Used Ford Mustang Mach-E long-term test
The Mustang Mach-E is an electric family SUV with a high-tech interior, but what's it like to live with and is it a good car? We're finding out...
The car Ford Mustang Mach-E Standard Range RWD Run by Jim Holder, editorial director
Why it's here Ford’s first mainstream electric car needs to prove it can compete with the very best electric SUVs
Needs to Offer something more than its rivals – Ford is late to the electric party, so it's overdue a landmark EV
Miles covered 18,301 Price when new £42,530 Price when new with all options £42,530 Value on arrival £33,537 Dealer value now £33,501 Private value now £31,098 Test range 198 miles Official range 273 miles Running costs £946 (charging)
21 January 2023 – Farewell to a flawed electric car
Suspension, suspension, suspension. Pitched and bucked by the Ford Mustang Mach-E’s misguided rear settings for the best part of a year, I developed something of a one-dimensional response to anyone who dared ask me what I thought of the car.
The problem was a hangover from the car’s name – or more specifically the engineering team’s determination to ensure that it had a sprinkling of the muscle car magic that had made the original Ford Mustang so much of an icon.
Sadly, giving an electric family SUV the ability to slide its back end if you drive it really hard seemingly came at the cost of scant control of what the rear got up to in more mundane circumstances, especially on the UK’s motorway network. The constant head wagging it prompted was really quite wearing and undermined any enjoyment I got from the car.
Some say drivers these days don’t worry about the intricacies of suspension set-up, and to large degrees there may be a truth to that; our roads are too busy and too well patrolled to be charging around everywhere. But if ever you wanted an example of what a bad rather than mediocre effort could do to your overall enjoyment of a car, this was it.
That was a pity, because the Mach-E is an otherwise decent car. Nowhere was this more apparent than when it conveyed us, four up, on a busy family holiday to Norfolk and back. You-know-what aside, we did almost 1000 content miles in two weeks – and, yes, before you ask, we were able to charge it without once queuing or making major detours.
In fact, if you could ignore its tendency to bounce – and I can only imagine some people can, given its strong sales – and you never drove another rival, you could reasonably make a case for it being good enough, if not exactly good. It was spacious enough for the four of us to go away for two weeks, had a decent if not startling 220-mile range in summer (200 in winter), was reasonably efficient on the move and charged decently quickly.
Nevertheless, after almost a year of ownership, and despite the significant grumbles, it’s notable that I do still have a lot of affection for the Mach-E. It is a bold first attempt at a mainstream electric car, from its throwback name and the decision to use Mustang rather than Ford badging through to its distinctive styling, massive infotainment screen and quirky, if slightly pointless, push buttons on the doors (rather than handles). I reckon these gimmicks add a lustre to the car – if little in the way of rational reasons for buying one.
Finally, there is a twist in this tale, illustrated by the two cars pictured below, one arriving as mine was departing. Back in spring 2022 Ford announced a raft of updates for the Mach-E, headlined by some tech and range updates, but quietly including some significantly tweaked suspension settings.
Given all the criticism I’d heaped its way, it seemed only right to test this updated car as soon as Ford had one that wasn’t earmarked for a paying customer (not easy in these semiconductor-restricted times).
The result? A near transformation. I cannot report on the finer details of its track handling, and nor do I really care if it’s now less fun at high-speed as a result, but I can say that the back end feels tied down like never before. While that has hardened the ride generally, it’s a fact that heavy EVs with rigid batteries running their length generally struggle to manage potholes and imperfections without the wallop unsettling things.
My major gripe is cured – and future owners will get a much better car as a result. There are still too many shortcomings compared with rivals for the Mach-E to be rated among the class leaders, but at least it demonstrates that Ford knows how to do better if it is to shine again as a leader into the electric era.
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Used Ford Mustang Mach-E long-term test: report 9
The Mustang Mach-E is an electric family SUV with a high-tech interior, but what's it like to live with and is it a good car? We're finding out