Ford’s First Australian EV Takes the Mustang Name for a Ride

Ford’s First Australian EV Takes the Mustang Name for a Ride

The Ford Mustang Mach-E is a confusing car. It’s tonnes of fun, it’s a brilliant thing to drive and to be driven in, and it’s gorgeous, yes, but it really makes you wonder what Ford is up to. 

The ‘Mustang’ badge has never applied to an SUV or an electric car, and as far as I can tell, the only things linking it to the Mustang range are just cosmetic touchstones – such as the horse badge, the fake grille design, the chassis shape, the brake light slits, and the artificial roar the car produces at high speed. 

The Mustang Mach-E is one of my most highly anticipated electric cars of 2023, and in late September, Ford invited me to take it for a spin in Queensland (including around the Norwell Motorplex). Here’s what I thought of the e-pony car.

mustang mach-e
Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

‘Electric ponies live here’

That’s, apparently, inscribed on the motor in the front of the Mustang Mach-E, according to some of the folks at Ford Australia. I couldn’t verify this because I didn’t have a car hoist to raise the car up, but it has been confirmed on the Mach-E forum. Just a bit of fun to get us started.

mustang mach-e
We get it. You think you’re a horse. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

The Ford Mustang Mach-E enters the Australian market as a competitor to the Tesla Model Y, and by extension the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, and the BMW iX1 – particularly middle-priced trims of these cars. It’s not a competitively-priced EV, but it is banking heavily on the ‘Mustang’ namesake to give it a performance edge over the competition (likely to have the broadest market appeal: Ford + Mustang + SUV + electric is a bit of a mix). It’s likely that the upcoming Ford Puma EV will be cheaper, but pricing hasn’t been confirmed yet.

Here are the models available in Australia:

  • Mach-E Select: $79,990, with 470km WLTP range (RWD)
  • Mach-E Premium: $91,665, with 600km WLTP range (RWD)
  • Mach-E GT: $107,665, with 490km WLTP range (AWD).

The Mach-E GT is pictured in this article, though it’s worth noting that the Premium and Select have a much different-looking grille.

All models are equipped to charge at a maximum of 150kWh DC, which you might not think of as high enough (considering that most of the previously stated competitors can charge above 200kWh), but this might be fine for some drivers – just hang around public chargers for a little bit longer.

That’s a huge door, my god. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

These are perfectly fine range estimations in my opinion, though the Select falls short of the Model Y Long Range’s 533km range (at $78,400), and the 507km WLTP range of the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Dynamiq ($72,000), but more than a lot of other electric cars, the Mach-E wants you to feel powerful behind the wheel.

Full-throttle, the Mustang Mach-E makes a tremendous electric roar through the speakers, although the 0-100km/h speed of the GT is matched by the uniquely quiet Model Y Performance (both capable of 0-100km/h in just 3.7 seconds). The Select does this in 6.6 seconds, and the Premium in 6.2 seconds.

mustang mach-e
The ‘GT’ badge replaces the Pony on the back on the GT model. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

All three models include a 15-inch display in the centre console. It’s a little big, in my opinion, and because the corners of it aren’t indented, you may bump your left leg on the corner of the screen when getting out. The operating system is, however, really nice and responsive, and unlike many car operating systems, it doesn’t feel too overwhelming.

Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

The wheel at the bottom of the display is, however, a unique choice for Ford to make, but it never became an issue – adaptively, this wheel changes temperature and volume, depending on the menu you have open.

Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

Other tech featured across the models include a 10.2-inch cluster display behind the wheel (which I found a bit small, but not really an issue), a B&O sound system, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, wireless phone charging, over-the-air updates, ‘FordPass’ smartphone app connectivity, and a 360 camera.

Can’t beat a nice panoramic roof. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

There’s also a beautiful panoramic roof that makes the car feel extremely spacious, and 402 litres of boot space (1,420 litres including the rear seating area, plus 81 litres in the frunk).

Crikey, that’s a lot of frunk. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

Oh, we also absolutely need to talk about the door handles. See in the image below, the bit of plastic that protrudes out of the corner of the front seat door? That’s the door handle, but it’s static – it doesn’t move. The button above it gets pressed in, and that unlocks the door. For the back seats, there’s a button on the window column, but no handle. This was very much a non-issue, but it’s weird. I’m so confused about how this can even make it to a production model, what’s wrong with a door handle? The handle on the front doors just looks strange.

Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

Additionally, all three trims include the same safety and assistance features – blind spot and cross-traffic detection, pre-collision assistance, autonomous emergency braking, reverse brake assistance, adaptive cruise control, and evasive steer assist.

The Premium, for the most part, includes battery and power upgrades over the Select, whereas the GT adds in 20-inch rims (19-inch on the others), Ford’s ‘MagneRide’ suspension system, Brembo brakes, and a more sporty interior.

All three convey the sense of power you’d expect from a Mustang, inside and out. the GT just means it. While I was able to take the Select and Premium for drives around a preset route near the Gold Coast, Ford invited journalists to thrash the GT around the Norwell Motorplex. It is a bloody rocket, let me tell you. Braking is fast, steering is extremely satisfying, and the car’s acceleration is enough to make even me a bit queasy. If you’re a track day enthusiast after an all-rounder electric car, this might be the one.

mustang mach-e
Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

Looking Ford to it

Originally released in the U.S. in 2020, it’s a shame that the Ford Mustang Mach-E has taken this long to come to Australia, but it’s not surprising – new EVs released overseas tend to take months or even years to make their way down under. I think the Mustang Mach-E might be the perfect cross-section for some drivers after an enthusiast’s car that can double as the family mover, holiday car, and the muck-about fun car.

But also, part of me thinks that this is an anomalous market. Admittedly without the Mustang badge, the Ioniq 5 and the Kia EV6 are extremely fun cars with entry-level models much cheaper than the Mach-E Select.

mustang mach-e
Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

With this in mind, I wonder how long it’ll take Ford to release the Puma EV, or a cheaper Mach-E variant, in Australia. I don’t believe they’ll be getting many drivers trading in their combustion-engine Mustang muscle cars for electric SUVs, and among electric SUVs available locally, the price of the Mach-E seems a bit high to compete with its rivals.

But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a fun car to drive. For what it’s worth, with all of the Mustang styling queues that make you think you’re driving a muscle car, from the artificial roar to the pony car styling on the front, the Mach-E does a great job.

Keep in mind I only got a day to drive the car around, and I’ll have more refined thoughts later on, when I get access to the Mach-E for a full review.

The Ford Mustang Mach-E is set to arrive in Australia by the end of the year.

Zachariah Kelly travelled to Queensland as a guest of Ford.

Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

Want more Aussie car news? Here’s every EV we’ve reviewed in the last two years, all the EVs we can expect down under soon, and our guide to finding EV chargers across the country. Check out our dedicated Cars tab for more.

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