From £41,330
Does our new arrival deliver on the promise of Mustang-calibre electric propulsion?

Why we’re running it: To see if an electric SUV is worthy of the Mustang name and, more importantly, if it augurs positively for Ford’s future

Month 2Month 1 - Specs

Life with a Ford Mustang Mach-E: Month 2

Charging happy - 27 July 

London to Norwich and back, over about 320 miles. I worried right up until I learned of Gridserve’s new facility in the region, with 36 charging points, 22 capable of charging at 350kW – far in excess of the Ford’s 107kW maximum. I stopped, went to Costa, checked a few things on the (free) internet and returned to find the car full again. Amazing. 

Mileage: 12,786

Are you sitting comfortably? We’re most definitely not - 13 July

Let me just get this out of the way so I can write about other things until I have to say goodbye: the Ford Mustang Mach-E’s ride is verging on terrible, to the point that it makes the car unpleasant to live with.

For a while, I thought it was the wrong side of that critical line, but with experience and by adjusting the settings, I’ve found a happier place.

The problem stems from a brittle set-up that I suspect was engineered in an effort to make a big SUV live up to the Mustang name. I’m not sure a Ford in my life time has been sold with so little suspension sophistication.

And while the firmness does lend it a pseudo-sporty edge, I soon get fed up with my head playing Buckaroo on a motorway run or dealing with the constant undamped pitter-patter of driving down an uneven road. Part of the answer is selecting the Whisper driving mode.

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The suspension doesn’t adjust on the standard Mach-E (it does on the GT, which warrants its own entry in the book of terrible Ford set-ups), but this setting dampens the sharpness of the steering and throttle, and the result is that when the car bounces and thuds, your resultant movements don’t exaggerate the impacts.

I suspect, too, that familiarity will ease the issue. It may be a completely unscientific theory, but I do believe that over time you subconsciously start compensating for a car’s quirks, bracing your body a bit more against wobbles, and changing your seating and steering position.

I’ve done a few thousand miles in the Mach-E now, and the roads that once left me wondering what had gone wrong are now traversed in relative anonymity. Rightly or wrongly, I can at least say that I’ve come to terms with this undoubted shortcoming, which is how I would explain why there appear to be many, presumably happy, Mach-E drivers on our roads.

The pity is that Ford went this way in the first place. Yes, it would have left it open to accusations of being like everyone else if it had copied the generally softer, lazier weightings of most of the opposition, but these traits suit the laid-back karma of driving an EV.

The Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 have nailed it, their supremacy so clear that they are providing a halo effect for all future electrified products from the Korean brands. In contrast, good though the Mach-E may be, these shortfalls mean questions about Ford’s electrified future remain. 

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Love it 

Large print

The giant touchscreen looks like a gimmick, but its scale and font sizes suit my middle-aged eyes.

Loathe it

Get a grip

Swapping door handles for push buttons seems like a solution to a problem that didn’t exist

Mileage: 12,087

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Fun in the sun - 6 July 

Hello, sunshine. In the depths of winter, when the Mach-E’s heated seats and air-con were on a lot, I was struggling to get an indicated 200 miles of range from it after a full charge. Now, with the ambient temperature closer to 25deg C for a few days, it’s closer to 270 miles. That makes a huge difference to where I would consider using it. 

Mileage: 10,798

Life with a Ford Mustang Mach-E: Month 1

Welcoming the Mach-E to the fleet - 22 June 2022

It’s a sign of the times that running this Ford Mustang electric SUV has elicited as many questions, queries and coos of intrigue as had it been a coupé powered by a V8.

That in itself answered one doubt I had before I had driven anywhere. Purists may despair, but it seems the vast majority of modern motorists subscribe to the belief that the ’Stang moniker exists to intrigue, excite and push boundaries rather than sit solely on a fuel-guzzling muscle car (prior, presumably, to becoming extinct in fairly short order).

That’s a relief for me (and, of course, Ford), because it could easily be a distraction from what is, on paper at least, one of the most innovative and important new Fords in a generation, and to all intents and purposes the brand’s first proper electric car.

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Coming late to the electric party, as Ford is, this is also a car with which it needs to land a Fiesta, Mondeo or Focus-like sucker punch. Should the Mustang Mach-E slide into the depths of automotive purgatory alongside the Ecosport, B-Max or second-generation Ka, it won’t threaten just the Mustang name but potentially Ford itself, such is the importance of establishing itself as a key player in EV market.

The good news is that reaction has so far been good, from our own four-star road test verdict through to impressive sales figures around the world. In perception terms, at least, Ford is now considered – just about – on the pace when it comes to EVs.

With respect to both, however, after more than 1500 miles at the wheel of this already well-run-in Mach-E (it arrived with 8000 miles on the clock), I already have a strong sense that this is a car that will reveal its characteristics – both good and bad – over a prolonged period.

One that I will highlight straight away, as I believe most drivers will notice similar in a short space of time, however, is the ride quality. I’ve seen it described by one overenthusiastic commentator as “beautiful”, but I simply can’t concur. In anything other than its mildest setting, 

it’s everything from unsettled to downright uncomfortable. Bumps and thumps nag away at your neck and torso to the point that even my passengers brought it up and I started to wonder if I could live with it.

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Switching to the so-called Whisper setting has brought respite, however. It’s still far from perfect (and that in itself is a sad phrase for me to write, given Ford’s reputation for ride and handling superpowers), but it’s on the decent side of manageable, if still far, far from beautiful on any road of any type that I’ve put it down. Maybe that moment of enlightenment will arrive at some point, but I doubt it.

My time with the Mach-E will shine a broader light on the challenges of running an EV in the UK today. Believe all the headlines and you will think that I’m in for a miserable old time seeking out working chargers, fast enough chargers and more. The truth is that so far, even on my longest journeys, I’ve not had a single problem.

Adding a touch of jeopardy to that statement is the fact that we have opted for the Standard Range model, rather than the Extended Range one that offers 379 miles of official range, which tops Tesla’s best, and has set a string of headline- grabbing records including an efficiency rating that equated in the real world to about 500 miles of range if driven especially carefully.

That means I have an official 273 miles of range available, which equated to around 180 real miles when it was really cold and wet but, following the first serious signs of summer, is now closer to 225 miles. 

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A worry? As I say, not yet: with driveway charging overnight on hand, so far it has been more than enough for 90% of my journeys without ever having to stop; and enough for all of my journeys with an increasingly easy- to-find rapid charge.

One of those typically adds 100 miles in 20-30 minutes, depending on the charging rate, both from the charger and as a consequence of the charge state and condition of the car’s battery.

Given that this decision to stick with the Standard Range model has also saved an estimated £15,000 (a price that includes upgrades beyond just battery size, it should be noted), I’m comfortable for now that it was the right one. Regular long-distance drivers might think differently.

All of which sets me up for an intriguing few months. Like almost every (perhaps every) electric car on sale today, the Mustang Mach-E isn’t perfect. What we need to decide is whether it both goes far enough to be a credible family SUV and demonstrates enough glimpses of what Ford might achieve in future to justify its ongoing place at the top table of mainstream car makers.

Second Opinion

I'm not precious about the redeployment of historic model names, but I do wonder if the Mach-E is special enough to look at or drive to deserve association with the ’Stang. Maybe it’s just the anonymous specification of our long-termer, but the sense of occasion quickly dissipated once I was behind the wheel, to the point that comparisons with the Volkswagen ID 4 are inevitable. Let’s hope Jim can find a fun side to it. 

Felix Page

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Ford Mustang Mach- E specification

Specs: Price New £42,530 Price as tested £42,530 Options None

Test Data: Engine AC synchronous, permanent magnet electric motor Power 269bhp Torque 428lb ft Kerb weight 1,993kg Top speed 111mph 0-62mph 6.9sec Economy 2mp/kWh, 273 miles of range Faults None Expenses None

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Comments
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The Apprentice 5 August 2022
Such a pity, the bigger battery LR seemed to be real progress with the potential to eliminate range anxiety for any driver. But from evaluations I have seen it seems to waste it by less that brilliant efficiency. The price premium it adds is incomprehensible.
Then to put it in a poor riding, not so appealing car.... what were they thinking???
xxxx 4 August 2022

I'd get that price right Autocar, Ford are just not cabable of building a family BEV for under 50k, how the mighty have fallen in Europe

manicm 10 July 2022
The standard model does not have adaptive dampers as the writer suggests by means of the driving modes, seems to me he does not have his facts straight.