The Mustang is a symbol of freedom and escape and, well, everyone has a Mustang story. With the Mustang badge, the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E electric crossover SUV needed to be good. And it is.
What separates the Mach-E is that it’s a very good vehicle compared to cars with gas tanks or not. Versus the Tesla Model Y electric crossover, it’s better-looking, better-driving, quiet and refined, and it has more options and redundancies built into its interface. That's before we factor in an objective take on build quality, which is notoriously shoddy in early versions of the Model Y.
With a TCC Rating of 8.6 out of 10, the 2021 Mustang Mach-E is one of the highest-rated vehicles at The Car Connection, and once it’s rated for safety it has the potential to do even better. It's so good it won out overall prize of Best Car To Buy 2021, which is the first time in our 10-year history that an electric vehicle has won the top consumer prize.
Mixing the Mustang heritage and performance cues—if not the excessive amount of branding and logos—saves the Mach-E’s design from the sameness of the compact crossover crowd. And Ford has achieved the kind of smart packaging that’s only possible in an electric vehicle. Passenger space is surprisingly good, with enough head room and leg room for taller people in the front and rear seats—with the panoramic glass roof helping maximize space. In addition to the 60/40-split rear seats that fold flat to provide 59.7 cubic feet of cargo room, there’s a 4.8-cubic-foot front trunk that can even function as a cooler.
Although The Car Connection currently gives a 10 to any electric vehicle with a range of 200 or more, the Mach-E hits some impressive range distances. It’s the first non-Tesla SUV to hit an official 300 miles of EPA-rated range. The Model Y has an EPA-rated range of 316 miles in its most efficient form.
The Mach-E offers versions with a Standard Range (68 kwh usable) or Extended Range (88 kwh) pack—the latter attached to the 300-mile max range. Single-motor models accelerate to 60 mph in as little as 5.8 seconds, while dual-motor all-wheel-drive models reach 60 mph in as little as 4.8 seconds. As is typical for the electric-car field, the Mach-E can be startling in how quick it is from a standing start. Cornering is superb, with precise and well-weighted steering, and it feels more planted than the Model Y. A one-pedal driving mode cranks up the regenerative braking to give you more control in crawling traffic or curvy backroads.
The Mach-E can take advantage of the 150-kw CCS DC fast-charging hardware that’s increasingly common around America, with the expansion of Electrify America and other networks. It has the potential to go from 10% to 85% charge in about 40 minutes.
As a connected device, the Mach-E is nearly as intuitive as what Tesla provides, and it has the potential to catch up quick. along with the 2021 Ford F-150 pickup truck, the Mustang Mach-E offers true vehicle-wide over-the-air updates, which could potentially improve performance or add features with an update. Ford also has a hands-free driver-assistance system called Active Drive Assist on the way for the Mach-E. It’s anticipated to be a full-fledged equivalent to Tesla’s Navigate on Autopilot and GM’s Super Cruise, although like Super Cruise it will only operate on a series of geomapped limited-access highways.
The Mustang Mach-E starts at $43,995, not including the $7,500 federal EV tax credit that most buyers will likely be able to claim—plus other state incentives, potentially. That, and the combination of range, performance, and tech places it up against the Tesla Model Y in a way no other model has yet.
Read all about the winners of The Car Connection's Best Car To Buy 2021 awards—and find out which vehicles took home our annual Driver’s Choice awards as well as top honors from our sister sites, Motor Authority and Green Car Reports.