Ford Mustang MACH-E
Not a must, but a may
The Ford Mustang MACH-E breaks with the past on all fronts, including the shape of the bodywork. This is because the MACH-E is not a coupé or convertible, but an SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle). This was done for the sake of space and to accommodate the necessary batteries.
Despite the fact that the new Mustang has completely different proportions from the historic models, the genes are clearly preserved in the MACH-E. The recognisable silhouette with an elongated bonnet, muscular thighs and a slender passenger compartment can also be found in this SUV. One thing, however, the designers forgot: the Mustang is a dream car in America, not in Europe. Therefore, the test car attracted no attention at all. Even at the quick charger, where people like to chat while waiting, the only reaction was: "is that one of those new Chinese SUVs?". Perhaps a Ford logo makes more sense in Europe?
There are two clear movements within electric cars. The first consists of electric cars that want to look as much like conventional cars as possible to lower the barrier to electric driving. The Mustang MACH-E overwhelmingly belongs to the second kind: cars that want to innovate. That starts with door handles that consist of a recessed button on the window frame plus a small bracket to grip the door. This is cheaper than a completely recessed door handle and is almost as effective in reducing drag (less driving noise, more efficiency). However: in practice, the door handles on the left are only comfortable for right-handers and those on the right are only comfortable for left-handers. To unlock the car, the key, mobile phone or a numerical code can also be used.
Space and equipment
Two "bumps" on the dashboard are the main reference to the original Mustang. These are merely a hint to the original, as otherwise progressive technology is at the heart of the MACH-E. Moreover, the number of buttons is minimal as most functions are controlled through the large, upright and centrally positioned 15.5-inch metering display that is overtly "inspired" by the Tesla Model Y.
This set-up is the future as far as Autozine is concerned. The large display is quicker to read while driving and easier to operate than a small screen. The MACH-E has its own Internet connection, allowing the software to be updated without visiting the dealer. However, the first version of the software in the test car has little to criticise. The functions are logically arranged and thanks to a lot of settings, the MACH-E can be customised in detail to individual needs.
The equipment is complete and modern, but no richer or more advanced than that of other cars in this price range. A special mention goes to the audio system. Not only is the sound rich and clear, but an outstanding soundstage (distribution across the room) makes it a joy to listen to. Ford has made preparations to allow the Mustang MACH-E to drive fully autonomously in the future. Right now, however, the electronics can only assist the driver and it does so coyly and almost imperceptibly.
To give the Mustang MACH-E a sporty character, the seat is slightly less high than in the average SUV. Both front and rear, this Mustang SUV offers plenty of head and legroom, making it very much more practical than the models of yesteryear. Besides the standard luggage space behind the rear seats, a second luggage compartment can be found under the front hatch. However, due to a bulkhead in this second luggage compartment, it is not suitable for bags or suitcases. On the contrary, a drain makes the front storage space more suitable for wet clothes, for example.
The classic Ford Mustang seduces with a big, simple engine that produces a lot of power and even more sound. The new generation of the Mustang does not compromise when it comes to power. The mid-strong version driven here is good for 338 hp / 581 Nm. And instead of the engine having to rev first, that power is immediately available, making the Mustang MACH-E convincing from the first metre as the Mustang of the future.
Depending on the settings chosen, the MACH-E responds to the accelerator with restraint and good-naturedness or, on the contrary, with eagerness and viciousness. While some electric cars try to imitate the character of an internal combustion engine, the Mustang MACH-E actually showcases the qualities of an electric car. In doing so, the MACH-E gives an "invincible" feeling that is characteristic of many electric cars. The absence of engine noise is not a disadvantage, but actually adds to the feeling of superiority. Compare this to winning a fight with one hand on the back.
If desired, driving can be done with one pedal. On releasing the accelerator, the MACH-E then decellerates so strongly that the brake pedal is only needed in emergencies. However: in most other cars, the degree of decelleration is determined by the speed at which the accelerator is released (abrupt release = more braking). With the MACH-E, the reaction is always the same. Consequently, driving with one pedal gets used faster, but the car feels much heavier because even gentle release results in immediate braking.
The Mustang MACH-E comes with either a 75 or 98-kWh battery. The test car was fitted with the latter, which, according to Ford, would allow it to travel 540 km (WLTP) under ideal conditions. However, the test drive took place in severe frosty conditions, effectively allowing just under 400 km to be covered. Charging can be done from home socket, at a public charging point (11.5 kW) and at a fast charger (150 kW). The Mustang MACH-E cannot preheat the battery to achieve the promised charging speeds even in the cold. At -10 degrees Celsius, it charged at only 40 kW. During charging, disappointingly little progress information is shown on the displays. Charging can be monitored remotely via the "Ford Pass" app and this works without any problems in practice.
Characteristic of every Ford is a unique combination of sportiness and comfort. For the MACH-E, engineers used that same expertise in a very different way. Electric cars feel heavy because of the high weight of the batteries. In contrast, the Mustang MACH-E hardly feels heavier than a similar car with only a petrol engine. The steering is precise and the faster it goes, the more nimble this 2.2-tonne SUV feels!
The way the performance is done, the small steering wheel, the direct steering and, of course, the tuning of the chassis make the Mustang MACH-E stand out from other electric cars. At the same time, the MACH-E goes beyond conventional cars by combining dynamics with the low centre of gravity of an electric car.
Does the Ford Mustang MACH-E convert electric has to drive into electric want to drive? Yes, without a doubt. However, some things do take getting used to. Even after a week of driving, it remains strange that the new Mustang is an SUV. However, that is what the general public is asking for. Moreover, it makes this fun car much more suitable for the family.
The Mustang MACH-E convinces by opting for innovation. This relates to the controls (large central display), the many settings to customise the car to a variety of requirements and access via an app on the smartphone.
The real power, of course, is in the driving characteristics. The MACH-E is superior to an internal combustion engine car when it comes to performance, comfort and stability. The cost per kilometre is much lower, while the range is ample for carefree travel (540 km in theory, 400 km in practice in winter). With handling, Ford goes a step further than other electric cars. The Mustang MACH-E feels barely heavier than a conventional car and is therefore at least as dynamic. Despite its tall build, the low centre of gravity ensures that the MACH-E is even at an advantage. Thus, Ford ensures that electric driving is not a must, but a may.
- Large range
- Dynamic handling
- Excellent performance
- Slumsy door handles
- Awkward and dangerous location charge plug
- Battery cannot pre-heat to quick charge at low temperatures