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Mustang Mach-E Has 3 Driving Modes And 2 Pedals While You Only Need One

One-pedal driving is one of the cool driving features in the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E. This takes some getting used to, but once you master it, it adds to the enjoyment. All-electric Mach-E has three distinctive driving modes to enhance the overall performance.

One thing that makes a vehicle special and memorable is if it has personality. Personality can come through attractive looks or also in the way it drives. This week I am driving the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E. This is my first extended seat time in the all-electric crossover Mustang.

The debate and discussion over the name aside (more on that later on this week), there’s a lot of personality behind the wheel of the Mach-E. This is not my official review of the Mustang Mach-E, as that can be found here, but having just put more than 150 miles on it, I have a good feel for what it’s like to drive the Mach-E now.

If you’ve never driven an electric vehicle, be aware of the torque, which is instant. In vehicles like the Tesla and certainly the Mach-E the instant torque is spectacular. And that is part of what makes the Mach-E fun to drive.

For a comparison of the Mach-E to the Tesla Model Y, check out my colleague John Goreham's thoughts on these vehicles here.

Ford has engineered three modes for the Mach-E to change the way the crossover drives. And I tried out each one to see which I preferred and to see how the performance changes in each mode. Let’s take a look at the three driving modes in the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E.

Driving modes in Mustang Mach-EDriving modes in 2021 Mustang Mach-E
Mustang Mach-E delivers three unique drive experiences – Whisper, Engage and Unbridled with each offering finely tuned driving dynamics packaged with specific sensory experiences. What this means is, since it has a whisper-quiet all electric motor and not a throaty, growl of a V8, that the sound is tuned for the Mach-E.

This opens up the Mach-E to the inevitable ridicule from the V8 lovers and that’s not for me to defend. Certainly there’s some viscerally awesome about the growl of a V8 Mustang engine. And, as I wrote, the internal-combustion engine (ICE) is not going anyway any time soon, no matter what you might hear. But don’t think that the Mach-E falls flat in that area.

Look no further than Unbridled Mode. I love the name tied directly to an unbridled Mustang running wild and loose. And in this mode, the Mach-E shows off. It’s the most exhilarating mode and is the mode I left the Mach-E most of the time. It’s blazing off the line with crazy quick 0-60 mph times. There’s cool driving graphics that match this mode to let you know you are in for a wild, unbridled experience.

Ford says, “Unbridled is an exhilarating drive experience that pays homage to the legacy of Mustang sound in a unique package designed for an all new electric vehicle.” There are interior sound enhancements in the cabin as well to add to the enhanced driving experience.

I generally used Unbridled mode when I knew there’d be open bits of road (without law enforcement) and also areas where there could be stop lights; so I could get some fun red-light 0-60 launches.

As I was driving on the highway in a notorious speed trap area, I switched between Engage and Whisper. I found Engage mode to be the “Goldilocks” of the modes as in, just right, especially when driving at a specific maintained speed. The performance is more subtle, but still noticeable, similar to the piped in sound. It’s still there.

If you need an ICE comparison, think of this as the EcoBoost mode, as in still fast, and still great performance and still enough sound.

The third and final mode is the one many people think of with EVs and that’s Whisper. As the name hints this mode is seamless, calm and quiet, designed to give the feeling of gliding and coasting. And really it accomplishes that. On a more boring stretch of the highway, I switched to this mode and enjoyed the calming effect and it really felt I was driving an EV then. Ford does not enhance any sound for Whisper mode.

One-pedal driving Mustang Mach-EOne Pedal Driving
One-pedal driving is not unique to the Mach-E. And there’s also a lot of confusion around this mode. It means, as the name insinuates, you only use the accelerator pedal to speed up and slow down, and even stop the vehicle.

You have to turn on one-pedal driving on the main screen to get the full effect of it. I immediately turned it on, even for my first drive and only briefly turned it off, when I hit a patch of stop and go driving.

It takes a certain amount of foot pressure to truly master one-pedal driving in the Mach-E, but the learning curve is small. I quickly got the feel for when to let off the accelerator and how quickly to fully let off of it in order to come to a stop.

Here’s a hint, it slows down very quickly in deceleration and can be a dead stop in quick manner. This doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t still apply the brake on occasion. Some person cut me off and that required me to hit the brake, but honestly out of instinct you sometimes still hit the brake.

That’s just a habit you will eventually break as EVs like the Mach-E become more common. And honestly, in the end, the one-pedal driving mode made me a more aware and efficient driver. I was engaged the entire time. It honestly added to the enjoyment and enhanced the overall driving experience of the Mustang Mach-E.

My final thoughts as far as these modes and the one-pedal driving of the Mustang Mach-E are pretty well summed up by this quote from Mark Kaufman, Ford enterprise product line director for global electrification:
“Whether you want to really feel its performance capability or are looking for the quiet atmosphere that electric vehicles can offer, the Mach-E harnesses the power of electrification to create a unique driving experience while retaining that unmistakable Mustang feeling of freedom.”

Some of the tried and true Mustangers who have close-mindedly rejected the Mach-E won’t want to hear this, but there are times behind the wheel of the Mach-E that you think you’re driving an actual Mustang.

Please be sure to follow Torque News' dedicated Mustang page all week for more of my thoughts on the much-talked about and somewhat controversial Mustang Mach-E. I have a lot more to say including range anxiety, the Mustang name and heritage and my official review of the North American SUV of the Year.

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.


Bob (not verified)    August 25, 2023 - 7:19PM

Too bad a software bug causes it to change braking profile at random, saying “Drive Mode not available”. You can find yourself coming into a turn at race speed when that messes up.