Car Reviews

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E: Impressions From a Ride in Ford’s New Electric SUV

On the road in a prototype of a Porsche-challenging new electric SUV

On the road in a prototype of a Porsche-challenging new electric SUV

For the second time in its history, the Mustang family is expanding. Nope, it’s not another Mustang II, it’s a coupe-like electric SUV. The new 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E will be available with standard and extended-range battery configurations, three levels of power, and Ford claims its directly targeting aspirational SUVs like the Porsche Macan.

We got a chance to take an early ride in an all-wheel-drive long-range prototype, and if our short time with the vehicle is any indication, the Mustang Mach-E might just be worthy of its namesake.

Pony Ride

I hopped in the back seat of a camo-wrapped prototype and before we even starting moving, I was impressed with the Mustang Mach-E’s packaging. At a hair over six feet, I frequently find my head smooshed up against the ceiling when I’m subjected to the back seat, but that wasn’t the case here. There was a good two or three inches between my head and the glass roof, which is especially impressive given the electric SUV’s swept-back profile.

On the street, the instant torque is immediately apparent. This car doesn’t develop power in a way that any Mustang ever has, and that’s not a bad thing. The car we’re riding in makes an estimated 332 hp and 417 lb-ft of torque with electric motors spinning the front and rear axles. Those wanting the ultimate performance capability out of their Mustang Mach-E should opt for the GT, which will offer over 450 hp and over 600 lb-ft.

In our brief road loop, the Mustang Mach-E rode relatively well, but driving over a railroad crossing sent a sharp jolt through the cabin. Lesser models will ride on conventional suspension but the GT Performance Edition will be equipped with MagneRide magnetorheological shocks capable of lowering the car by three quarters of an inch depending on the drive mode.

Giddy Up

Our all-too-short experience with the 2021 Mustang Mach-E was conducted in the car’s sportiest Unbridled drive mode. (If I had one criticism of the product briefing, it’s that there weren’t nearly enough horse puns like this one.)

Our driver gave us the chance to feel what a quick 0–60 mph blast and a run through a slalom course feels like in this electric high-riding Mustang-badged electric SUV. The acceleration run was impressive—the driver quoted a mid-5-second 0–60 time but it felt more like the high-4-second range to me, and that was with four adults in the car.

The Mach-E did spend some of its development at a racetrack, and though our slalom run only gave us a small taste, it’s a real handler. Because the weight of the battery pack is concentrated low in the chassis and within the wheelbase, the Mach-E doesn’t have to fight much inertia to change direction. Body roll is present but relatively minimal and the grip was strong, especially considering the car was wearing relatively narrow 225-section all-season tires.

Mustang diehards will scoff at the Mach-E over its name alone, but if a full series of MotorTrend tests can confirm the SUV’s promising performance, the naming will be much easier to swallow. Ford expects the Mustang Mach-E GT to slot between a Mustang GT and Shelby GT350 in terms of performance. Sounds mighty fine to us.