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Drive The Mustang Mach-E And You Might Change Your Opinion On It

Driving the fun, torquey all-electric crossover Mustang can sway the #NotAMustang movement. EV crossover has many traits that make it Mustang-like including performance, torque and a fun-to-drive attitude. Putting Mustang name on such an important vehicle to Ford Motor Company says a lot.

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I know the photo at the top of this story will upset some people. Trust me. I know. I understand. I’m just waiting for the comments it will bring.

As a Mustang historian (author of the book Mustang by Design) I like to think I have my finger on the pulse of the Mustang community. I have so many friends throughout the country in the Mustang community.

Their passion and enthusiasm is unrivaled. So when Ford decided to put the name Mustang and that beloved, hallowed logo on a crossover, there was outrage. I felt that same outrage. It seemed like lazy marketing or at worse it seemed to water down the cherished, iconic history of the Ford Mustang.

Thus, trying to do something and trying to be the voice of the Mustang community, I started a petition to stop the name. It received a lot of attention and a lot of signatures. In the end, it did nothing to stop Ford from putting the Mustang name on the Mach-E. I do not apologize for starting the petition and fanning the flames of the #NotAMustang movement.

In some ways, the Mustang Mach-E isn’t a Mustang. First off it has four doors and it’s a crossover. In the end, a Mustang by definition of Lee Iacocca himself was not to have four doors. Times definitely change, but looking at the Mustang history through the years it was full of radical change.

Remember when the Mustang II came out? Long, weird looking and certainly starkly different than the first-generation Mustang. The outrage was huge! That is not a Mustang! But it was, and is.

Then the Fox Body came out, drastically changing the Mustang platform. The Fox Body is beloved amongst the Mustang community. Yet I personally think the late 80s and early 90s Foxes are not attractive and those rear taillights are a disgrace to the Mustang heritage. But it’s still, most certainly a Mustang too.

All of that history over six generations and 56 years there’s never been another vehicle as controversial as the Mustang Mach-E. I spent five days driving the Mach-E from a loan from Ford. I’ve written about the one-pedal driving and also about range anxiety as it relates to the Mach-E.

To be 100% clear, I’m under no obligation to Ford or anyone else to take it easy on the Mach-E. So, my review and thoughts here are mine and only mine.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-EIs The Mustang Mach-E Really A Mustang?
Defining what is a Mustang is hard. The car has evolved both aesthetically and mechanically. From a puny “secretary’s car” as it started out and grew to mass appeal eventually adding the more powerful Shelby versions and starting the muscle car era. The evolution continued with the more suped up Fox Body GT vehicles and leading us to the modern era with the awesome GT500.

The wonderous thing about Mustang is the mass appeal. When I wrote Mustang by Design, telling the story of the design of the Mustang through the eyes of the principle designer Gale Halderman, I developed a close bond with Gale. I asked him what a Mustang was. He said when he sketched the drawing that became the original Mustang he thought about that.

And he said, it had to have mass appeal, have sporty lines and be fun to drive. In the end, what was created was an iconic car that covered all of that and more.

So then it begs the question, does the Mustang Mach-E fit that mold? It does fit that mold somewhat, and yet it also breaks the mold too. And you know what? That’s okay. Look how often the Mustang broke the mold and changed and evolved. In the end, the one constant of Mustang is that it’s been able to adapt and change.

And that’s what has kept it around consecutively for 56 years, as the second longest running nameplate in automotive history.

In order to survive, the Mustang, as Ford deemed, needed to evolve. It’s now an electric crossover, yet we still have our beloved muscle car with a V8 and even a new Mach 1 version. So Ford continues to offer the old-school Mustang too and has vowed to create a seventh-generation Mustang too (and not as a crossover).

So, the answer is, can the Mustang community forgive Ford for putting the Mustang name on a crossover? My answer is simple: Drive the Mach-E and you might just forgive Ford. I have forgiven Ford and while I disagree with the decision, having driven the Mustang Mach-E, and even drove it up to my friend Gale’s Museum Barn (where I got the main photo), I see some of Gale’s design still in this crossover and it makes me happy. And it drives like a Mustang too!

Ford Mustang Mach-E tail lights

The taillights of the Mach-E have a resemblance to the same taillights that Gale loved helped design. The Mach-E’s headlights are Mustang-like too. That Mustang emblem with the pony running wild deserves to sit there.

I remember before Gale passed away he saw what would become the Mach-E in clay in Dearborn and told me about it. I asked what he thought about it, he said it looked pretty good and still looked like a Mustang.

So, if it’s good enough for Gale, it’s definitely good enough for me.

Mustang Mach-E drive modes and one-pedal drivingDriving The Mustang Mach-E
I saw a Ford dealer friend of mine egging on Mach-E doubters and challenging them to drive it to see for themselves. He kept saying, Drive It and See. And he is right.

Driving the Mach-E is a memorable and enjoyable experience. Mustangs are fun to drive and the Mach-E is a blast. It would be one of those cars that is always fun to get behind the wheel of and go for a cruise. Who cares that it has no V8 or even a gasoline engine.

The torque is instant and thrilling. As I wrote earlier this week, in addition to the oh-so-fun one-pedal driving there are three modes that add thrills to the Mach-E as well. None more exciting than Unbridled Mode, which pipes in sound to make you hear the torque your body is feeling.

I love the name: Unbridled. It’s like a Mustang running loose. Sure the noise is artificial and piped in, but that’s not much different than adding extra tune to your gas engine anyway. I will admit I miss the visceral appeal and sound of a roaring V8. The times, they are a changing though, so the all-electric motor is the future, like it or not, even if it’s not going to happen as quick as some say it will.

Later this summer into fall, Ford launches the Mach-E GT which will be even faster. If I were to order a Mach-E, I would probably hold out for the GT as I think the current Mach-E, even as fun and torquey as it is, doesn’t feel as fast as the Tesla. And while I’ve not driven a GT, I believe it will be mind-blowing.

2021 Mustang Mach-E 15.5-inch screenMach-E Technology And Interior
The interior of the Mach-E is modern. It does not compare to any other Ford vehicle on the road and more mimics Tesla. The giant 15.5-inch iPad-like touchscreen dominates a clean, simple center stack.

While it might look overwhelming, using Ford’s new Sync 4 system, the screen is responsive and intuitive. It integrates wirelessly with iPhones and Androids and will even charge your phone wirelessly while interacting with it.

This comes in handy when it’s time to find a charging spot as both your phone and the Mach-E work together to plan a charging location, through the FordPass app. The technology in the Mach-E might overwhelm some, but I love new car technology and can’t sing the praises enough of the interior of the Mach-E.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E legroom

The back seat is small, but had enough legroom to be comfortable for two adults in the back seat. The headroom is outstanding and features an all-glass roof (which is stationary and doesn’t open).

With the crossover and almost hatchback-like back area there’s 29.7 cubic feet of rear storage, which is impressive for a battery-powered vehicle. The rear seats fold flat allowing for 59.7 cubic feet of overall space. The front trunk or frunk is more gimmicky than useful with only 4.8 cubic feet of space. But it’s fun to say frunk, at least.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Frunk2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E price
My tester was the Premium trim with the all-wheel drive and extended battery range. The exterior color was Iconic Silver Metallic.

MSRP, according to Ford was $49,700 and the price as equipped was $55,800.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Jimmy DinsmoreFinal Verdict
I might get ostracized from the Mustang community for backing off my #NotAMustang stance. I am not apologizing for taking either stance, nor am I talking out of both sides of my mouth when I say, I get both sides of this argument.

The Mustang logo is full of memories and heritage and Americana. Everyone has a Mustang story. Many have owned one. So blowing up the foundation of that heritage in such a revolutionary seemed arrogant to many, myself included. But Ford is in the money-making business, and using the Mustang name to promote one heck of a great vehicle only shows how much they actually respect and appreciate the Mustang nameplate.

The Mach-E represents a historic vehicle for Ford. How cool is it that such an important, keystone vehicle for Ford happens to have the Mustang name? Once again Mustang is part of automotive history. Think of it this way, Ford didn’t call it the Escape EV or something like that. No, they honored this revolutionary, amazing electric vehicle by putting their most cherished name on it.

Let me know your thoughts on this review and the Mach-E in general, whether you agree with me or not. And if you haven’t checked out my colleague John Goreham’s outstanding comparison between the Mach-E and the Tesla Model Y, check it out here.

Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.

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Mark (not verified)    March 27, 2021 - 1:22AM

Ford was wise to call it a Mustang as they need to draw in people to “just drive it and see “. That would never have happened if they called it the “electron”.

Gregor Glawitsch (not verified)    March 28, 2021 - 12:59PM

Its 180 km/h top speed (this is about 112 mph) is a tad low for German Autobahns, where people routinely and legally drive in excess of 200 km/h.

Even in my first car, a Nissan Sunny GTI (Nissan Sentra coupe), I drove 190 km/h in the late 1980s (pedal to the metal)

Just saying.

Matt Richter (not verified)    April 10, 2021 - 10:36PM

I have a 65 A code ragtop that's now a restomod. I put in my order in the beginning of June. I never had a problem with it being a CUV or a lifted hatch. Like you said, times change. If the Mustang were to be introduced today, no way would it be a 2-door coupe.

Glad you finally "came around". Better late than never!


LN Fitz (not verified)    May 28, 2021 - 5:58PM

Saw it on the street with no logo from behind. Shocked that it had the pony on the front. Went home, researched, test drove, fell in love! I grew up in Detroit and swore I would own an American car some day. Today is the day and tho I love my Acura, I hope to have the Mustang Mach-e that I have ordered in a few months.

Chuck (not verified)    June 6, 2021 - 8:30PM

The Mach E is my 5th Mustang (1965, 1976, 1984, 2001, 2021) and I'm here to say it is the best Mustang I've ever owned. It's not even close.

Barton's Creek (not verified)    June 22, 2021 - 7:23AM

My 2020 Explorer XLT with the ecoboost 4cyl and Sport Mode engaged is a closer Mustang than this thing. They should have called it an Escort and let sleeping ponies lie.

Thomas Steinruck (not verified)    July 1, 2021 - 2:11AM

We are at a restaurant tonight and we noticed that two of the young leaders were leaning over the table next to us looking out the window we kind of already knew what they were looking at our car was parked there. But we ask them anyway and got a kick out of it they were mesmerised by the Mustang Mach E. When we left the restaurant the people who were getting into the car next to it stopped us to ask more questions. Yesterday at the post office at Tesla owner stopped and talked with me for about 10 minutes about it. I didn't think it was that unique in its look other than the tail lights and the badging to me it kind of look like most other crossovers but apparently people notice it. And it's the fastest car I've ever that honor previously went to my Ford F250 with its 395 horsepower Coyote engine. Long long time ago I own a Trans Am and a Camaro Z28 and neither of them were as fast as either of my Ford's. And the take-off when you slammed the pedal to the metal is unlike any gas powered car I've ever been in. And I don't even have the GT obviously. 0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds is super car speed from just a few years ago. I was passing on a two-lane Highway, somebody doing 60, the other day and by the time I got back into the lame I was doing a hundred and five and didn't even feel like it was going fast. I can see some tickets in my future.

Roger thomas (not verified)    August 2, 2021 - 2:20PM

looks much like a kia soul in front. Mustang 2 not a mustang but based on the pinto. E range look up aaa electric car study. Eye opening

MattR (not verified)    December 20, 2021 - 3:23PM

In reply to by Roger thomas (not verified)

And the original Mustang was based on the Falcon. Learn some history of the model. Did you know the first year of the Mustang II sold 340k units? Based on the Pinto or not, that's a huge commercial success compared to sales numbers this year. And it's rack and pinion steering became the standard for hotrods far and wide.

Debangor (not verified)    August 15, 2021 - 11:51PM

I absolutely love my Mach-E! I think once you drive it you will realize that it deserves the name “Mustang.” I loved driving my husband’s 2009 GT convertible until I drove this. I think Ford made a wise choice in naming their first electric SUV. It got the attention it needed to show people what can be done in the modern world. People want SUVs but also want something peppy and fun to drive. I haven’t taken it on a long enough road trip to have to rely on the charging network yet, but am hopeful Ford took some lessons from Tesla and their charging network.

WisdomLost (not verified)    September 28, 2021 - 11:59AM

I drove it...

It's a "good" vehicle. Plenty of torque, quick acceleration, gets past the speed limit before you realize you're going that fast, and rides quiet.

Just a couple of points of frustration...

1) The "B pillar" is too vertical, and does not allow an average-height man (5' 10") to enter/exit the vehicle without brushing (or bumping) against it. EXTREMELY frustrating!

2) Once at a full stop, you have to press the accelerator to make the car move again. This may be a great setup for a quick launch, with the driver able to rest the right foot on the "go" pedal without creeping forward. Unfortunately, I found it a bit of a chore in traffic, as I would have to release the brake, press the "gas", and immediately get back on the brake to avoid hitting the car in front.

Otherwise, I like the "car". I test-drove it because I am on the F150 Lightning waiting list, and wanted to see how Ford will approach BEV driving.

Capt.Tom (not verified)    December 28, 2021 - 1:26AM

In reply to by John Doe (not verified)

The Ford/VW network is growing fast but the vast majority of EV owners don't charge at Fast chargers. Most charge at home, for 1/3 the cost of commercial chargers. If you are regularly paying big corporations 30 or 40 cents per kilowatt-hour when you can get it for 10 or 11 cents at home, you're doing it wrong.

Andrew G. (not verified)    February 6, 2022 - 10:05AM

As many know, the original plan for the all electric Ford was as a compliance vehicle, probably a Focus until Jim Farley decided he wanted to take on Tesla. Well, you don’t take on Tesla with a Focus. When Ford decided to use the Mustang nameplate, they had to get it right, and they did. In fact, albeit with reservations, I probably would have purchased a model y despite its well reported quality control issues. Ford knows how to build a car and when they announced the Mach E, I was confident they would learn from Tesla’s woes. And they did. As for the iconic nameplate, I never would have bought an ICE Mustang but I am quite happily driving an electric one.

Myk sanchez (not verified)    February 6, 2022 - 12:34PM

No one is saying that the Mach E isn't an astounding machine, because it is; it just isn't a Mustang, period...

MattR (not verified)    February 7, 2022 - 12:42PM

In reply to by Myk sanchez (not verified)

You know what they say about opinions.... Ford says different. I do too. So do lots of others.

I have a 65 ragtop too. They are both Mustangs.

Look at the history of the Mustang. Hell, there were even 4wd versions in England!

JT (not verified)    February 14, 2022 - 11:53AM

That is not a Mustang. I should know I have owned Mustangs for 30 years. Call it something else like Wantabe

MattR (not verified)    February 14, 2022 - 1:01PM

I have too. And I'll raise you that I was in the NorCal Shelby club. And lots of other car things too. Not that it matters. Say what you want, I respect your opinion. But it's not something that defines anything. It's just one voice among many. My voice speaks differently. That's OK. There's room enough for us all.

Ferrari said never to an SUV. Guess what they're making. The Macan was the best selling Porsche. Now it's the Taycan. Everyone decryed the 928. Now it's collectable. The Panemera is what allowed all those 911 variants to live on. Go figure!

Times are a chagin'! Get on board or get left behind.

A good year of Mustang coupe sales today is a crappy year of Mustang II sales. The market is speaking. Two door sports coupes with almost unusable rear seats are going the way of the Dodo.

Mark (not verified)    February 14, 2022 - 2:09PM

The anguish of people at the name is puzzling.
We are talking about metal formed into a vehicle and styled and named by a marketing department. This was true in 1964 when they put a coupe body onto the profoundly un-sporty Falcon chassis.
Same is true today except that the Mach-E is a better vehicle than anything Ford made in 1964.