Could this be the most anticipated new car release of 2023? Regardless of what you think of Ford’s choice of name for their new EV, it’s the one everyone has been waiting for.
Following the launch in Auckland, we’ll drive an AWD model back to Wellington and then we will have three weeks in it, with each of DriveLife’s motoring journalists spending time behind the wheel and giving their unbiased and independent opinions on the car, in our full review.
The Mustang Mach-E is the second, all-new EV to be launched this week, after the Hyundai Ioniq 6 on Tuesday. It is surely a sign of things to come.
2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E: Walk Around and Interior
Instead of kicking off with a presentation, we’d be hopping straight into an AWD model for a free drive around South Auckland. The cars we’d be driving today are all Irish specifications, so even though they are all-wheel drive, they’d have the smaller 75.7kWh battery. In New Zealand models, all-wheel drive models will have the larger, 98.7kWh battery pack. Being Irish spec also meant the maps wouldn’t work, but those were the only two differences between the Irish and New Zealand specifications.
Walking around the car, it’s a much better-looking car than in photos. While Ford claims it to be an SUV, that sloping rear end will take away some of the ‘utility’ part of ‘SUV’. Still, it is a nice looker, with Ford doing well at the front of the car, where some EVs really stuff it up. There’s a frunk up front of course, and it can hold up to a very reasonable 100 litres and this amount is the same for the RWD or AWD models.
Interestingly, on the outside of the Mustang Mach-E, the only Ford badge to be found is on the windscreen. The doors on all models have an ‘e-Latch’ system, which means a button you press to open it. The driver’s door has a series of keycode buttons so you can open the car with a code, if you don’t have the key. You can’t start the car without the key, but using a code will mean if you are at the beach and head back to get something, you don’t need to take the key with you.
Around the back, the Mach-E has a similar taillight design as the coupe, and front and rear the indicators are sequential. Also like the Mustang coupe, if you buy a GT version of the Mach-E, the ‘GT’ badge is right in the middle of the tailgate.
Inside the car, you are greeted with a huge 15” centre touchscreen of excellent resolution. It’s very similar to the one seen in the Ranger. The dashboard looks tiny, but the clarity is so good in actual use it’s all you need. It’s not customisable, but doesn’t really need to be. A humorous touch are the words ‘Ground Speed’ under your actual speed. I’m not saying the Mach-E will hit the speed of sound, but it’s a nice link to the word, ‘Mach’.
The interior of the AWD version has red stitching everywhere, and it looks excellent. This is definitely a premium car, as it should be for just on $110K. Space is abundant, with even back-seat passengers have a huge amount of legroom.
2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E: Short Drive
I went as a passenger for the first short leg, just a 20-minute drive in the countryside of south Auckland. All EVs are quiet, but the Mustang Mach-E also scores points for very low wind and road noise.
You get 3 drive modes with this car: Whisper, Active, and Untamed. Yes, Untamed seems a little cringy but then Tesla has their Ludicrous mode. It’s also another nice link to the name, Mustang. Untamed certainly unleashes more power, and in each mode you can turn on “Propulsion Sound” to give the car a fake engine noise. Don’t stress, the noise is actually not bad, and increases in volume from Whisper to Active to Untamed.
The car rides very well on our short drive. I switched into the driver’s seat and found an EV that is easy to drive. Ford has really made this a simple-to-use car. Of course, this was a short drive so we’ll wait until we do a decent amount of miles on the car before making an absolute declaration.
Performance is good, with easy passing power on the open road. With 580Nm of torque in the AWD model, there is ample performance available.
Next up, we headed to Hampton Downs racetrack for a brief presentation on the new Mustang Mach-E, and then some time on the track.
Simon Rutherford Ford New Zealand suggests that “we have disruption, but we also have a strong plan”. Obviously, the Mach-E figures strongly in that plan. Comparing sales figures, in 2020, Ford New Zealand was 2nd in the market with 12K sales, and in 2022 ended up 3rd in the market with 15K sales. So down one spot, but more units sold.
Ford has a range of options coming up as part of their “Electrification actions” plan, including:
- Focus MHEV (Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle)
- Escape PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle)
- E-Transit Cargo Cab/chassis
- Puma MHEV
- Puma ST MHEV
- E-Transit BEV 350/420 (Battery Electric Vehicle – a full EV)
At some point “soon” they’ll be adding a PUMA EV, an E-Tourneo Courier – a van that is aimed towards lifestylers, mainly as a people mover.
In New Zealand, some of Ford’s dealers already have 6 EV chargers onsite, with all Ford dealers having at least one.
2023 MUSTANG Mach-E: Prices
New Zealanders will get to choose from 3 models:
Rear-wheel drive (RWD) at $79,990 driveaway. This model has a 75.7kWh battery pack (68kWh usable) for a suggested WLTP 440km range. Power output is 198kW and torque at 430Nm.
Next up is the all-wheel drive (AWD) with a 98.7kWh battery (88kWh usable), range suggested at 550km. It costs $109,990. Power for this model is 258kW and torque 560Nm.
At the top is the GT model, named just like the Mustang coupe. It’s all-wheel drive, has the same battery pack as the AWD but the range is 490km. It costs $124,990 and has a power output of a huge 358kW and torque at 860Nm.
2023 Mustang Mach-E: Key features
- E-latch – electronic door entry
- Panoramic moonroof
- A 10” digital dashboard and a 15” centre touchscreen
- B&O sound system in the GT
Safety features include:
- Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go technology
- Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
- Blind Spot Information System w/ Cross Traffic Alert
- Dynamic Brake Support (DBS)
- Electronic Brake Boost
- Evasive Steer Assist
- Driver Impairment Monitor
- Electronic Stability Control
- Forward Collision Warning
- Intelligent Speed Assist with speed-limiting device
- Intersection Assist
- Traffic Sign Recognition
- Post Impact Braking
- Reverse Brake Assist
- Front Camera
- Rear View Camera – 360 degree
The new RTR pack is only available on the RWD and AWD – so not the GT. It costs an additional $9,000 and includes:
- RTR Graphics, Grill, Doors, Quarter panel, and rear
- RTR Fenders Badges
- RTR Dash Plaque
- RTR Aero 5 Wheels 20 X 8.5
- Continental EV Tyres
- RTR Black Wheel Nuts
- RTR Floor Mats
2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E: Track Time
We rolled out to pick up cars and got our first look at the GT model. There are some nice touches on this car, like the GT badge on the centre of the tailgate – in the same position as the coupe.
First up for the day was a slalom test in the AWD model. Performance – now we are on a track and can floor it – is very good, if not a little constrained by the car’s weight. Still, it hunkers down nicely from a standing start. Through the cones, there is some body roll and tyre squeal, but on the whole, it’s relatively composed. Got to keep in mind that this is a heavy car trying to navigate a slalom so in reality, it did very well.
The next event for the AWD was an emergency lane change. Cones were placed out like a lane and then ended where we had to steer the car to the right – without touching the brakes. We’d get to the point of coming off the accelerator doing about 70km/h and then hook immediately right. It looks tight, but no cones were knocked down (by me, anyway). It’s a great example of electronics in cars potentially saving lives. Very impressive.
The next event is a drag race, but unfortunately, I lined up against a GT model. There was no contest, even though I jumped the light to get an advantage. Each time we did the drag race GT vs. AWD, the GT totally blitzed it. Understandable, since it has another 100kW of power.
After a few laps, I moved into the GT model. As expected, a massive difference. Off the mark, that 680Nm of torque fair launches the car ahead and you can really feel that 0-100km/h time of 3.7 seconds being believable. With much lower profile Pirelli P-Zero tyres, it handled the slalom a lot better, with far less body roll or tyre squeal and improved turn-in. It’s definitely better built for this, although at times the rear end can feel a little nervous. Perhaps that’s just because I was going a lot faster.
Onto the lane change test, and after an easy run at 70km/h, the next time I went to 80 and then eventually 90km/h. Still the car did the work for me and no cones lost their lives.
The drag race was now me against an AWD, and it felt good to annihilate it. There is a massive difference in acceleration between the two models, as you’d expect. The AWD gets to 100km/h in 5.1 seconds, and the RWD in 6.1 seconds.
The last item for the day was some track laps, first in the AWD and then in the GT. Again, being able to compare the models back-to-back really showed the difference in handling between the two cars. Not that everyone who buys the AWD wishes they have the GT, but it certainly proves the GT is much more a driver’s car.
2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E: 600km Drive Home
The next day, Ford gave me the keys of an AWD model to take on a 600km journey back to Wellington, after which we would carry out our normal, full car review. But this first decent drive would give me a good taste of what the all-new Mustang Mach-E is really like.
That’s not to say the weather agreed. With yet another public storm warning, I hit the road south at 8:30am on a Friday, in torrential rain.
While the WLTP figures suggest a range of 440km for this battery, I had 380 km of range showing at 99% full. The Mach-E and I got on the motorway south, bearing in mind that wet roads always use more battery power in an EV, just as wet roads will use more petrol in a car with a petrol motor. Since we’re in an Irish-spec car, although I have the AWD model, this one is fitted with the smaller 75.7kWh battery pack. New Zealand versions of the AWD will have the bigger (98.7kWh) battery pack with a WLTP range of 550km.
Setting the cruise control on, I absolutely love Ford’s Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control. It’s almost a totally set-and-forget system; it reads the speed limit signs, and adjusts the cruise control speed to that current speed limit. That’s pretty much it. If you hit an 80km/h zone, cruise control will drop to 80km/h. It’s so easy and simple, I hope this filters down to all other cars with adaptive cruise control.
While the tyres are very quiet on smooth surfaces, there’s a bit of drone on coarse chip seal. It’s not bad and certainly not the worst I’ve heard, but with nearly all other road noise reduced to almost zero, the tyre noise can be a little intrusive, even when it’s just me in the car.
I switched on Lane Keep Assist and allowed the car to manage the steering, with me just lightly holding the wheel. It’s mostly excellent, and responds quickly, for example when changing lanes – it will start working again very quickly. I did find on this entire 600km journey that it didn’t like the rain too much. About 20% of the time when I was using it, it didn’t pick up the lines on the road. It’s still a very good system, and it’s quite possible that with any other car I would have had the same result. The rain on the way south was incredible, and it didn’t let up for 9 hours.
The ride feels good and compliant, and as mentioned, wind and road noise is well subdued. There is a comfort level in the Mach-E that’s hard to describe; I think it’s a feeling of being cossetted in the cabin, while still knowing what’s happening outside the car. With bucketloads of rain coming down, it all feels eerily calm on the inside.
Still heading south, Taupo approached and while I still had 50km left, with all the rain sucking up my range, I doubt I’d make it to Turangi where the next charger is. So far, I’d driven 230km from Auckland with energy consumption at 21kWh/100Km.
So I headed into Taupo township to the two hyperchargers. These give far more charge to the car than can be had by a fast charger (which maxes out at 50kW). Unfortunately for me, both hyperchargers were being used, as was the fast charger at the same location.
I headed five minutes down the road to the next fast charger, and plugged in. Obviously, it was going to take longer than a hypercharger, but needs must. I arrived with 17% charge left and after 58 minutes, had 80% for a range of 290km. This cost me $18 in charging fees. While charging, I got the laptop out and did some work, so it wasn’t really time lost. If I was at the hypercharger, more than likely I would have gone and eaten somewhere even though I wasn’t hungry, so sort of a win-win there.
When I got to the Desert Road, the rain was still extremely heavy but by some stroke of luck, I cleared the traffic and got a clear run through all the gnarly corners on this road. Even in the wet and with the Mustang Mach-E weighing 2,182kg, it did brilliantly well, feeling composed and controlled on all corners. It actually felt better than on the track the day before (in the dry) but perhaps it was the more cambered corners on this road that helped it along. Regardless, it was a fun drive, although can always feel that weight watching over you.
I decided to head straight to Mangaweka to plug into one of the two hyperchargers there, but again, both were being used. With 99km of range and a 53km drive to Bulls, I carried on, cruised into Bulls and plugged in. In less than 20 minutes, I had 70% charge and 250km of range – plenty for the 169km drive home.
Seat comfort over that long trip was excellent, and I did use the 4-way electric lumbar adjust a few times. Pulling into my driveway, I felt relatively relaxed and not too exhausted; I think the brilliant cruise control and the Lane Keep Assist helped reduce any fatigue on that 600km run. My energy consumption sat at 21kWh/100km, acceptable for this size of EV and allowing for the wet weather.
While we have yet to use the 2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E in daily life, first impressions are excellent. It’s smooth, refined, well-built and loaded with extras. At this stage, I am loving the 2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E.