The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E may just be one of the most controversial vehicles to debut within the last two years. It takes a legendary nameplate and puts it on an electric compact crossover that you can get in RWD or AWD configurations. Cries of blasphemy from enthusiasts echoed far and wide because this seemed so sacrilegious. Look closer and you’ll realize that this car is more than just a move to get the most out of the Mustang name. During our time behind the wheel of a rear-drive Mach-E California Route 1 Edition, we found a fun, multitalented crossover.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E RWD Long Range exterior
Think of the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E as a wagon or hatchback with a raised seating position. It’s a crossover that leans closer to the car side, especially when you consider its 5.3 to 5.7 inches of ground clearance. The design cues that make it a Mustang are instantly recognizable from the cool sequential LED taillights to the narrow LED headlight clusters. To help it slip through the air better, the Mach-E has a cab-rearward profile. Its rear window isn’t upright, resulting in a wedgelike silhouette. The enclosed grille with a body-colored insert and pony logo completes the familiar yet futuristic look. The California Route 1 Edition gets black 18-inch wheels that have been optimized to improve the crossover’s wind-cheating capabilities.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E RWD Long Range interior
Moving inside, you’ll find that the Mach-E makes good use of the available space. Five people fit comfortably thanks to abundant head, leg, and foot room. There’s a flat floor in both rows, adding to the sense of spaciousness you get when you’re in the vehicle. Additionally, the center console has nifty storage solutions for extra flexibility. The rear window, however, eats into cargo capacity when all seats are up, preventing you from stacking your belongings. A small area underneath the cargo floor adds additional space, and you also get a flat floor when the second row is folded. There’s also a front trunk that can double as a cooler thanks to a built-in drain plug. You can get a power liftgate on all but the range-focused California Route 1 Edition.
In terms of seat comfort, the front seats are nice and cushy. They provide good levels of support without being too stiff. The side bolsters to hold you well in place and can easily accommodate adults with larger frames. You can get heated front seats and a heated steering wheel on all trims except the California Route 1 Edition. The manual front passenger seat only has four-way adjustability instead of the available six- or eight-way on the Select, Premium, and GT models, the latter of which is power operated. If you’re relegated to the back, fear not because the bench is equally soft, you just don’t get the added side bolstering of those in front.
You won’t mistake the Mach-E for a luxury vehicle because its fit and finish land squarely in the mainstream. At least Ford did a good job covering touchpoints with padding or soft injection molded plastics. There are also attempts to spruce up the cabin because the volume knob and rotary shifter have a nice knurled finish. You will find hard plastics but most of them are kept out of your reach. Noise levels are also kept to a minimum with only the slightest hint of wind buffeting on the highway. Tire road and road noise are also minimal.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E RWD Long Range tech features
Ford’s Sync 4A interface made its first appearance in the Mach-E and it features a massive 15.5-inch portrait-style touch screen. Despite it having a different layout from the other versions of Sync, it’s still user-friendly. The layout is logical with shortcuts to main menus on the top, built-in navigation maps, Android Auto or Apple CarPlay in the middle, a slider for another set of shortcuts in the lower middle section, and climate controls at the very bottom. There aren’t many submenus either; select something and it pops up as a window that you can quickly close. Responses to your inputs are quick, adding to the system’s ease of use.
The standard six-speaker audio system is respectable. It offers good levels of clarity and you don’t need to turn it up high. If you’re an audiophile, though, get the 10-speaker B&O Play audio system, which is clearer and crisper. However, it’s only available on the Premium and GT models.
Every Mach-E gets the usual suite of driver assistance and collision prevention features. That includes front and rear collision warning, front and rear automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane departure warning. Adaptive cruise control, evasive steering assist, lane centering, traffic jam assist, and intersection assist are also standard, rounding out the CoPilot360 suite.
In execution, CoPilot360 seamlessly keeps your set distance and reacts proactively to changing traffic conditions. The system will also slow down if it detects a vehicle entering the lane you’re in, even if it suddenly cuts you off. Its lane-centering component doesn’t bounce the vehicle between the lane lines and does a great job of helping you complete gentle turns. Where the system could use improvement is in low-speed driving with adaptive cruise control active because its acceleration and braking inputs can be jerky especially in heavy traffic.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E RWD Long Range driving impressions
Driving the Mustang Mach-E is a revelation because it has a clear sporting edge, evoking the performance roots laid down by its two-door sibling. Our rear-drive California Route 1 Edition makes 290 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque from its electric motor, which is backed by an 88-kWh battery. The result is quick acceleration thanks to lots of usable power; getting up to highway speeds, climbing steep grades, and passing slow traffic are effortless thanks to the Mach-E’s instant torque delivery.
The sporty suspension further highlights the Mach-E’s performance capabilities. It carves corners confidently and will happily string one after the other. Eager turn-ins and a low center of gravity contribute to the Mach-E’s athletic character. Well-controlled body motions help it drive more like a traditional car instead of a high-riding crossover. There are no signs of top-heaviness even when you start to push the Mach-E. Quick, responsive, and well-weighted steering lets you know what the front wheels are doing while making the car easy to maneuver in tight spaces.
You don’t sacrifice compliance in favor of sportiness because the Mach-E’s chassis is nicely balanced. Yes, it’s on the firm side but it’s neither stiff nor harsh. You know you’re going over a poorly maintained road but you and your occupants barely feel anything. The suspension and 18-inch alloy wheels shod in tires with generous sidewalls do a fantastic job absorbing imperfections. You’re not getting beat up driving over potholes, ruts, expansion joints, and other types of road blemishes.
In rear-drive form, the Mach-E is a playful dance partner that’s willing to slide around when you induce it. The instant power delivery overdrives the rear wheels, enabling the crossover to rotate. Its narrow, eco-focused tires don’t provide much grip, further helping the back end to break off. However, that’s also the reason why the Mach-E can become a handful because there’s not enough rubber meeting the road and they can’t cash what the suspension and powertrain can.
Like every electrified vehicle, the Mach-E has regenerative braking, enabling it to recuperate energy when slowing down. This also gives it one-pedal driving capability, enabling you to come to a full stop by easing off the accelerator. Should you need to use the crossover’s full stopping power, transitions from regenerative to friction braking are seamless; it’s impossible to tell where the handoffs occur even during emergency stops. You can also turn off the one-pedal driving function via the main display, allowing you to drive the Mach-E like a conventional vehicle.
With the standard range battery, the Mach-E has a peak charging speed of 115 kW. Variants with the extended range battery like our rear-drive California Route 1 Edition charge at peak rates of 150 kW. On a DC charger, the Mach-E can go from 10 to 80 percent in around 45 minutes or gain 59 miles in 10 minutes. A level 2 AC charger or 240-volt outlet will get you a full charge in 10.9 hours thanks to its 10.5-kW onboard charger.
According to the EPA, the RWD California Route 1 Edition has the longest range at 305 miles per charge. Single-motor Premium models are rated at 300 miles while dual-motor models with the extended range battery. The dual-motor, extended-range model is good for 270 miles. For 2022, the California Route 1 Edition will be available in the dual-motor configuration and is good for 300 miles per charge. Like other dual-motor Mach-Es with the extended range battery, it makes 346 hp and 428 lb-ft.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E RWD Long Range pricing
The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E starts at $43,995 for a single-motor version with the standard range battery. Opting for the extended range battery will cost you an extra $5,000 while the AWD dual-motor configuration tacks on an extra $2,700. Our test car is the RWD California Route 1 Edition, which gets the extended range battery as standard equipment. It costs $51,500 since it’s sold only as a single well-equipped model with no factory options. All Mustang Mach-E models are eligible for the full $7,500 federal tax credit plus local and state incentives.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E RWD Long Range final verdict
Although its form factor caused controversy, there’s no doubt that the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E is a member of the Mustang family. It possesses the fun driving dynamics and the playful character you expect out of a vehicle wearing the iconic pony badge. Think of the Mach-E as a new take on the Mustang formula, one for the crossover-crazed electric age that appeals to more than just the driving enthusiast while still offering lots of thrills.
At a glance
- Year: 2021
- Make: Ford
- Model: Mustang Mach-E
- Trim: California Route 1 Edition RWD
- Type: 4-door compact crossover
- Horsepower: 290
- Torque: 317 lb-ft
- MPGe rating (city/highway/combined): 108/94/101
- Total range: 305 miles
- Pros: Great ride and handling, roomy interior, intuitive multimedia system
- Cons: low-speed following could be smoother, needs wider tires, rear window cuts into the cargo area
- Base price: $43,995
- Price as-tested: $51,500