Ford Mustang Mach-E: Best Car To Buy 2021 nominee

The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E has the styling cues of its pony car namesake, the roominess of a crossover SUV, and the performance that bridges the gap between them. With a 300-mile range that rivals only the Tesla Model Y and a price that undercuts it by at least $7,000, Ford's electric crossover appeals to the masses like a Model T for the electrified age. 

Starting at $43,995, it's affordable, easy to operate, fun to drive, and stays relevant with over-the-air updates. The lack of tailpipe emissions is an added bonus Henry Ford never could have accounted for when the Model T launched in 1908, at the peak of the smoke-filled industrial age that was fueled in no small part by the advent of the personal vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine. The evolutionary Mach-E checks all the boxes as a nominee for The Car Connection's Best Car To Buy 2021.  

Branding it a Mustang is not just marketing flimflammery aimed at capitalizing on an American icon half as old as the Model T. Perhaps Ford is on a 56-year cadence for upending the automotive paradigm? Draw the lines, do the math, conspiracy theorists.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

Regardless, the Mustang team was instrumental in the design and execution of Ford's first mass produced electric vehicle with a dedicated platform i.e. not the Ford Focus Electric. The long hood with twin peaks, the nose dipping into the vertical front, the sequential indicators on the fishbone taillights, the muscular rear haunches housing a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, all honor the Mustang more so than the galloping pony icons stamped front, back, and inside. 

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

The similarities mostly end there. It lacks the whip crack rear end that rotates like so many V-8 Mustangs, but it can still cook with a 0-60 mph time of 4.8 seconds with the larger 88-kwh battery pack and a second motor mounted up front for all-wheel drive. A forthcoming GT model can do it in 3.5 seconds. Gut-dropping acceleration uninterrupted by gear shifts is the secret joy of owning an electric vehicle, and the Mustang Mach-E upholds that in every configuration, even in rear-wheel-drive models, where range is maxed out at 300 miles but propulsion is slowed to a 0-60 mph time of 6.1 seconds.

Even with the smaller 68-kwh pack mounted under the floor between the axles, the Mach-E has a low center of gravity and a lower ride height than other SUVs. An independent suspension helps it react to the driver's inputs and road conditions; even though it leans into turns and initially plows into corners like a front-wheel drive car, the Mach-E is fun to drive.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E first drive - Portland, OR

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E first drive - Portland, OR

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E first drive - Portland, OR

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E first drive - Portland, OR

It also lacks the crammed interior of the Mustang. The Mach-E seats five and with no driveshaft tunnel it can actually fit five adults. The coupe-like roofline is offset by a fixed-glass roof on all but the base Select model that opens up the airy sensation and provides more head room in back. Clever packaging such as a tiered storage floor offer a very crossover-like 29.7 cubic feet of space; fold down the 60/40 rear seats for 59.7 cubic feet, and if that's not enough drop a couple carry-ons into the 4.8 cubes in the front trunk. 

The Mach-E comes loaded with Ford’s latest safety features, including automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. A 15.5-inch touchscreen serves as a mastermind of controls, though the lower quadrant always shows climate controls, and a volume dial simplifies the simplest task. The Mach-E pairs with smartphones for wireless charging, to use as a key, and to monitor the vehicle, among other things. An available hands-free driving system is coming soon, but leather upholstery isn't.

The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E is a worthy contender, and a proud heir to the Ford legacy. 

Follow along as we crown The Car Connection's Best Car To Buy 2021 on Jan. 4, and reveal the best vehicles in 15 categories to help you choose the best cars, trucks, and SUVs. Vote for our annual Driver’s Choice awards and tell us what you think is best in every category. We'll also announce the winners from our sister sites, Motor Authority and Green Car Reports

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