CAR OF THE YEAR! Mustang Mach-e ponies it up with an all-electric winner
PROS: Styling, e-power, ride, build, tech, one pedal thing
CONS: Styling, naming, e-weight, visceral V8 notes
Words Photos. Angus MacKenzie
Born in 1965 the original Mustang has become, without hyperbole, one of autodom’s most iconic names. Over the years, the Mustang has gone through significant changes. Both very very bad and very good – I’m looking at you 1975-1993. The sixth generation car, starting in 2015, finally did the name justice with a swack of power options and styling that redeemed the name.
Now, six years later, we’re treated to an all new, all-electric, not really a Mustang in styling, or power, but named the same nonetheless, Mustang Mach-e. Here’s my photographic and seat impresssions from my week with the spanky new electric crossover.
First things first. Lets get the styling conversation out of the way before delving into the electrics and tech. Styling gets both high marks and inconsistent against points. On the plus side, the e-stang looks better in person than most online images. Proportions are tight overall with some tastey sculpting happening about the waist-line. The rakish tapered rear quarter section really promotes the fast narrative.
Conversely, the rising front haunches, when viewed at headlight level, bulge up unexpectedly. This upward motion takes away from the clean visual flow and in turn makes the front end bulbous where it shouldn’t be. However the visual incongruity dissipates when rising up to shoot down or when shooting from the pavement. This is a mere bit of negativity against what is otherwise a damn fine looking vehicle.
When I first heard I was getting seat time in the Mach-e my mind immediately went GT! As in 480 hp, 600 ft.lb of torques and 0-60 mph times in the 3.5 second range. Did not get the GT. Instead we received the Premium model and a 266 hp and 428 ft. lb torque setup good for 0-60 times of 4.8 second. And it’s the 428 ft.lb of e-torques we’re interested in.
As we know from the electric motor section of Science Camp, all those torques are available at 0 rpm. And that boys and girls (and theys) is where the e-magic happens. No matter where you’re at in the lower power range, that torque is always on hand to duct tape you into your seat.
Three different e-modes: Whisper, Engage and Unbridled are available on demand. Ford’s copywriters explain them like this: Whisper is a “Seamless drive, calm and quiet”, Engage is a “Balanced drive, fun and engaging” whereas Unbridled offers an “Exhilarating drive, where machine and road align as one.”
In Whisper mode the car gets even more creepy e-quiet. Engage provides the best daily driver option we found. Unbridled mode gives the bestest of the e-driving experiences. Pseudo engine braking works similar to reg gas engine setups with lower gears selected. Acceleration and associated performance bits also come into play.
Acceleration from zero pulls like a monkey on the back of your head. Again, cognitive dissonance comes into play with the missing exhaust notes to reinforce the usual go fast experience. Similar acceleration traits can be found from zero up to about 96 kph. The electrics start to behave like a diesel and lose power past a certain point, but prior to that its great gobs of electric acceleration throughout most of the power range.
Ford reports energy consumption as the same across all three drive modes. Which is counter to any gas powered arrangement. Apparently the Mach-E is calibrated to maximize brake regeneration whether driving in one-pedal mode or not. In one-pedal mode, the driver reportedly “rarely needs to touch the brake”. The more aggressive the driver lifts off throttle, the quicker the car is to slow / stop. I never fully experienced this one-pedal voodoo but can attest to it requiring zero brake at stop signs. So weird this future is.
According to Ford, Fast charging capabilities allow the Mach-e to charge from 10% to 85% in only 45 minutes. As this was my first longer term experience in an all-electric, tracking down the fast charge stations proved to be a learning experience. Learning. While range anxiety continue for some, knowing that a near full charge can be had in under an hour should help alleviate most distance concerns.
Besides if the car is being used solely as a 30 km/day daily commuter, then recharges on a weekly basis would be highly attainable. A day trip to Banff would also leave roughly 100 km in the Energizers for safe keeping. I’ll have to do more digging on the battery longevity, reliability and maintenance costs thing.
But we can take things like oil changes off the yearly budget as well as serpentine belt replacement, air filter changes, transmission repairs, and any other annual costs associated with owning a petrol power vehicle.
And initial purchase costs of e-vehicles, once they hit that magic “economies of scale” mark will only make the msrp figure even more attainable for the average consumer.
On the negative side, the Mach-e is a chonky boy. Weighing in at 2,195 kg (4,838 lb) the all-electric is 1000 lb heavier than a V8 Mustang thanks to those 376 lithium-ion battery cells. That extra grand of poundage, plus a taller profile, means the Mach-e has a ways to go to match the actual Mustang in overall handling and braking. And we were doing so well with the whole electric is the bestest argument too.
But in spite of the weight related issues, the Mach-e is still in our opinion, one of the most important cars to come out of Dearborn in years. That Ford managed to put together such a cohesive, beautifully designed (mostly) package in their first full-electric is why we’re tagging it with CAR OF THE YEAR for 2021. However if I get my hands on the Mach-e Performance Edition GT prior to year’s end then the ballots become null and void.
Source. Ford Canada