2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E: What's It Like to Live With?
We're spending more than 20,000 miles with Ford's all-electric SUV
|Odometer||Average Lifetime Electricity Consumption (kWh)|
Latest Highlights (updated 05/02/23)
- We are loving the mega touchscreen display
- Performance doesn't quite live up to the pony badge
- From the screen to the seats, this cabin gives a real sense of luxury
- The rear cargo area really maximizes its smaller footprint
- We're not sure Ford's BlueCruise is all its cracked up to be
What do you want to know about?
What We Bought And Why
• Our test vehicle: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium RWD with extended-range battery
• Base MSRP: $44,995
• MSRP as tested: $53,700
• What we paid: $61,700
Tesla seemingly caught mainstream automakers sleeping, releasing five successful models years before a significant number of automakers started selling their own electric vehicles. Yet despite the delay, it seems like everything is suddenly happening all at once, with all-new models from Hyundai, Kia, Polestar and more all arriving in the past couple of years.
One of our favorite new electrics is the Ford Mustang Mach-E, a stylish and fun-to-drive all-electric SUV that took home the Edmunds Top Rated Luxury EV award for 2021. With that win, it beat out cars from Audi, Porsche, Jaguar, Polestar and Tesla. We've been impressed with every version of the Mach-E that's rolled through our garage, so we decided to purchase one for ourselves to see how it holds up after thousands of miles.
What Did We Get?
The 2021 Mach-E is available in four trim levels: Select, Premium, California Route 1 and the sporty GT model. We ended up purchasing a Mustang Mach-E Premium with a base MSRP of $48,700. We think this is the sweet spot. The GT offers more performance, but we weren't impressed enough with it to warrant the more than $10,000 price jump over the Mach-E Premium and nearly $20,000 gap between it and the Select.
Although Ford offers all-wheel drive, rear-wheel-drive models like this one get better EPA-estimated range. We also opted for the 88-kWh extended-range battery for $5,000. It increases the EPA estimate to 300 miles, a significant amount more than the 230-mile estimate for the standard battery. In Edmunds' real-world EV range testing, we saw a hugely impressive 341 miles of range. The total system output is 290 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque.
The Mach-E Premium comes fairly well equipped, so the only option we added was the larger battery pack. Standard features include LED headlights, a fixed panoramic glass roof, a digital instrument cluster, keyless entry with push-button start, a power liftgate, and a 15.5-inch touchscreen display with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There are plenty of charging options, too, with USB ports in both front and back rows, as well as a wireless charging pad. We also really enjoy the Premium trim's 10-speaker B&O audio system.
Ford includes a whole suite of driver aids and safety features, including adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and a surround-view camera. Ours is also equipped with Ford's new BlueCruise hands-free highway driving mode, though it's limited to certain stretches of highway for now. As with any system like this, BlueCruise requires the driver to fully monitor the car and be ready to take over whenever necessary.
We searched for months to find a rear-wheel-drive Mach-E with the extended-range battery. They are in high demand on dealer lots. We would have waited even longer had we placed our order. Instead we pursued existing dealer stock. There were countless phone calls and texts to various dealers around Southern California, but every time one was available it would get snapped up before we arrived. We eventually nailed down a car when another customer canceled an order. Although the local Ford dealer was asking for $10,000 over MSRP, we were able to knock it down to $8,000. This brought our total to $61,700.
Why Did We Get It?
The Mustang Mach-E was a winner in our hearts from the second it arrived. It is handsome both inside and out, features one of the nicest interiors you'll find on any Ford, and offers excellent all-electric range. The Mach-E is fun and quick, even if raw acceleration isn't what you'll find on something like a Tesla Model Y.
Despite what the name and looks might suggest, this isn't an electrified Ford Mustang but a wholly separate vehicle. There was a bit of a fuss made about Ford desecrating the Mustang name by slapping it on something that doesn't run on gasoline. We think that is a bit overblown given how well the car looks and drives. If it gets people excited about electric vehicles, — especially ones this good — we're all for it.
Ford has a lot riding on the success of the Mach-E. With so many other EVs hitting the market, we just had to see how long the luster on the Mustang Mach-E can shine. How will it hold up over 20,000 miles? Will the range fall off as the battery gets older? How will the stylish interior fare over time? Will our initial warm feelings continue to grow or will we sour on Ford's new flavor? There's so much to talk about, so stay tuned to find out more.
Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E: Real-World Fuel Economy
How's the fuel economy been relative to expectations?
Average lifetime consumption (kWh/100 miles): 33.4
EPA rating (kWh 100 miles): 35 combined ( 32 City / 37 Highway )
Best consumption (kWh/100 miles): 27.3
Best range (miles): 327.0
Current odometer: 11,198
EVs and One-Pedal Driving
"The one-pedal braking in the Mach-E is just about right, though it's a shame you can't dial it in the way you can on the Kia EV6. It's still a mile better than our long-term Volkswagen ID.4, which won't even bring you to a complete stop when activated. It takes some getting used to, like with all one-pedal driving, but the battery saving is worth it and it can help bring you to a smooth stop." — Jake Sundstrom, editorial assistant
"The Mustang Mach-E has a one-pedal driving mode. What's one-pedal driving? Selecting this mode brings about stronger deceleration (through E's regenerative braking) when you lift off the accelerator pedal than if you just otherwise coasted along. If you keep off the accelerator and let the Mach-E come to a stop (like at a stop light), the brakes will hold you in place until you press on the accelerator again.
"Effectively, you rarely have to use the brake pedal because you're just going on and off the accelerator for normal driving. I like the way Ford tuned the Mach-E's system. Its deceleration is strong enough that I rarely have to touch the brake pedal. That actually leads me to the one minor quibble I have: if you do have to press on the brake pedal, the initial application of the regular brakes can be abrupt and grabby. Even with practice it can be hard to smoothly apply stronger braking." - Brent Romans, senior editor, written content
It's got a pony badge, but how engaging is the Mach-E?
"Ford has done a nice job of making the Mach-E feel engaging and fun to drive around turns. I haven't driven our Mach-E much but I've already enjoyed enthusiastically throwing it around a few turns. It's a lot more playful than our long-term Volkswagen ID.4 or a typical front-drive-based EV such as a Nissan Leaf. Too bad the car's eco-minded tires grip the road about as well as politicians stick to their stated positions. Even at modest cornering speeds, the tires start to squeal and howl in protest, which can be a little embarrassing. If this were my Mach-E, I'd consider getting gripper tires, even if that meant a reduction in maximum range." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content
"All right, so it's got a pony badge on the front and squinty headlights that look a little bit like the regular Mustang's. Does our Mach-E accelerate like a gas-powered Mustang? Ehh, sort of. Based on Edmunds' own track testing, 0-60 mph comes up in about 6.5 seconds. That's a lot slower than a V8-powered Mustang, which might do it in the low 4-second range. There's no rock-and-roll soundtrack either. But our Mach-E isn't too far off from a turbocharged four-cylinder Mustang (5.9 seconds). Plus, it's important to note that our 290-hp Mach-E Premium is one of the slowest Mach-Es. Dual-motor versions are considerably quicker. Ultimately, our Mach-E feels properly quick and sporty for an SUV, and that's all I need from a daily runabout EV." — Brent Romans
"This thing's got rear-wheel drive and 290 horsepower. But can it do a burnout to make the regular Mustang proud? Alas, no. I tried by using the typical muscle car method: I turned off the traction control system, pressed the brake and mashed the accelerator pedal. Result: nothing. The Mach-E just sat there. It was as if its computer system was saying to me, 'Ah, haha, I see what you're trying to do here, Brent, and I will have none of it.' " — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content
There's a lot of real estate in that giant screen
I very rarely use the native navigation system in any vehicle when Apple CarPlay is an option, and the Mach-E's wonderful implementation of CarPlay makes it easy to stay in Apple Land. If you prefer to take a break from your phone, the Mach-E native navigation is easy on the eyes, simple to follow and makes great use of the giant screen. I highly recommend it. — Jake Sundstrom, editorial assistant
You know what they say ... bigger is better. And in the case of the Mach-E's touchscreen display, this rings true. The 15.5-inch screen is the size of a laptop and optimizes all of the display space nicely. The icons are large, which made it easy for me to see and find what I was looking for.
However, the system actually lagged quite a bit. I'm not sure if it was due to my location or a system issue, but it is something to note.
Barring the system's slow response at times, the navigation system display was vivid and worked well, and connection to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration was easy. But the best part, to me, was access to SiriusXM Satellite Radio service (I love my Lithium channel). For those who don't have a SiriusXM subscription, you can still access AM/FM radio, which I haven't seen standard in all EVs.
Finally, I was very happy with the wireless smartphone charger. It worked every time I plopped my phone on top (even with a phone cover). I also appreciated the 360-degree cameras, which gave me detailed views of the outside, especially while backing up. And, the lane-assist driver aid wasn't overly sensitive; it vibrated gently when I went off course. — Jodi Tourkow, senior director, written content
"Apple CarPlay has long been a touchy subject when connecting wirelessly — but our Mach-E struggles to connect and display information even when connecting through USB-C. It doesn't matter how big your screen is if there's nothing to see or if the display freezes, lags and generally performs like an iPod Nano dunked in a hot bath." — Jake Sundstrom, Editorial Assistant
This is a typical experience on a sunny, pleasant day in Orange County: the Mach-E sounds like it's having a heat stroke for more than a minute during its "boot up" process. I would understand if this was coming during the throes of a heat wave in the Inland Empire, but it seems like a lot of fan action (faction?) for pretty perfect atmospheric conditions.
What do we think of Ford BlueCruise?
"Here's my hot take on Blue Cruise after testing it out on a long highway drive: meh. Blue Cruise, if you don't know, is Ford's hands-free driver assist system. (Check out our Blue Cruise article if you want to know more on what it does.) Now before I start to complain, I will note that it seems to work well for what it's supposed to do. But I just don't see much value in what it does. What's so great about being able to take my hands off the steering wheel if I still have to be paying attention to the road and be ready to take back control of the Mach-E in a split second's notice? Virtually none as I see it. Maybe one of my coworkers can point out why I'm wrong." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content
"The wireless charging pad for the phone and Apple CarPlay worked perfectly and seamlessly. The sound system was great, and I liked the little startup displays. The main tech feature that I negotiated with was the BlueCruise system. While it would work when my hands were away from the wheel, I never felt comfortable enough to do so. I adjusted speed and distance from vehicles in front of me well enough, but I never quite liked where it chose to be in the lane, particularly on any curves in the road. The car seems to only 'see' so far ahead of it, and doesn't seem to predict upcoming curves. So it would feel like it was turning later and faster/harder than I would like. However, it did make the four-hour round trip much more manageable as long as I kept my hands on the wheel." — David Lucio, post production coordinator
"I've grown to like BlueCruise, the hands-free adaptive cruise control our Mach-E is equipped with. I'm not sure if I'll ever be fully comfortable removing my hands from the wheel of a moving vehicle, but I no longer feel like I have to hover over the wheel — just in case." — Jake Sundstrom, editor
Apple CarPlay has been a mixed bag
"Is it possible that wireless Apple CarPlay just isn't ready for prime time regardless of which vehicle uses it? I took our long-term Volkswagen ID.4 to task recently, in part for inconsistent wireless CarPlay connection.
"I'm experiencing the same thing in the Mustang Mach-E. I've been driving it for about a month now, and I never know what's going to happen with the infotainment system when I jump into the driver's seat. Sometimes wireless AC will fire up within 15 seconds of starting the car. Sometimes only Bluetooth will activate. And sometimes my phone won't automatically connect to either, and I have to open up the phone menu and manually enable wireless AC.
"Why doesn't this infotainment system default to connecting the last used source?" — Cameron Rogers, manager, news
Mach-E hits high marks with its plush seats
As I mentioned earlier, the Mach-E's interior has lots to offer, especially the size of the display screen. But the cabin is also fairly roomy and comfortable. The ventilated seats are actually plush leather that provide a similar level of driving comfort as that of other small luxury SUVs. There is ample legroom in the back and cargo and enough storage space on the doors and in the center console. Heated seats and a heated leather steering wheel are nice additions that come standard on the Premium and GT trims and optional on the Select trim.
However, the interior of our long-term Mach-E is an off-white — Light Space Gray Perforated ActiveX — to be exact. While the light-colored leather can be beneficial in the Southern California climate, I already noticed dirt marks a week into driving the vehicle. So, I’d expect to be cleaning the interior more often than with the black interior option.
What a big screen you have
When you are shorter stature (I'm 5-foot-2), driver seat height, being able to access controls comfortably throughout the cabin and visibility are key. And, the Mach-E delivers.
The front seats offer 6-way adjustments, and I was able to settle into a seating position that allowed for easy visibility over the dashboard. Access to the Mach-E's 15.5-inch central touchscreen felt effortless. Plus, having a large dial to adjust the volume at the bottom of the display is a nice option over having to fumble around on a touchscreen while driving.
Speaking of fumbling, unlike in the Tesla Model Y, the air vents are like those in a standard vehicle. So, you can adjust air flow manually versus the on-average three steps needed to adjust circulation via the display like in another suite of EVs (Yes, it's the little things that matter.). Also, unlike the Tesla Model Y, the Mach-E has a 10.2-inch digital drive cluster that displays range, charge capacity and the odometer in the driver's line of sight. — Jodi Tourkow, senior director, written content
Boy, this Mach-E makes a great first impression. It looks good, has plenty of power and has a quiet interior. I love its physical controls and the fact that you have a screen on the driver's side. That screen also displays navigation directions from Apple CarPlay, I had driven our Tesla Model Y recently and it is a night and day experience. It rattles when going over bumps in the road, the user interface is unintuitive, and there's no Apple CarPlay compatibility. — Ron Montoya, senior consumer advice editor
The Mach-E was extremely comfortable, with nice materials and great build quality. I enjoyed the sound system, and how easily it synced and worked with my phone and Apple CarPlay (it stayed connected unlike the Golf R which would constantly disconnect). The tech inside the car was enjoyable and easy to use, with such standout features as the wireless charging for the phone and the large touch display. While such adjustments like climate control are a little more difficult through the touch display, most things I needed frequently had a physical button which was outstanding. The streamlined interior was excellent as the dash was not cluttered or confusing, and the interior felt very spacious, even without the large sunroof which only enhanced that feeling. The little touches such as the start-up displays and LED lighting in the cabin impressed those I showed the car to, and show Ford's attention to detail in this vehicle. Overall I found the inside of the Mach-E a very pleasant place to be. - David Lucio, post production coordinator
We have mixed feelings on the Mach-E's ride quality
"When the Mach-E first arrived, and its only competition was the Tesla Model Y, I thought it was hugely comfortable. Now that there are more options in the EV market, the Mach-E feels a bit less refined in the ride comfort area. The rear suspension in particular feels a bit underdamped, which leads to a bouncy ride for rear passengers. My wife was riding in the back with our newborn and was pretty unimpressed by the ride, and I don't blame her. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 does a much better job of controlling the motion back there." — Jonathan Elfalan, director, vehicle testing
Our Mach-E's cargo area is roomy and provides decent space for luggage. It has 29 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, so even with a cabin full of people, you have a decent amount of space for cargo. There is also a flexible cargo cover that attaches to the rear hatch and swings up out of the way or can be removed completely. Adding to the Mach-E's cargo capacity are the split rear seats that fold. The front trunk is a bit small but has a drain hole, allowing you to use it as an ice-filled cooler that can be drained later.
Adjustable liftgate heights appeal to all, unless you're lazy
"I think we can agree that hatchbacks (liftgates) are better than trunks. But those with adjustable opening heights are a step better. Our Mach-E power liftgate can be programmed to open to varying heights. This allows shorter users to reach the button and handle easier and it limits the number of times taller users will bonk their heads. Just open the liftgate, manually raise or lower to the desired height, then press and hold the open button until it beeps (directions are in the manual, too). It's easy.
"Let me conclude with a public service announcement: Don't be lazy. I was feeling particularly lazy over the past several days while I drove the Mach-E. That meant I did not take the 30 seconds to adjust the hatch opening height appropriately. I must have deliberately lowered my head to avoid the door 10 times before it happened. And it was the one time I didn't duck enough that inspired me to write this. Not too worry, my head didn't bleed for that long. — Mike Schmidt, senior manager, vehicle testing operations
The cargo cover can be finicky
Mike has been driving the Mach-E for a couple of weeks now and has more to add about the rear cargo area. He noted, "This rear cargo cover is pretty much useless. The material is thin and it attaches poorly.
"One end of the cover has fabric loops that hang from small posts on the hatch door. This couple tends to stick together, unless you drive with the windows down. Then one or both can detach. The other end of the cover has plastic posts that fit into the door using these u-grooves-with-clips. More times than not, I found this pairing to blame for the disconnection. The chance of these separating is also increased if driving with windows down. Or, if it's a breezy day and you're unloading groceries with the hatch open, you guessed it. That can also cause the cover to wiggle loose.
"In hindsight, I understand why the cargo cover was laying flat on the load floor when I first walked out to the car two weeks ago. The previous driver surely had the same experience. I decided to toss an old blanket on my stuff instead. It worked great."
There is plenty of storage space behind the second row seats
During his time with the Mach-E, Mike constantly finds himself using the rear cargo hold and not so much the frunk. "I really appreciate the squared-off shape of the rear cargo area," he starts. "The design really maximizes the usable space. So far, I haven't found a situation where it struggled. Load in a two-week run of groceries, softball gear, folding chairs, or drop a section of the second row seat and slide in a 10x10 EZ-UP. Everything fits."
"I agree with Mike here. The Mach-E's cargo space behind its rear seats doesn't look huge at first glance, but it should be fine for holding a typical haul from a shopping spree or stuff for kids (sports equipment, stroller, etc). The coupe-like sloping roofline does perhaps limit maximum "stack it to the top" space compared to, say, a Honda CR-V's, but overall I'm pretty pleased with what I've been able to fit so far." - Brent Romans, senior editor, written content
What the frunk?!
OK. I must start with what baffled me: You cannot access the Mach-E’s front trunk (frunk) from the key fob or the display screen?! There is a lever on the left side of the foot pedals (similar to the hood opener on a fuel-powered vehicle), but I wouldn’t define that as easy access. You can also access the "Drainable Frunk" from the FordPass app. But you need to install that on your smartphone, and users in Ford online forums have claimed it works inconsistently. Maybe Ford thought adding a drain hole to this small front area (think enough space for a gym bag) so it could be used as a cooler would make up for the difficult accessibility? Now that that is out of the way, the interior storage space leans toward the ample side. The two-tiered center console definitely gives you plenty of options to store personal items under and inside the center cargo area; the console cupholders are ideal for a 20-ounce bottle as well. Rear trunk space is bigger than average. You can easily fit two large suitcases with enough room for other accessories. A removable cargo cover that attaches to the rear hatch and folding split back seats help expand the space the cargo area. Also, you do not get a spare tire with the Mach-E. Instead you can find a tire kit under the back cargo area. The kit consists of a 12-volt air compressor with an attached hose and an integrated bottle of a thick sealant.
We Love That New Car Smell
"I was really excited when I heard we were buying a Mach-E. I'd spent a lot of time in the car so far, and although I'm not super fond of the GT, I think the other models are some of the best EVs in the class. The Mach-E is comfortable on the road and has exceeded its EPA estimates in Edmunds' real-world range testing, so I'm really looking forward to really putting some miles on one. I want to take it on a road trip just to see how easy it is to navigate and travel using public charging networks. Hell, my apartment doesn't have charging, so I'm going to be forced to charge at the office or on a public charger in my neighborhood. Plus, I think it looks pretty cool." — Reese Counts, vehicle test editor
We had some trouble using the included charging cable
"I tried using the 120-volt attachment to charge the Mach-E overnight, but for whatever reason it would not do so. I followed all the instructions in the owner's manual, on the cables themselves, and even watched several YouTube tutorials to no avail. Luckily, I had enough charge to make it back to the office. However, it was closer than I was comfortable with, and if I did need that charge, I would have woken up the next morning and not been able to return the car." - David Lucio, post production coordinator