5,000 federal rebate under the iZEV program.) The Select, the Premium, the First Edition and the California Route 1 trim levels have varying outputs ranging from 266 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque, to 346 horsepower and 428 pound-feet. Similarly, maximum ranges vary from about 340 to 480 kilometres depending on battery capacity (there are two levels) and whether all-wheel-drive is specified.

The Select and Premium trims offer both rear- and all-wheel-drive, while the First Edition is AWD only and the California Route 1 is strictly RWD.

Arriving in summer is the AWD Mach-E GT that produces 480 horsepower and 600 pound-feet. The GT Performance Edition, which adds 34 pound-feet can accelerate to 60 mph (96 km/h) from rest in 3.5 seconds, says Ford. That’s about 2.3 seconds quicker than the least powerful Mach E. Ranges for the GT vary from about 370 to 400 kilometres.

All variants use a single-speed transmission.

Fuel-consumption equivalency for the base model rings in at 2.2 l/100 km in the city, 2.5 on the highway and 2.4 combined.

All Mach-Es include a number of active-safety technologies (emergency braking and lane-departure warning, for example) plus navigation with voice recognition, and a mobile charger that plugs into 120- and 240-volt outlets, the latter of which should be considered a must at home (it still takes at least 10 hours for a full charge). Using a commercial fast-charger cuts the time to as little as 38 minutes for a top up to 80 per cent from 10.

Among the Mach-E GT items is a motion-activated power liftgate, eight-way power front seats, ambient interior lighting and Ford’s adaptive suspension that’s claimed to improve both ride control and cornering agility.

The Mustang Mach-E represents the first of several electric Fords that, along with competing models, will alter the automotive landscape throughout the decade.

Now if everyone can come to terms with the galloping pony logo attached to it.

Designed with SUV-size proportions to seat five adults comfortably, the Mustang Mach-E leaves plenty of space for your friends, kids and cargo.

Designed with SUV-size proportions to seat five adults comfortably, the Mustang Mach-E leaves plenty of space for your friends, kids and cargo.

What you should know: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

Type: Rear- /all-wheel-drive midsize electric hatchback

Motors (h.p.): Single/dual electric motors (266/346/480)

Transmission: Single-speed automatic

Market position: The Mach-E is a major departure for Ford by invoking the Mustang name as part of its marketing strategy, as opposed to adopting a separate brand for the automaker’s first all-electric model.

Points: Hatchback shape is easily one of the more stylish designs on the market. • Standard and available horsepower should help win over converts. • Giant touch-screen that operates most key functions might take some getting used to. • As with most electric models, the greater the range, the higher the price. • Plenty of standard dynamic-safety content.

Active safety: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (std.); active cruise control (std.); front and rear emergency braking (std.); inattentive-driver alert (n.a.); lane-departure warning (std.); active-park assist (std.)

L/100 km equivalency (city/hwy): 2.2/2.5 (RWD)

Base price (incl. destination): $52,500

BY COMPARISON

Tesla Model 3

  • Base price: $53,000
  • Rear- and all-wheel-drive sedans offer up to 520 kilometres of range.

Audi e-tron Sportback

  • Base price: $91,150
  • Premium hatchback is similarly sized to the Mach-E. Max. range is 350 kms.

Jaguar i-Pace

  • Base price: $93,900
  • Powerful 394-h.p. AWD hatchback uses two motors.Range is rated at 405 kms

– written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media

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