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Car reviews - Ford - Mustang Mach-E


A two-tonne-plus electric crossover SUV? Doesn’t sound like a Mustang to me…

24 Oct 2023



FORD Australia has finally added the Mustang Mach-E to its showroom ranks, but honestly, this is not really a Mustang in the traditional sense.


The move to brand this electric crossover SUV that weighs more than two tonnes as an off-shoot of the halo muscle car is, well, blurry at best. But hey, marketing is a dark art, and the Mach-E has seen some decent success in other markets.


I just can’t get past the notion that a Mustang, in my experience, is a lively drive, something dramatic and theatrical, with a sonorous V8 soundtrack and brutish behaviour – a hedonistic happy machine that is about the driver, not their passengers or luggage.


Now that is out of the way, the Mach-E is actually a pretty convincing family electric SUV, for those who want that.


It competes against the likes of the Kia EV6, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Tesla Model Y and others in that midsize electric range, and the Mach-E comes in three different spec levels, each of which is differentiated by slight styling tweaks around the grille and bumpers, and the interior trim finishes vary across the lines, too.


The entry-grade Select, at $79,990 plus on-road costs, has a 72kWh LFP battery pack offering 470km of WLTP rated EV driving range, and a single electric motor with 198kW/430Nm.


The mid-spec Premium is $91,665 +ORC, and has a larger-capacity (but lighter) 91kWh NMC battery, with a claimed 600km WLTP range, and just like the base model, it is rear-wheel drive but has a bit more power (216kW/430Nm).


The range-topping GT model is the most popular version according to Ford’s pre-order books, but at $107,665 +ORC, it is pushing the price envelope compared to go-fast versions of the Kia EV6 GT ($99,900 +ORC) and Tesla Model Y Performance Dual Motor ($98,855 +ORC).


It has the same 91kWh battery, but dual motors that produce a maximum combined output of 358kW and 830Nm.


All three variants have a maximum AC charge rate of 10.5kW (three-phase required), while the DC charging rate is 150kW, meaning a 10 - 80 per cent fast charge for the smaller-battery model is estimated at 32 minutes, and the larger-battery versions should take 45 minutes.


The entire range comes with strong standard equipment on offer, including LED lighting, alloy wheels (though the base grade has aero wheel covers), a 15.5-inch touchscreen media system with sat nav and wired/wireless smartphone mirroring tech, a 10.2-inch slimline digital instrument cluster, electric seat adjustment, heated seats and steering wheel, and multiple drive modes (Active, Whisper and Untame, as well as Untame Plus in the GT) and an array of active safety technology.


Indeed, Mach-E meets family needs with a five-star ANCAP rating from 2022, and inclusions such as autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian, cyclist and junction detection, lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a self-parking system, surround-view camera, and surround parking sensors, too. There are ISOFIX child-seat anchors in the rear window-seats, and three top-tether points as well.


The interior design will take some acclimation for new EV owners, with the prominent portrait-style media screen offering a steep learning curve. Thankfully it has a fixed ‘panel’ at the bottom of the screen for climate controls, and there is a control wheel that space and offers a tactile adjustment for some controls, too. 


Space is generous, and there is a lot of loose item storage on offer as well, meaning that family-car customers will be able to fit all the cups, bottles, treats and oddities for road trips. Second-row space is accommodating for adults, and while the boot capacity isn’t enormous at 402 litres, there is a large ‘frunk’ under the bonnet, adding a further 134 litres – handy for cables or loose items.


There is a tyre repair kit in all grades.


The Mustang Mach-E is covered by Ford’s five-year/unlimited-kilometre new car warranty, with the battery warranty extending to eight years/160,000km with a 70 per cent capacity guarantee. 


The Mach-E has shorter service intervals than many other EV rivals, though, at 12 months/15,000km, but at least they are capped at a reasonable rate (averaging $150 per service).


Driving impressions


No, it does not drive with the machismo and mania that a ‘real’ Mustang does, but it is still a pretty sweet medium-sized family SUV.


The highlights are the effortlessness of the power delivery, which is a hallmark of EVs like this, and the steering tune Ford has given the Mach-E.


The GT’s acceleration is, ahem, electric. It really does zing when you punch the throttle, but it also has a slightly more potent feeling to the way it handles than some others, with more sharpness and a slightly more unrelenting driving manner for the enthusiasts out there.


And those craving a bit of the spectacle expected of a Mustang-badged model might be impressed by the fake ‘exhaust’ style noise piped through the stereo system, which gets louder in the Untame sports drive mode. Or not.


Even the lower-grade models feel better than adequate in terms of refined performance and acceleration, and there is also a single-pedal driving mode that can allow you to use the regenerative braking system to its full advantage when slowing the car to a stop without even touching the brake pedal.


The lowlight of this car is a busy, at times unpleasant ride, with the lower-grade models in particular feeling terse and rigid to the point of annoyance, even on reasonably well-maintained roads. The suspension setup we get in Australia is the less-firm “Irish” tune, according to Ford Australia, so thank goodness we don’t get the harder US setup.


At least the Mach-E GT model with its MagneRide adaptive suspension is a bit more forgiving, with the brand stating that the dampers can adjust at up to 1000 times per second to help iron out bad bits of road. Annoyingly, though, it isn’t adjustable suspension damping, so it’s still quite hard riding.


On balance, it’s a credible alternative to the Model Y and EV6, but on first impressions is perhaps not as well-rounded or compelling as either of those EV SUVs.

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