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One of the most iconic names in the business goes ‘rogue’ with an electric crossover

Just because the dust has settled, and our perceptions allowed time to adjust, we shouldn’t forget the fireball of controversy that engulfed the 2020 launch of this week’s road test subject.

The idea itself was not the issue. Crossovers are now without question the profit-making bedrock of almost every major car maker. And as for the all-electric bit, those same car makers are at dire risk of drowning in fines if they cannot rapidly bring down their average fleet emissions. So an electric crossover is a sensible product to make. And as the world’s fourth-largest car maker, Ford simply had to have one.

Front grille may be entirely closed off, and merely hinted at by an outline, but credit to Ford’s designers, because the overall effect is convincingly sporting and rather elegant. The active lower air intake isn’t quite so effective, mind

The controversy stemmed from the fact that this first bespoke EV for the brand uses the Mustang name.

It hasn’t, as many initially feared, replaced the eight-cylinder Mustang – at least, not yet – but it’s certainly going to trade on that car’s legend. It’s difficult to think of any comparable strategy from another car maker, realised or not. Perhaps if Porsche decided to call the upcoming electric Macan the ‘911 E’? We doubt that would go down too well, either.

Except that, with this Ford, the plan is working. The Mustang Mach-E has generated enormous interest, not only via its impressive on-paper statistics but also through its styling and positioning. It’s not for no reason that so far this year, Ford has built more Mustang Mach-Es at the car’s plant in Mexico than it has ‘proper’ Mustangs in Michigan. In the grand scheme of things, it is a small scalp, but if Ford can reach its EV prediction of four in every 10 cars sold by 2030, it may also prove a meaningful one.

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What we want to find out today is what sort of car the Mach-E really is, away from the controversy of its name. Indeed, is Ford’s first proper EV effort one it can be proud of?

The Mustang Mach-E line-up at a glance

As is typically the case with premium EVs, the Mach-E line-up is layered by the size of the battery and the numbers of motors. Heading the line-up is the AWD Extended Range model, which makes roughly as much power as a Mk3 Focus RS and delivers it to the ground via an electric motor on each axle.

It’s possible to have the Extended Range Mach-E solely in rear-drive guise (like our test car), and along with their larger, 99kWh battery pack, these models can rapid charge at up to 150kW. The Standard Range Mach-Es are limited to 115kW, a 76kWh battery pack and less range.

What Car? New car buyer marketplace - Ford Mustang Mach-e

First drives