17.3.2020Ford Mustang Mach-E passenger ride review
Ford has launched the all-electric Mustang Mach-E to the public in Europe. The forthcoming EV headlines Ford's Go Electric event, which is set to go on tour across the UK and the continent over the coming few months. NGC was invited along to see what electric models Ford is bringing to market, and have a passenger ride in the new Mustang Mach-E.
What is the Ford Mustang Mach-E?
Ford's Mustang Mach-E is a badge that divides opinion - but that was always to be expected by the company. What it does is take the company's most iconic name and relaunch it for a new era. It all sounds rather like marketing spiel, but you can see what Ford has done and why it's done it.
Mainly, the Mustang Mach-E comes with links to a heritage that no other EV can even come close to dreaming of. Whether that's a good thing or not will be up to the buyers to decide, but Ford says it has extremely healthy order books, and the Mustang Mach-E is expected to sell well.
For those that hate the idea, fear not, Ford is continuing production of the 'proper' Mustang. I suspect that few reading this piece are died in the wool fans of the Pony car however, and this new Mustang Mach-E has piqued your interest.
Ford Mustang Mach-E design
Having attended the car's launch event in Oslo in November last year, we have already had the chance to take a look around the Ford's styling inside and out. It's a nice piece of design all told; not completely coherent, but the Mustang elements have been fairly successfully translated to the coupe-SUV shape.
The lights - particularly those at the rear - are key elements, but also some of the easiest to convert to the Mach-E model. Look at the lines and creases though and you can see there is more than a hint of 'Stang to the Mach-E. The best piece of styling trickery is the black roof panel at the rear, which allows for a sharply sloping roofline for aesthetic considerations, but means interior space isn't compromised.
I said it in Norway, and this latest chance to get up close to the Ford has confirmed initial impressions - the Mustang Mach-E is very like the Jaguar I-Pace in concept. Both look like athletic SUVs, but are not in fact particularly large or bulky. Equally, despite a relatively compact footprint, there is plenty of space inside for occupants and luggage. It's a tricky balancing act to get right, but Ford has joined Jaguar in the sporty electric SUV stakes.
The interior is a huge step up for Ford, with a leap forward in infotainment systems to a large portrait screen, though with a bezel set low down within the screen for a crucial manual control - they're easier to use on the move. Build quality can't be commented on, particularly in the passenger ride car which was a prototype. In terms of design, there's nothing particularly outstanding, but the Mustang Mach-E is certainly more interesting and stylish than your common or garden Ford.
Ford Mustang Mach-E ride
As passenger rides go, this report is going to be fairly limited. The plan was to head from Portland Place, not far from Oxford Circus in central London, to Marble Arch - which for those not in the know is at the end of Oxford Street in central London. It was about a mile long all told, and a shining example of just how congested London's streets can get.
As such, there is little to report on the run on public roads. Driving us was one of Ford's vehicle development supremos, leading a team that is well versed in creating some of the best handling cars in their classes. This particular element of the Mustang Mach-E wasn't tested, but at least we can report that the ride is good.
It's relatively stiff, but with enough about it to prevent the Mustang Mach-E from being uncomfortable. It was described as being akin to an ST Line model in the Ford range; sporty, but not overly so. It needs to have at least a hint of dynamic driving capability to warrant the Mustang name, and Ford's engineers look - albeit at a glance - to have done a good job here.
Away from the roads, we were taken down to an underground car park beneath Marble Arch and Hyde Park. Here an avenue had been coned off for use by Ford's drivers to complete a full-bore launch and a bit of a slalom run on the return. Again, distances are short, but the Mustang Mach-E seemed to perform well. The little body roll created was kept well in check, and the Mustang Mach-E picks up as you would expect an EV to. It's quick, though not face-resculpting-Tesla-Performance-quick.
More practical elements we can report on is that space in the rear is good even when the Ford is fitted with four averagely-sized adults. The fit and finish felt good on static display cars, but the small buttons and the hook on the front doors that qualifies as a handle saw a number of journalists - me included - look askance. They might look like an advanced idea and improve aerodynamics, but use in day-to-day life may prove trickier when you have your hands full.
Ford Mustang Mach-E stats
Figures associate with the Mustang Mach-E show Ford is serious about its new EV. The line-up starts with a rear-wheel drive model available with either 75.7 kWh Standard Range battery or 98.8 kWh Extended Range pack. Sub-eight second 0-62 mph times are targeted, as are ranges of 280 miles or 373 miles respectively. Both develop 190 kW (258 hp) and 415 Nm of torque.
All-wheel drive models are also available with a motor on each axle, again fitted with either Standard Range or Extended Range batteries. Expected range is down to 261 miles and 336 miles respectively, but the traditional sprint is likely to be completed in under seven seconds.
Standard Range models get the same power figures as RWD models, but Extended Range sees that upped to 248 kW (337 hp) and 565 Nm of torque. The First Edition model is available in AWD ER configuration only, and has picked up the majority of pre-orders from customers.
Finally, Ford will introduce a GT performance model in the middle of 2021, which will also be AWD ER in configuration, but sees power boosted further to 342 kW (465 hp) and 830 Nm of torque for a targeted 0-62 mph time of under five seconds. All models come with ultra-rapid charging capabilities through a Type 2 CCS inlet; the Extended Range models at up to 150 kW and the Standard Range at up to 115 kW.
Ford Mustang Mach-E pricing
The figures are certainly on a par or better than those available from rivals, so the key issues for Ford are over how it drives, how it feels like inside, whether there's enough space, and how well designed it is. On all points, currently we can say the Mustang Mach-E looks to score strongly, and it sits in a space in the market that only Tesla currently occupies.
Where there are plenty of EV options in mainstream and premium markets, there's little in the middle-ground - we'll refer to it as executive to differentiate it from high-end models. You can get 300 mile EVs for around ￡30-￡35,000 from the likes of Hyundai and Kia, and you can get similar or longer ranges from luxurious brands such as Jaguar, Audi, and Mercedes.
However, this last batch tend to start at around the ￡60,000 mark, and it is only Tesla that currently fills that gap between around ￡40-￡60,000 with its Model 3, depending on configuration. The Mustang Mach-E's prices are yet to be fully signed off, but expectations on Ford's website put the Mustang squarely in that bracket.
Ford Mustang Mach-E verdict
We shall have to wait and see a little longer whether the Mustang Mach-E has what it takes to succeed in the market, but it looks like it's got the stats to compete strongly, and the feeling from the passenger ride only backs that up. The hardware - suspension, batteries, motors etc - are all signed off for European markets, but the electric variables - steering weight etc - still have a couple of months' fine tuning to be completed.
Ford's shaking up its ethos with the new EV, as the Mustang Mach-E feels like a real departure from anything else it's done before. Well done to Ford then that it's making all the right noises to indicate it's embracing this new challenge, and the Mustang Mach-E may well prove to be a brilliant re-imagining of one of the most famous car badges around. We'll have to wait until later this year to get behind the wheel and see if it succeeds.