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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

Ford Mustang Mach-E 2021

What We Bought And Why

by Reese Counts, vehicle test editor

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 337 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): 31.6
EPA rating (kWh 100 miles): 35 combined ( 32 City / 37 Highway )
Best consumption (kWh/100 miles): 31.6
Best range (miles): 327.0
Current odometer: 3,027

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E: Performance

How does the Mach-E perform in the real world?

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

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E : Interior

How's the inside of Ford's EV?

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

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E: Technology

How's the Mustang Mach-E's in-car tech?

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

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E: Utility

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.

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.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E: Miscellaneous

How's the Mustang Mach-E going to perform over time?

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