Electrifying lessons from my time in the Mustang Mach-E
There are many ups and few downs to this powerhouse of an SUV from Ford
The opportunity afforded itself for me to have an extended stint in Ford’s electric Mustang Mach-E SUV recently. How could I say no?
Despite all that has been written and spoken about it, driving an SUV bearing the Mustang logo – made by Ford of course – and driven only by electricity has so much going for it (and a bit against) I felt that sampling it at lengthy leisure held a treat in store and was just the sort of lift that cars of this vogue can provide.
Important, too, it also gave me the excuse to take an overview of where Ford is at in the EV stakes.
And it was all the more appropriate, I think, that I should have had it within the recent timeframe of Ford revealing details of its new Explorer battery electric vehicle (BEV).
That – not the Mustang – marks the beginning of its drive to electrification in earnest with several new mainstream models due relatively soon.
It needs to be, because Ford has a lot of ground to make up on the likes of Volkswagen, Hyundai, KIA, Renault and Opel, which have powered ahead with new BEVs while the auto giant lay stranded at the starting grid.
Really the Mach-E SUV has been its token presence, and a stop-gap one at that, in the EV market place. I’ve often wondered how it came to find itself to be so far behind the game.
No disrespect to anyone, the Mustang is hardly the sort of mass-appeal vehicle needed to attract big numbers of buyers who are switching to electric from their petrol and diesel cars.
That doesn’t detract, per se, from the Mach-E’s allure as a powerful performer in its price range, which will always have a small coterie of followers. But you don’t see too many of the Mach-Es on the road do you?
Ford needs to see the blue oval on millions of its electric cars – it is a mass producer after all.
Such musings came and went as I slipped down to the midlands for lunch with a wonderful old friend against a backdrop of an emerging spring countryside.
On other drives outside the M50 megalith I came to appreciate what Ford has achieved with the Mach-E.
It shows what it can do at that end of the market.
The Explorer, meanwhile, looks the part of a decent mid-size crossover but, my goodness, there’s a long way to go before it catches up on its keenest rivals.
But enough about the future. Right there and then, I just liked the Mach-E. I thought it looked and drove exceptionally well.
It isn’t all mad curves and lines, but there is dynamism in the design as well as in the performance.
Just a brief background: there is a choice of single-motor rear-wheel drive and dual-motor all-wheel drive versions.
As well as standard, there are extended-range battery options with up to 610km range. My test car was the Mach-E RWD Extended Range (610km range).
If you want extreme propulsion there is a Mach-E GT capable of 0-100kmh acceleration in 3.7 seconds.
Alongside all those macho matters – the size of the car, how it transmitted the feel of muscle, balance and thrust – it was little things that set it apart too.
Such as? Well, there is the clever, decorative way the door handles sit flush with the body.
And I was thankful for the simple way the dash is laid out – even if the 15.5in upright central touchscreen nerve-centre is borrowed straight from Tesla.
It worked well. As did the rotary knob for drive and reverse. It felt really well built with nothing creaking despite a sortie over one badly scarred stretch of road.
However, ride quality was a tad hard at lower speeds but the suspension flourished on the open road. It had loads of (silent) grunt and was capable of special acceleration.
Steering could be a bit vague and light, too. Normally that would be more heavily criticised but, for some reason (maybe the good humour the car engendered), it bestowed a free-and-easy feel to the drive.
Practically, the cabin had great room, particularly at the back, while there is a decent boot and a 100-litre frunk (front trunk).
My car unerringly turned in a powerful performance, especially when it was asked for an urgent response. And that’s where much of its attraction lies.
It carved up the road, and the fuel (understandably), when it was prompted. But it sipped slowly on the battery juice when only on sedate around-town driving duties.
I enjoyed my times behind the wheel of this. When all is said and done it’s a crackerjack of an electric SUV.
Would I buy it? Yes, it would be fun.
Mustang Mach-E, rear-wheel-drive (RWD) Extended Range SUV battery electric vehicle. Entry price (Mach-E RWD) Standard Range from €67,666.
Test model Mach-E RWD Extended Range 91kWh from €78,868. Optional Tech Pack: €3,038.
Standard items include 10.2in digital cluster, 15.5in central touchscreen, next gen SYNC, one-pedal drive, front trunk, parking sensors, rear-view camera, 150kw high-powered charging. Tech Pack has perforated Sensico leather.