Sunday, December 4

I love driving the Ford Mustang Mach-E, but I miss one thing

There is a neat trick to the Ford Mustang Mach-E that allows you to choose a ‘propulsion’ sound for your new EV. Depending on the driving mode you have selected, this option allows you to choose a manufactured engine noise, which is actually quite good.

Naturally, being part of the Mustang family, the best option is the Untamed option. That produces a cold murmur that becomes much more noticeable when you press the accelerator pedal.

It’s a quirky touch that goes back to what some people consider “adequate” Ford Mustangs, especially pick-of-the-crop cars with their V8 gas engines. It had the same effect on me as I drove down dark country roads in the middle of nowhere during the early stages of winter. In fact, the Mach-E and the fake engine noises left me wanting an old-school eight-cylinder Mustang more than ever.

I’d better move on though, as the writing is on the wall for gas guzzlers with combustion engines. If governments are to be believed (although they usually aren’t), the game will soon be over for any vehicle that burns some form of fossil fuel. This is despite the fact that modern cars have become so efficient that many drink truly miserable amounts of fuel as they get us from A to B.

While the Mustang Mach-E is one of the best electric cars out there, with its great battery power, does the all-electric Mustang Mach-E provide the same level of excitement as one of Ford’s classics of yesteryear?

Ford Mustang Mach-E: el gran

(Image credit: Rob Clymo / Future)

That false whisper is actually just one of the many positives of the Ford Mustang Mach-E. While purists may still think that this bulky BEV really isn’t true to its sports car roots, there are plenty of cool things on display in and around the SUV.

There’s a decent amount of power to start with, around 350 horsepower in the extended-range all-wheel drive model I’ve been driving. The more robust battery gives it a theoretical range of around 270 miles, although the reality is less than that, unsurprisingly. And, being a Ford, there are plenty of cool features that add a great level of practicality to the Mach-E as well.

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A good example of this is the QuickClear heated windshield, which is a boon in winter for getting rid of frost, snow, and condensation before a trip. No scraper needed here and a definite highlight for a fall assessment, as is the steering wheel and heated seats.

(Image credit: Rob Clymo / Tom’s Guide)

However, before you get comfortable inside, there are several ways to enter Mach-E. You can use the key fob, your phone, or the keypad option to gain access, which involves entering your unique code on the driver’s door frame.

While this isn’t a new feature on Ford cars, it’s great, especially if you want to do something outside of the car and don’t want the hassle of having your keys or phone with you. Let’s say you are going to run, as an example; you can leave everything in your Mach-E and then tap the code to open the door when you return.

The same goes for the brilliantly simple and surprisingly intuitive door handles and buttons. Once you get the gist of these, you never want to go back to old school latches.

Another great idea is the way the frunk has been designed. This is the extra storage area you get under the hood, which is one of the unique benefits of not having a combustion engine that takes up the same space. Ford did a nice trick with its latest Puma, having a storage box in the trunk that could be used as a fridge. The same goes for the Mustang Mach-E, with an under-hood compartment that comes complete with a drain hole that does much the same.

Ford Mustang Mach-E: Lo bueno

(Image credit: Rob Clymo / Tom’s Guide)

In fact, the more time you spend with the Mustang Mach-E, the more it gives you. Driving it is certainly easy enough, with a dial on the center console allowing you to select the driving mode. And, as is the case with most electric vehicles, the simplicity of pressing and advancing the accelerator pedal is made even more enjoyable thanks to the regenerative setting that allows you to accelerate and decelerate with one foot.

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Sure, there’s not a lot of work involved here, unlike driving an older Mustang, but the overall effect is impressive. The Mach-E is also quite comfortable, with thick seats that are ideal for longer races. There’s plenty of technology on board, too, most of which comes through Ford’s SYNC 4 system and is accessed via the large 15.5-inch central infotainment screen.

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Newcomers to large in-car touchscreens are always a bit nervous about how much distracting they will be, but it’s actually surprising how quickly you get used to it. However, the Ford Mustang Mach-E subjects you to a lot of tedium with the touch screen; the unnecessary and often distracting fiddle that you have to do because you have no actual buttons to adjust while driving.

I have nothing against touchscreens for many features and functions, and they give you a much better opportunity to dig into what car systems can do. However, the basic functions still work best with buttons. An example is the large volume button at the bottom of the Mach-E screen; it is a real life saver.

Ford Mustang Mach-E: Badly

(Image credit: Rob Clymo / Tom’s Guide)

However, although the Ford Mustang Mach-E qualifies as one, the term SUV does not mean that it is a true sport utility vehicle. A fundamental aspect of this problem is the ground clearance, which is not even that good for a normal car. It’s even less impressive if you’re hoping to head anywhere off-road, intentionally or otherwise. Said that; helps with handling, as the Mach-E is quite a tall vehicle.

In fact, as I drove around the one-way country lanes, I kept everything crossed in the hope that I wouldn’t meet anyone coming the other way. The ground clearance (5.7 inches / 14.5 cm) is pretty minimal, so any reversing in the dark meant that you could easily have left the car on a beach when the wheels were sinking into a groove or a drainage ditch.

(Image credit: Rob Clymo / Tom’s Guide)

Presumably this is because the car has its batteries designed to sit low on the floor. You can also see evidence of this when you open the doors. Ford has done a good job of disguising this, and when the doors are closed, the outer body covers everything. However, open a door and you will see evidence of the looming battery location.

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However, our Mustang Mach-E came with chunky, fairly high-profile tires, which helped a bit when going through potholes and potholes. The fact that the car was still feeling a bit nervous left me wondering how people with lower profile rubber would fare on the same country lanes. Still, if that’s the worst I can say about the Mustang Mach-E, then Ford has nothing to worry about.

Ford Mustang Mach-E: el feo

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

It’s easy to see why Ford Mustang fans might feel a bit offended that this car bears the same name and insignia that has graced millions of editions of its smaller and decidedly sportier relatives. There are hints of its past, particularly with those taillights that have more than a hint of Mustang heritage.

Cruel commentators might say that this is just a bloated electric vehicle, which is too overweight and too bulky to be a real part of the Mustang family. However, the Mach-E attracts attention, which is quite rare these days. Maybe it’s the badge that people see and sound like to you. I certainly didn’t suffer any abuse, and that’s the same experience you get when you drive a “proper” Mustang.

Bottom line

(Image credit: Rob Clymo / Tom’s Guide)

In fact, get behind the wheel of one of those classic Mustangs and you’ll get genuine smiles, greetings, and displays of affection. A few years ago, on a highway in Bavaria, a smiling German postal worker honked his horn and pointed to the yellow color of my 2016 Mustang while comparing it to his similarly colored pickup. He seemed genuinely pleased to have made the connection.

Whether or not the Ford Mustang Mach-E will achieve the same levels of adulation remains to be seen. It may not have a V8 either, but it’s a great car, even if the manufactured engine noise seems a bit inconsistent with what it is.

For me, however, it only underscores the transformation we are going through. If I’m going to have a no-frills car, no hybrid, V8, Mustang, or otherwise, then I’d better hurry up before they’re all consigned to museums and history books.

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