CHATHAM, Mass. – The all-new Ford Mustang MACH-E is a terrific compact sport utility (SUV): smooth, comfortable, fun-to-drive, distinctive — and gets 220 to 270 miles on a full charge!

That’s right – this is the first Ford Mustang that is a SUV (and available with all-wheel drive) and the first Ford Mustang to be electric powered.

On the initial point, the MACH-E does not look like a run-of-the-mill SUV. Mustang design cues like the long hood (which houses the frunk – a front storage area, in this case made of plastic and having a drain to allow filling it with ice when a large cooler is necessary), broad grill with the distinctive Mustang logo and a short rear deck capped with the traditional Mustang three-lens taillamps/sequential turn signals.

There is a lot of Mustang family resemblance in the curved lines joining front to rear fascias, right down to the fastback shape evocative of the old Mustang Mach 1 (here providing access to the rear cargo area offering almost 60 cubic feet of storage with the rear seats folded).

Considering the amount of “thumbs ups” I received from Mustang drivers of all ages while driving the Rapid Red Metallic Tinted MACH-E, it does not appear that the controversy surrounding calling this vehicle a Mustang carries much weight with present owners.

A twin-motor powertrain and extended-range battery at the MACH-E’s heart

Electric motors front and rear provide the all-wheel-drive (AWD) motivation for the Premium edition we drove. Combined they produce sports-car-like 346 horsepower and 428 pounds-feet of torque in virtual silence. In addition, like all electric motors, the torque comes on instantaneously, no build up like a gasoline engine, so performance is NOW; press on the accelerator and you go.

This SUV turns in what was once supercar results when the accelerator is stomped, going from 0-60 miles per hour in well under six seconds (according to Ford and enthusiast publications which have tested the MACH-E).

Providing the energy for my time behind the wheel was the extended-range 88kW battery, a $7,700 option which, according to Ford, can motivate the Mustang for up to 270 miles between charges (the rear-wheel drive version offering just over the 300-mile threshold).

Range, range anxiety and charging the battery

In my real-world use, again with somewhat liberal application of the accelerator, I saw between 216 and 246 miles of range indicated on a full charge. I never put it to a full run-down test because where I ventured on Cape Cod did not offer public DC fast-charging stations nor did I have one at home (so trickle charging was the means of replenishing the battery).

I never felt any range anxiety – my daily trips during the week were never long enough to create such angst. Owning the Mustang MACH-E would be a very different experience than a simple week-long test. Electric vehicle owners do 80 percent of their charging at home, so Ford offers a Ford Connected Charging station that can add an estimated average range of up to 30 miles per charging hour on a 240V outlet.

The Ford mobile charger, included with the vehicle, can add an estimated average range of 20 miles per charging hour on a 240V outlet, the same used for a conventional oven. Ford is teaming up with Amazon Home to facilitate easy customer home installation by a licensed electrician.

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Living with an electric vehicle (EV) takes a commitment to a different type of driving lifestyle, one needing a bit more planning for anything but neighborhood daily driving. Ford has developed to the FordPass Charging Network – the largest public charging network in the country with more than 13,500 charging stations (and more than 40,000 charge plugs) and growing, including DC fast chargers.

The connected navigation system will identify up-to-date public charging locations during trips and prompt owners to charge at the most convenient points on each drive – all to help ensure they do not have to be anxious about how much range they have.

With peak charging rate of 150 kW, the Mustang Mach-E with an extended battery and rear-wheel drive can add an estimated average of 61 miles of range in approximately 10 minutes while charging on a DC fast charging station. The standard-range Mustang Mach-E is estimated to charge from 10 percent to 80 percent in approximately 45 minutes while charging on a DC fast charging station.

Supplementing these charging methods is the onboard regenerative braking system, which in the Mustang is aggressive. The vehicle is designed to accommodate one-pedal driving (accelerator depressed to go; lift off and the regen system brings the MACH-E to a halt) if you wish.

When needed the conventional brakes are substantial with 18-inch vented rotors coupled with four-piston calipers up front, 17-inch solid discs with single piston calipers in the rear. All ride within 19-inch aluminum wheels shod with 225/55R19 tires.

The tires are not the rock-hard mileage-enhancing discs fitted to some EVs, but performance rubber which allows the Mustang to perform up to its pedigree. This car handles all types of road surfaces better than most compact SUVs on the market!

Full complement of ADAS

The Mustang MACH-E Premium bristles with the latest technology including a comprehensive collection of advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS).

Standard features include the Ford Co-Pilot360™ 2.0: reverse brake assist, reverse sensing system, post-impact braking, blind-spot information system with cross-traffic alert, pre-colllision assist with automatic-emergency braking, lane-keeping system, rearview camera, automatic high beams, intelligent adaptive cruise control with stop&go, lane centering, intersection assist, speed-recognition, and evasive-steering assist. In addition, the Premium edition comes with a 360-Degree Camera with Split View system.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

The systems work smoothly without being overly intrusive or obnoxious, which means the driver is less likely to disable them, thus making them more effective than some of the competition.

Amenities carry the tech inside

The technology goes beyond the dynamics of the MACH-E, finding its way into the passenger cabin. It is an inviting space for driver and passengers. The seats are heated and power adjustable allowing both occupants to find just the right position for any type of drive.

Behind the heated and adjustable steering wheel is a 10.2-inch rectangular electronic instrument-cluster screen showing pertinent information at a glance (like vehicle speed) while a 15.5-inch vertical (tablet-orientation) touch screen at the center of the dash commands both attention and most of the Mustang’s operating systems.

On-screen buttons allow simple adjustments of the dual-zone climate controls, infotainment (including wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), voice-activated navigation and ADAS settings, A prominent dial – the lone non-digital control — makes adjusting the volume produced by the Premium’s Bang &  Olofson sound system very simple.

Overall, a lot of unique vehicle

The Mustang MACH-E signals a bold move by the Ford Motor Company into new territory, showing its commitment to both electric vehicles and a future based upon sport utility and crossover vehicles (not cars).

The Mustang MACH-E Premium carries a $47,000 base price and as tested, a $56,200 sticker. Government tax breaks can take $10,000 off the total, thus making the venture into electric mobility a bit more reasonable.

If you want a stylish, fun way to go electric, while being able to depend upon one of the world’s most established auto makers, the new Mustang MACH-E provides a great way to go. Next week TBR Drives the 2021 Cadillac Escalade large SUV