Automotive, EV - Electric Vehicles, Ford, Road Test Reviews, Vehicles

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E – Road Test

Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org

We’ve known about the Mustang Mach-E for over a year now, and people are still banging on that “it’s not a Mustang because it’s an SUV.” Those people are morons. They’ve obviously made a judgment based on their small minds fitting into their tiny heads. You have to be open-minded with ANY vehicle and manufacturer. Remember the outcry when Porsche, Jaguar and Lamborghini said they were going to start building SUV’s? That was supposed to be the end of the world as we knew it. Fast forward a couple of years and the SUV’s are outselling the sports cars by a great number.

Aston Martin just announced sales were up by more than 200% – thanks to the DBX. You don’t hear anyone complaining now, do you? Shockingly,the ones who were complaining are actually the ones purchasing said SUV’s! The Mustang Mach-E is a different version of the venerable Mustang sports car and YES, it does deserve to wear the Mustang badge – unlike the 1974-1978 Mustang/Pinto crapbox everyone wants to forget about – or how about the 1971-73 behemoth! The 1979- 1993 was based on that spectacular Ford Fairmont – ooh that was sporty! And let’s not forget, the original Mustang was based on the Falcon platform – hardly a ‘sporty’ chassis! This is Ford’s first 100% electric vehicle… It’s designed from the ground up to be a REAL Mustang. We know it’s quick, but does it handle like a Mustang? Is it a good EV? Let’s find out…

Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org  What Is It?

  • Mid-size Electric SUV
  • 4 Trim levels: Select, Premium, California Route 1 and GT Performance
  • Base Model is: Select – Standard Range (SR) Battery / RWD / Est. Range: 370 kms
  • Test vehicle is Select – SR Battery / AWD / Est. Range: 340 kms
  • Electronic All Wheel Drive (eAWD) is available on Select and Premium models, standard in GT Performance
  • All models get 3 selectable drive modes – Unbridled, Engage, Whisper

EV Features: 

  • 10.5 KW AC Onboard Charger
  • 10-80% Charge in 45 Mins. (DC Fast Charge Station)
  • Up to 115 kw DC charge capable – not quite state of the art in that dept. The Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ionic 5 go to 600!!!
  • J1772 / CCS combo connector
  • Mobile charge cord 120v/240v
  • Programmable when you want to charge – set times for cheaper tariff rates at home for example
  • Preconditioning: To help the battery reach its optimal performance state, prior to departure – and to optimized range, you can precondition the vehicle while it’s still plugged in by setting departure times
  • Level 2 Charge (J1772): Using the local Sun Country Highway charge point (FREE), we added 1 km per minute of charge to the range
  • By comparison, plugging into the 110V outlet at home netted me 2 kms per hour!

Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org  Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org  Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org

How Does It Look?  

  • We really like the Mach-E… just not in the worst colour available: Boring Silver (in some lights it actually looked charcoal-coloured)
  • It’s well proportioned and just about the perfect size
  • Even the face is well proportioned and looks great – one of the best looking EV’s so far
  • Great looking rims! (they’re actually wheel covers) 18″ Carbonized Grey-Painted Aluminum Wheels come standard
  • Test vehicle has the 19″ Shadow Silver- Painted Aluminum Wheels with High-Gloss Black-Painted Aero Covers
  • 225/55 R19 all-season run-flat tires
  • Full LED headlights, taillights, fog lights and DRL’s
  • Power Folding Mirrors
  • Does it have a FRUNK? Yes! Not all EV’s have the unique front trunk for additional storage. The Mach-E even has a drain plug, so you can fill it with ice, use it as a cooler and easily drain it
  • While on the subject… how can anyone possibly fit into the frunk and that it needs an escape release cord to get out? Closing the hood takes a lot of effort from outside and it is completely impossible for someone to climb in and close the hood… assuming they could even fit between the dividers (see pictures) – or if they removed the dividers they’d have to fit into a space that is 37” x 12” by 12” deep!!! 

Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org  Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org  Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org

What’s It Like Inside?

  • Interior layout is very nice – it takes a bit of getting used to when everything is minimalistic, instead of cocooning the driver/front passenger
  • 10.5” digital screen in front of driver provides just the right amount of info for the driver – I loved it
  • The huge 15.5″ Touchscreen with swipe capability dominates the interior. Terrific rear camera when reversing
  • ActiveX seats is a synthetic leather material used throughout the line-up 
  • The Front seats are quite comfortable, but we wouldn’t say fantastic. They felt kind of flat and not very firm – wouldn’t want to do really long-distance driving in them to be honest, however over the week spent in the seat – they were comfortable overall, even during spirited driving
  • Heated – but not cooled 😦 front seats with power lumbar adjustment 
  • Driver Seat is 6-way powered, with 3-person memory
  • 6-Way Manual Passenger Seat
  • FordPass Connect – download the app onto your phone and turn it into a key or an information centre – very cool. You can watch your battery charge and even how much energy it’s taking to charge it
  • Audio/information system is the Sync 4A with Enhanced Voice Recognition
  • APPLINK – never saw where this was located or able to be used it
  • Connected built-in Navigation is included for 3 years – so Ford too is going down the subscription path for navigation,  but it’s equipped with Android Auto compatibility (plug in via USB) and wireless Apple CarPlay – more on this below…
  • I couldn’t connect my phone to the sound system via Bluetooth – didn’t show up at all for music (my $200, 10-year old aftermarket stereo has no problem with it in my truck!!), and 3 of our USB jump drives didn’t register – again, no issues with my 2011 Ranger – this may have just been a vehicle glitch, as we’ve seen it happen before.
  • The AM/FM Stereo with 6 Speakers is pretty good, but the other models get a B&O Sound System by Bang & Olufsen (10 Speakers, including Subwoofer) – that’s more than worth the upgrade to the “Premium” Mach-E alone
  • USB Ports are skimpy by today’s standards – in front under the screen, there are A and C ports, and another set in the back. No 12-V outlets anywhere
  • There’s plenty of knee and legroom for rear passengers with a completely flat floor
  • Hands-free, foot-activated power liftgate
  • The cargo area offers plenty of space, even with the steeply rake rear end
  • The rear seats split 64/40 offering even more room if it’s needed – they don’t fold entirely flat, but close
  • I really liked the rear cargo area protector – it folds up out the way when you open the rear hatch

Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org  Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org

Android Auto/Sound System, Etc
Because the Mach-E wouldn’t connect to any USB jump drive I could throw at it, I was forced to use Android Auto. This is the first time I’ve used it and it took me a good 45 minutes to connect and partially use it. First of all, you need to plug it into the USB plug – no wireless, even though it insists I have to use Bluetooth as well. You then have to re-pair the phone with the Mach-E and it gives the phone a different name! You also have to give Android absolute access to your phone. I don’t give Google more information about me than I have to, so that was inconvenient. I also had to turn off my VPN. So, that let me have access to my phone, right? WRONG. It still didn’t come up on the radio screen as the owner’s manual stated it would. I said “Hey Google – play music from my phone” and the response was “You don’t have YouTube Music downloaded.” Then I said “Hey, Google – open VLC” it opened and I could sort-of search for a song and play it. It sounded like crap and I couldn’t turn up the volume above 6 without massive distortion. VLC is garbage at the best of times, but it didn’t recognise any other music apps that I have (Audify/Spotify). Major fail. I wouldn’t purchase this vehicle if I can’t control the audio the way “I” want to control my music. I’ve never had this issue in any other vehicle – especially Ford’s, and I’ve driven a LOT of vehicles.

Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org  Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org


TIPS AND NOTES ABOUT VEHICLE RANGE OPTIMIZATION
Preconditioning: To help the battery reach its optimal performance state prior to departure, resulting in optimized range, be sure to precondition the vehicle while it is still plugged in. This can be done by setting departure times via the in-vehicle 15.5″ touchscreen or the FordPass app.


So How Quick Is It & How Does It Handle?

  • All Mach-E’s get 3 Driving Experiences: Unbridled, Engage and Whisper – guess which one we used
  • In Unbridled mode, the Mach-E is very responsive and an absolute blast to drive
  • Steering is very sharp and precise, braking is superb
  • The Mach-E handles much better than the Mustang GT simply because there’s no rear-end trying to kick out and kill you as you corner hard and fast. It corners extremely flat and gives you plenty of confidence that you can push it even more. I turned 90° at an intersection doing 56 km/h with the tires squealing for grip, but there was no body roll to speak of
  • I couldn’t get the Mustang GT to do the same thing at half the speed without almost rotating the back end – that alone PROVES this is indeed worthy of the Mustang badge!
  • Going into a tight S-bend at 80 km/h with no body roll or complaints from passengers once again solidified how well the suspension is tuned– remember, this isn’t even the Mach-E GT, this is the base model
  • Regenerative braking and one pedal drive is something unique to EV’s and takes a little bit to get used to – take your foot off the gas and it slows down by itself – to a complete stop. If you’re driving fast and suddenly take your foot off the gas, the re-gen kicks in instantly and slows you quite dramatically
  • Reversing using the one-pedal drive is weird. Unlike a traditional car, you put it in reverse and take your foot off the brake allowing the car to move on its own, but you can’t do that – you have to press the gas pedal to get it to move. As soon as you take your foot off the gas pedal, it comes to an abrupt halt.
  • Unlike other EV/PHEV/Hybrids, there’s no way to determine how effective your re-gen is – how much energy is actually being returned to the battery. We saw no noticeable increase in battery range at any time – definitely something we’d like to see included here Ford – especially since you have the huge display – there’s lots of room for it.

Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org

Horsepower: 266 
Torque:  428 
Est. Range: 370 km
Top Speed:  180 km/h / 112 mph
0-100 kms (62 mph) (sec): 5.6 – Standard-Range Battery, eAWD / RWD: 6.1 seconds

Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org

What Does It Cost? For up-to-date pricing and options visit: www.Ford.ca  or Mach-E site
To Buy… 
Base Price: Select AWD – $53,995
As Tested: $57,035
Options Included on test vehicle ($3,040) 

Comfort/Appearance Package ($2,590) Note: this comes standard on all the other models (19″ painted alum wheels/w aero cover / black painted roof / hands-free foot-activated liftgate / heated front seats & steering wheel / memory door seat/side mirrors)

Interior Protection Package ($350) – (cargo area protector / floor liners, front & rear)

To Operate…

    • Rated at (Le/100 km):  City – 2.5 / Highway – 2.7 / Combined – 2.5
    • Annual cost to operate (Transport Canada – 20,000 kms): $588
      • EV Incentives in Quebec are (up to $8,000) and B.C gets $3,000, on top of the $5,000 Federal Grants
      • The Mach-E does NOT qualify for the Federal Rebate in Canada
      • For vehicles that do qualify click HERE

Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org

Charging Time

  • I drained the battery a bit too much – down to 70 kms of range without plugging it in. After plugging it in at home I checked the details that afternoon on the FordPass app. Time on charger: 20 hours and 28 mins. (4 days in real time because I was charging off-peak). Total Energy consumed: 1 kWh. Distance added: 102 kms. Hang on… it cost me 10.5¢ to add 102 kms of range at off-peak pricing!! If I’d charged at the highest point it would have cost 21.7¢ No wonder we never see a bump in our electrical bill when we get an EV!
  • By comparison, last week we drove the Infiniti QX55 (9.5 L/100kms) and it used 102 litres at a cost $154 over the week – thanks to premium fuel at $1.52/litre. Granted, we put around 970 kilometres on the odometer – about double our normal distance. And people wonder why we are so pro-EV
  • Getting it back to 100% was an ordeal however..  After taking a road trip and taking the neighbour for a spin, the Mach-e was down to 76%, so I plugged it in to have it ready for the next day. Checking in with the FordPass app, the Mach-E was requiring a full 24 hours to add 106 kms to the range for that 24%. I don’t recall ever having an EV that took this long to recharge

Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org

Warranty:

  • Basic: 3 years/60,000 km
  • Powertrain: 5 years/100,000 km
  • Battery/Components: 8 years/160,000 km
  • Roadside Assistance: 5 years

The Competition
Hyundai Ionic 5, Jaguar i-Pace, Kia EV6 and Porsche Macan EV

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

  • The Good: Quick, stylish and easy to live with. Superb handling
  • The Bad: Not enough information relayed to the driver – how much have I added to my battery while braking/re-gen? What can I do to improve my range? In other EV’s it turns into a game and you drive with the intent to do better – the Mach-E is completely disconnected
  • The Ugly: Unable to connect to the sound system via USB or my phone is a deal breaker – hoping this is just a glitch that requires a trip to the dealership.

Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org

What’s The Verdict?  
We’ve been desperate to spend more than just a few minutes behind the wheel of the Mach-E since we first saw it a couple of years ago – and it didn’t disappoint – to an extent. The range in the smaller battery is just enough for probably 80% of drivers – just plug it in every night. Setting a schedule to charge is very easy – one of the best we’ve ever used. Personally, we’d go for the bigger battery and rear wheel drive version if we were purchasing/leasing one. The extras in the “Premium” model more than justify the slight price increase.

The 15.5″ Touchscreen is nice and quite easy to use, but we both felt it was only doing “just enough” – it never really stood out as using its full capability or potential. There was always a feeling that “if only” it could do this or that. Maybe Ford engineers should spend 10 minutes behind the wheel of the Tesla Model3 and see what is truly possible with such a great feature of the car.

However… it’s 2021, and it shouldn’t be this hard to connect to any vehicle’s sound system – especially sitting in the driveway for 45 minutes!! My first (and last) experience with Android Auto is unacceptable. Either offer it – and make it work, or don’t offer it at all. Once Android Auto was opened on my phone I couldn’t navigate through my phone to where I wanted to go. I allowed it to hand over all the controls to the Mach-E, but it apparently didn’t want to do anything with the access. I’ve NEVER had an issue with connecting music to a vehicle – no matter if it’s expensive or cheap. I didn’t want/expect it to do anything I haven’t done before in a Ford, so the ability is there – the Mach-E just isn’t willing to co-operate, or there was just a problem with this unit.

Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org

Safety Features:
Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0 (See Ford.ca for complete details and small-print). Features include:

  • Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking
  • BLIS® (Blind Spot Information System) with Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Lane-Keeping System
  • Rear View Camera
  • Auto High Beams
  • Reverse Brake Assist
  • Reverse Sensing System
  • Post-Collision Braking
  • Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, Lane Centering and Speed Sign Recognition
  • Evasive Steering Assist
  • Intersection Assist
  • Connected Built-in Navigation
  • Active Park Assist 2.0
  • BlueCruise – a hands-free highway driving feature

Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org  Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org  Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org  Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org  Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org  Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org  Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org  Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org  Iain Shankland, www.Road-Test.org


Copyright © 2021 by Iain Shankland. All rights reserved.
Text & Images: Iain Shankland

Our ISP was “choking” our internet speed because they didn’t like that we were streaming TV and Movies – after adding NordVPN to our Android Media box – problem solved. The bonus is we now get to watch Netflix in the U.S. and U.K.!! – Click HERE for special pricing