Can you believe it: We're four years deep into Ford throwing a Mustang badge on a slick-shaped crossover. While the Mach-E's debut in 2019 caused major disturbances in the collective automotive enthusiast population, there's no doubt Ford's sold plenty of the things since, with nearly 40,000 units leaving dealer lots just last year. There are several trims to choose from, with the GT being the most high-performance option for those who want something closer to what traditional Mustangs are all about—fun athletic prowess in a proudly American package. Below the GT, however, is where the volume lies, and where the 2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium Extended Range AWD lives.
After a few hundred miles, a hearty charging session, and a good overall mix of Southern California's best and worst roads in this car, I walked away conflicted—it's an overall good package but left a lot to be desired when it came to fun road thrills.
|2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E Specs
|Base Price (Premium Extended Range AWD as tested)
|91-kWh battery | dual-motor all-wheel drive
|29.7 cubic feet behind second row | 59.7 cubic feet behind first row | 4.7 cubic feet in frunk
|Up to 150 kW
|It does crossover commuter incredibly well, just don’t expect anything additional.
The Ford Mustang Mach-E's aerodynamically inclined shape looks generally good, though awkward from some angles. I couldn't quite get over its bulbous front end and weak little taillights, and my tester's black-on-black-on-black palette didn't do it any favors. By the way, its high-gloss black 19-inch wheels are part of this tester's $800 Nite Pony Package. I want to hear an average middle-aged, short-sleeve-dress-shirted Ford salesman utter this accessory package several times with a straight face while trying to make a sale.
Opening its massive doors and hatch revealed a very spacious, clean, and crisp interior. A tinted full-length panoramic roof is standard across all Mach-E trims which adds an exceptional amount of airiness. There was plenty of head-, shoulder, and legroom throughout for my lanky six-foot-three stature, with just slightly less in the back. Interestingly, where the upper trim met the panoramic roof made for a spot that any tall person could rest their head against for a mid-road trip nap. Dropping the rear seats gives this thing immense cargo potential, too, which can measure as much as 59.7 cubic feet with the seats down. There's even an extra 4.7 cubic feet of storage in the frunk.
Interior materials were generally normal fare for any Ford product—that’s to say there's a mix of mid-tier quality hard plastics and faux stitched leather—and the small amount of switchgear it had (so much is controlled via the massive center screen) felt solid and of good quality.
Driving the Ford Mustang Mach-E
Around town, the Mach-E stacks a lot of chips on top of any EV's commuter-friendly high cards. It was a quiet and serene place to be, especially after turning off its cheesy artificial propulsion noises (which is thankfully easy to do). Overall visibility was excellent, its ride was comfortable and very well-damped, and power was plenty ample in each of its three modes: Whisper, Engage, and Unbridled. The latter is a little on the nose there, Ford, but it also removes its kid gloves and does the Mustang badge proud by cramming uninhibited EV torque through its axles. With as much as 346 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque on tap, the all-wheel, extended-range Mach-E will reach 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds. Not bad for a vehicle that weighs a whole 4,838 pounds.
Ford's Blue Cruise suite of driver assistance tech was brilliant, too. When all the variables were just right on the highway, the Mach-E let me know that it could take over for a while, and accelerate, brake, and change lanes very seamlessly and smoothly. This was my first time experiencing this system, and I was amply impressed after sampling pretty much every other automaker's offering in this arena.
Around town, one-pedal driving was easy to turn on and off, though required an awfully precise right foot to actuate smoothly. Though, it was easy to get used to after a day or two. Then, when it came time to figure out the Mach-E's athleticism, I was excited to put the Mach-E through its paces in the canyon roads of northern Los Angeles County.
Attempting to Extract Vehicular Joy
The Mach-E, at its core, is a good chassis. A lot of its weight is well within its wheelbase and sits nice and low. Great damping—housed in MacPherson strut front and fully independent multi-link rear suspension—meant that its ride was overall quite good, including across rough patches of heavily beaten big city tarmac. The steering even gained some nice weight at speed in Unbridled mode, too, yet was otherwise light and easy to wield around town. But its tires and brakes left a lot to be desired.
This wasn't a case of rolling on bald tires or nearly-gone brake pads, either; the car was delivered in tip-top shape. No, it was the fact that my tester rolled on eco-friendly tires and brakes that were just a tad too small for the 'Stang's size and power output. Sure, going with a less eco-minded tire would cut into its range, potentially stealing away 10 or more miles. Not ideal especially when this car's sub-300-mile figure is already teetering on range-anxiety-inducing for some consumers.
But still, any enthusiastic wheeling that was even a few mph above the speed limit quickly resulted in tires screaming bloody murder. Then, after a few corners, the 14.2-inch front and 12.5-inch rear brakes proceeded to exhibit a lot of fade.
On the flip side, it was an opportunity to see how thoroughly traction and stability control dealt with inputs that were slightly out-of-bounds, which was comical in its own right. Admittedly, the Mach-E's software did a good job here. I found myself in cornering and braking scenarios where all four wheels were singing in torturous harmony, and yet the car was able to lightly reel in the throttle and utilize ABS to prevent some potentially spectacular understeer.
This brings up an important point: the Mach-E—unless specified with the GT trim—is very much just a crossover. It errs more on the side of a daily appliance than an electrified version of a legendary enthusiast badge. You're probably reading this and thinking "Well duh, idiot," but I think it's an important distinction that should be made clear. In other words: No, folks, buying a non-GT Mach-E does not suddenly make you a performance car-owning hot shoe just because this thing has “Mustang” in its name. A rental-spec, previous-gen Mustang EcoBoost convertible undoubtedly has higher levels of overall athleticism than this thing.
The Highs and Lows
Just because it isn’t overly sporting doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its merits, though. The Ford Mustang Mach-E is a spacious and well-laid-out daily driver that has good enough agility for carrying ever-so-slightly more speed through corners than most drivers would attempt. Or, feel more sure-footed in adverse conditions. It's also packed with tech that’s easy to figure out and, in the case of Blue Cruise, genuinely enjoyable to use. Just don't try to drive it like you stole it.
With this brave new, massive-screen world, though, comes some of the most annoying seat belt reminder and on/off noises ever recorded. If you don't have your seatbelt on before you hit the start button—not before you start moving—the Mach-E will pummel your eardrums with synthy bong bong bong noises. As if you just ran out of lives in an 80s arcade game. Like BMW, Ford's never been great with these kinds of noises, but it seems even worse in the Mach-E now that it's got "The future is now!" on the mind.
Ford Mustang Mach-E Features, Options, and Competition
The Ford Mustang Mach-E was the third-best-selling EV behind the Tesla Model 3 and Y last year, and it's easy to see why. To hop into a base, single-motor Select model, it'll cost $47,495. LED exterior lighting with auto high-beams, a capacious interior, solid tech amenities, one-pedal driving with three driving modes, and all driver assistance technology (Blue Cruise and 360 camera are subscription-based) are standard.
Ratcheting up to this Premium tester's dual-motor all-wheel drive and larger capacity battery gets you some nicer interior amenities with customizable ambient lighting, heated front seats and steering wheel, a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, memory seats, and power-folding mirrors. The black car you see here cost $68,375 as tested.
Range, Charging, and Efficiency
Ford says that the base Select trim with a single rear motor achieves as much as 247 miles of range, but adding a motor to the front axle drops it down to 224 miles. A single-motor Premium Extended Range model can go as far as 306 miles. Unless a consumer is wary of driving through adverse conditions, this is the spec I'd opt for despite it taking just over a second longer to reach 60 mph. My dual-motor (the AWD part in its name) Premium Extended Range tester travels as many as 290 miles per charge, but ponying up to the California Route 1 trim with dual motors gets you 22 more miles.
Despite me wringing the big E out more than a few times, it still had good overall range. 290 miles is respectable for a comfortable, well-appointed EV that's just below $70,000, fully loaded. My week with it included an expedited trip from Northeastern LA down to Huntington Beach and back, a total trip of 90 miles. With light traffic and plenty of spirited passing in the left lane, the Mach-E’s projected range numbers remained accurate.
When it came time to charge the Mach-E, a visit to an Electrify America DC fast charger went quite well. I charged from 30% to 65% in 25 minutes, with charging speeds varying between 66 and 81 kW to deliver a total of 34 kWh. Towards the end of my week, my estimated range was 231 miles with 79% charge remaining.
Comparing a couple of other bulbous crossovers apples-to-apples, the Tesla Model Y starts at $52,630, with the Long Range commanding $54,630. Both will put down more miles than the Ford, reaching 303 and 330 miles, respectively. The Volkswagen ID.4 starts far lower at $40,290 but only reaches 208 miles before needing to be plugged in—across all trims it never gets above 275 miles.
Value and Verdict
The 2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium Extended Range AWD is a good overall EV that's easy to live with. It's spacious, nice to drive around town, comfortable, and packs a lot of intuitive, easy-to-use tech.
It may get a tad annoying at times thanks to its annoying bings and bongs, and its driving experience may not quite live up to the Mustang name, but you really can't fault it too hard. Just be sure to jump up to the GT if you're after an overall more athletic and grippy wheeling experience.
Correction [9/22/2023 @ 12:40pm ET]: A previous version of this story described the Mach-E as "American-made." The Mach-E is made in Mexico.
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