Ford Australia, as of the time of writing, has yet to officially confirm the Mustang Mach-E will come here.
There’s an air of inevitability to it all, mind you, given the electric crossover – Ford’s rival to the likes of the Tesla Model Y, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 – is not only produced in right-hand drive, but has even been confirmed for a launch across the pond in New Zealand.
Indeed, CarExpert understands it’ll be one of five electrified models due here by the end of 2024.
Despite the Mustang nameplate, the Mach-E shares essentially nothing beyond some styling details, like its wide haunches, tri-segmented tail lights, and aggressive front end styling with the pony car.
In fact, it owes more to vehicles like the Focus, with its underpinnings sharing similarities with Ford’s C2 platform such as some hard points. But there are no shared parts, according to vehicle engineering supervisor Le Wei Ho, with the Mach-E featuring unique components like its rear suspension and, of course, its electric powertrain.
There’s no official designation for the Mach-E’s platform according to Ford, and the company has yet to release any other vehicles on it – its next electric crossovers, designed for the European market, will borrow Volkswagen’s MEB platform.
While its crosstown rivals General Motors and Stellantis are planning a bevy of new crossovers, sedans and pickup trucks across multiple brands, Ford’s approach to electrification is a little bit simpler.
While these vehicles will all be sold in multiple markets, it’s the Mustang Mach-E that’s the most global of the quartet with production in Mexico and China and sales in both left- and right-hand drive markets.
The Mustang Mach-E line-up in the US consists of a range of single-motor rear-wheel drive and dual-motor all-wheel drive variants, with available 75.7kWh standard or 98.7kWh extended range batteries.
The range opens at US$46,895 ($71,837) for the rear-wheel drive Select with the standard range battery, and tops out at $69,895 ($107,069) for the GT which comes only with the larger battery. You can, however, spend an extra $6000 ($9191) on a special GT Performance Pack.
Our stint behind the wheel was at a drive day that also included other Ford vehicles like the F-150 Lightning, so we only had limited time in the Mach-E, the bulk of which was spent in a fully loaded GT.
While the Mach-E’s exterior styling borrows key elements from its petrol-powered pony car showroom-mate, inside it has a dramatically different look that doesn’t exactly scream ‘Mustang’.
Indeed, the Mach-E’s interior styling is more Model Y than Mach 1, though the presence of a 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster ahead of the driver makes this a noticeably more user-friendly cabin than that of the Tesla.
The 15.5-inch touchscreen is portrait-oriented, something Tesla has moved away from, but Ford’s Sync 4 operating system brings with it quick response times, attractive graphics, and generally intuitive menus.
I say generally as, like with other Sync 4-equipped Fords, the driver assist features unusually require an additional button press to access. You open the almost empty Settings menu, and then have to press Additional Settings to actually view these items. Weird.
There’s a handy shortcut button atop the display to access vehicle settings, while there’s wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – something the Tesla doesn’t offer.
Climate controls are always visible at the bottom of the touchscreen, and Ford has retained a conventional knob for adjusting volume.
The Mach-E’s cabin comes across a little spartan in photos, but in person it’s more attractive with a mix of interesting materials. The dashboard, for example, is finished in two different types of upholstery along with metal trim.
Material and assembly quality is good overall, and buyers seeking a lighter interior can opt for the Light Space Grey colourway – albeit not on GT models.
At the base of the centre stack, you’ll find a USB-A outlet and a USB-C outlet, plus a wireless charging pad and a little storage nook. Below this part of the centre console, there’s an additional storage shelf.
While elements of the interior can be found in other Fords, such as the rotary shifter dial, the Mustang Mach-E overall has its own distinctive visual identity.
Step into the back and there’s plenty of space, despite the swoopy exterior styling. I’m 180cm tall and I could sit behind my driving position with room to spare, while headroom was good. The rear floor is also almost entirely flat.
All bar the base Select in the US market get a full-length, fixed glass roof that lets plenty of light into the cabin.
In terms of cargo space, Ford says there’s 402L behind the second row, 1420L with it folded, and an additional 81L under the bonnet. The rear load floor is adjustable.
One bugbear with the Mach-E are its ‘e-latch’ door handles. The front exterior door handles look a bit awkward, while the rear doors are opened with the press of a button. Inside, the door releases are found within the door arm rest, and could be mistakenly pulled by occupants not familiar with their operation.
The whole e-latch exercise seems rather pointless, though you get used to the unconventional door opening.
The Mustang Mach-E is available with either single-motor rear-wheel drive or dual-motor all-wheel drive powertrains, both of which are offered with a choice of 75.7kWh Standard Range and 98.7kWh Extended Range batteries (70kWh and 91kWh usable, respectively). The GT only offers the larger of the two.
Standard Range RWD models produce 198kW of power and 430Nm of torque, with range of 439km on the stricter WLTP test cycle. Opting for the Extended Range bumps power and range to 216kW and 610km respectively.
Standard Range AWD models produce 198kW and 580Nm, with range of 399km. With the Extended Range battery, power is bumped to 258kW and range to 539km. Ford claims outputs of up to 358kW and 860Nm for the GT, as well as 499km of range.
From a standstill, RWD models do the 0-100km/h dash in a claimed 6.9-7.0 seconds, the AWD models in 5.8-6.3 seconds, and the GT in 4.4 seconds.
For reference, Australian-spec rivals offer the following WLTP range figures:
- Hyundai Ioniq 5 Dynamiq: 481km
- Hyundai Ioniq 5 Techniq: 430km
- Kia EV6 Air: 528km
- Kia EV6 GT-Line RWD: 504km
- Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD: 484km
- Tesla Model Y: 455km
- Tesla Model Y Performance: 514km
Maximum DC charge power is 115kW on models with the smaller battery and 150kW on those with the larger battery.
The Koreans support DC fast charging at up to 350kW, while the Model Y is capable of charging at up to 170kW per our testing.
We must give kudos to Ford for finding the only curved roads in the Detroit metropolitan area for our drive route, though these were still only gentle curves with a surprising number of police cars around to catch law-breakers.
As a consequence, and coupled with our short time behind the wheel, we couldn’t get as full a picture of the Mach-E as we’d like. However, even a brief stint behind the wheel reveals this to be one of the more engaging electric crossovers on the market, if with one hard to ignore flaw.
The Mustang Mach-E may offer a dual-motor all-wheel drive powertrain, but Ford engineers have ensured there’s a rear bias – understandable, considering every Mustang has been rear-wheel drive.
As the flagship variant, the GT Performance Pack adds Magneride magnetorheological dampers, which are also available on the Mustang.
There’s a choice of three drive modes on the Mach-E, though unfortunately there’s no custom mode allowing you to pick and choose what you want to adjust. The touchscreen also doesn’t explain exactly what parameters each mode alters, instead giving a description in rather vague marketing speak.
While Unbridled sounds like a Mills & Boon novel about a woman who falls in love with a rugged stablehand, it’s Ford-speak for Sport mode. It’s a Mustang so horse, unbridled – get it?
Whisper has a typical subdued electric vehicle soundtrack, while Engage and Unbridled add more sonic flair. The Mach-E’s faux engine sounds are genuinely good, which is rare for an EV.
The dampers are firmed up only in Unbridled mode, but trust us when we say they don’t need to be any firmer – this is one pony that bucks.
Michigan roads aren’t renowned for their smoothness, but even on less patchy pavement the Mach-E proved unrelentingly firm.
It’s easily upset by mid-corner bumps, and just becomes tiresome the longer you spend behind the wheel; rear-seat passengers are especially affected, sitting over the rear axle as they do. It’s easy to imagine, therefore, that Australia’s tragic roads will pose a significant challenge.
Ford says it employs different suspension tunes for the North American and European markets, with the latter receiving different damper settings and spring rates for a more controlled ride. Unusually, European models also get brake-based torque vectoring.
While on the surface it would seem the 20-inch alloy wheels were responsible for the Mach-E GT’s lumpy ride, a brief drive in a Premium on 19-inch alloys revealed it, too, was overly firm, although its body wasn’t quite as tied down as our GT tester.
That’s disappointing as the Mach-E is otherwise quite enjoyable to drive.
There’s the instant torque expected of an EV, while the steering is feelsome, with Unbridled adding more artificial weight. That’s hardly necessary, as in Whisper and Engage the steering is nicely weighted.
In GTs with the Performance Pack, Ford has also included a function we didn’t get to test called Unbridled Extend, designed for track driving.
The company says this setting alters the power delivery and traction and stability control, reduces the regenerative braking, proactively cools the battery, disables driver assist features, and features more linear pedal mapping for both the accelerator and brake.
Ford says the Mach-E’s support for over-the-air updates mean it’s technically possible for features like new faux engine sounds and a drift mode to be rolled out down the line, while it hasn’t ruled out a more hardcore Ford Performance version.
The one-pedal drive mode, selectable via the touchscreen, works well at bringing the vehicle to a halt.
If that’s too much for you – and indeed, one-pedal driving is an acquired taste – you can strengthen the regenerative braking by moving the shifter into the L position. Unlike many EVs, however, there are no paddle shifters for adjusting the level of regenerative braking.
The adaptive cruise control, which features stop/go and lane centring, works well, though we weren’t able to test it on any highways as our drive route consisted solely of surface streets.
Ford offers Mach-E buyers in North America a subscription to its BlueCruise service, similar to GM’s Super Cruise, which supports hands-free driving on over 209,000km of highways. Blue lighting appears in the instrument cluster to indicate when the vehicle is in a hands-free zone.
While we don’t know what the Mustang Mach-E would look like in Australia, we can use the US range as a guide.
Mach-E Select highlights:
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- LED reflector headlights
- Automatic high-beam
- Tyre pressure monitoring
- 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster
- 15.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- Satellite navigation
- Wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
- Wireless phone charger
Mach-E Premium adds:
- 19-inch alloy wheels
- LED projector headlights
- Puddle lamps
- Power-folding exterior mirrors
- Panoramic fixed-glass roof
- Heated front seats
- Heated steering wheel
- Driver’s seat memory
- 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system
Mach-E GT adds:
- 20-inch alloy wheels
- Extended Range battery
- Multi-colour ambient lighting
- Front sports seats
- ActiveX upholstery
- Aluminium interior trim
The optional GT Performance Pack includes Ford Performance sports seats and MagneRide adaptive suspension.
Ford also offers a Nite Pony appearance package, while a special California Route 1 variant slots between the Premium and GT and offers only all-wheel drive and the extended range battery.
The Mustang Mach-E has a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating which, given the safety authority has harmonised its testing protocols with its Australian counterpart, points to a likely five-star ANCAP rating.
It received an adult occupant protection rating of 92 per cent, a child occupant protection rating of 86 per cent, a vulnerable road user protection rating of 69 per cent, and a safety assist rating of 82 per cent.
Standard safety equipment includes:
- 7 airbags incl. driver’s knee
- Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
- Forward, Reverse
- Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Evasive steering assist
- Lane centring assist
- Lane keep assist
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Rear parking sensors
- Reversing camera
- Traffic sign recognition
A surround-view camera system is available as an option.
Ford backs all its cars in Australia with a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, and we don’t expect the Mustang Mach-E will differ when it eventually comes here.
As for maintenance, it’s unclear what Ford would charge for scheduled servicing, though currently most models in the brand’s Australian line-up offer four capped-price services covering the first four years or 60,000km, priced between $299 and $329.
Further indication is the Escape PHEV, which falls under the petrol Escape’s $299 per visit pricing plan.
Ford was arguably clever in calling this a Mustang.
Had it launched an electric crossover with styling more along the lines of the Escape and a less evocative nameplate, it likely wouldn’t have generated the attention – both positive and negative – that it has with the Mach-E.
While some may consider this a case of cynical name debasement, the Mach-E is genuinely one of the more engaging electric vehicles to drive – at least based on our limited time behind the wheel.
In fully loaded guise as tested, the Mach-E also offers performance gear like adaptive dampers and a track mode.
Its swoopy styling ties it in with its petrol-powered counterparts and doesn’t look as bloated as that of a Model Y, while also avoiding looking too much like an SUV.
It’s a similar strategy to that employed by the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, though the Mach-E can lean into the Mustang’s rich heritage.
Perhaps it has leaned too far into the Mustang’s sporty nature, as it rides too firmly for something that’s going to be cross-shopped against the likes of the Model Y and Ioniq 5. That was our greatest criticism of a car that otherwise feels thoroughly modern and engaging.
Mustang diehards likely won’t be interested, but those seeking a mid-sized electric SUV with some soul should find the Mach-E appealing.
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