Updated: Feb 11, 2021
(Mike's note: The headline is an allusion to the 1979 Robert Redford-Jane Fonda-Willie Nelson movie "The Electric Horseman". Other than a play on words, it has nothing to do with anything. Headlines are hard.)
The faithful howled when they heard the news. "An SUV? An ELECTRIC SUV? With a Mustang name? Sacrilege!"
Said faithful really aren't. They're the Mustang fans who think the Mustang EcoBoost isn't a "real" Mustang because "real" Mustangs don't have four-cylinder engines---even if those fours turn out 330 horsepower. They're the ones who'll settle for the Mustang BULLITT but deep down want a Shelby GT 350R.
That ignores the Mustang's history. Introduced to the public on April 17, 1964, it was essentially a humble Ford Falcon with a sexier body and a wider choice of options. Yes, they were all two-doors---coupe, convertible and six months later, fastback. But Ford was considering a station wagon at one point.
Which brings us to the station wagon of the 21st century---the SUV. With Tesla's Model Y strongly in its sights, Ford decided to mass-produce an electric mid-size crossover. Sure, they could have gone for a more generic look and called it the Futura, but admit it---you would have yawned. Imbuing it with Mustang styling cues and calling it the Mustang Mach-E ( a reference to the 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1) got the world's attention.
Now, the only question is---how good is it?
The answer? Really, really good.
Mustang Mach-Es can be had with different power and range options. The Select model promises 0-60 in 5.2 seconds and 230 miles of range. The California Route 1 model slows down a bit---6.1 seconds to 60---but ups the range to 305 miles. They're both rear wheel drive. There's a GT model coming later this year that should satisfy the speed at all costs crowd, with a 0-60 time of 3.8 seconds---and a GT Performance Edition that actually knocks another 0.3 seconds off the sprint to 60---at 3.5 seconds. Of course, that comes at the expense of range, which dips to 250 miles. It's all wheel drive.
Our tester strikes me as the best of all possible worlds. The Premium is available as rear wheel or all wheel drive (ours was RWD), with a 0-60 time of 4.8 seconds and a range of 300 miles. That's with the extended-range battery. 230 miles is standard.
The Mustang Mach-E is roomy, comfortable, and not only goes quickly over long distances, it handles. Controls are intuitive, charging is quick on a DC fast charging station and the selectable drive experiences (Whisper, Engage and Unbridled) allow you to choose performance levels based on your mood.
Base price for the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium rear wheel drive is $47,000. Standard at that price are a 15.5-inch center-stack color touchscreen and Ford Co-Pilot 360 including intelligent adaptive cruise control with speed sign recognition.
The only option on our tester was the extended range battery ($5,000), so with $1,100 destination and delivery charge, the as-tested price of the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium RWD is $53,100.
Bottom line: The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E is, like the original Mustang, the right car for the time. It will address concerns motorists have about range, reliability and build quality. It takes Tesla's minimalist attitude and improves on it with a vehicle that seems less---alien. That's going to matter to Middle America.
This is my new favorite EV. It might even be my favorite Mustang.
And the faithful will howl. Let 'em.