After all the announcements during 2023, it was great to see that the Ford Mustang Mach-E had finally arrived in Brisbane, Queensland. A few demonstrator models have been sprinkled around the different Ford dealerships and we had to be quick to get a test drive. From the website, it looked like only 4 had arrived and they were only available at each spot for a few days. So, I booked it early and we drove around the block from the dealership this afternoon.
The Ford website lists New South Wales, Victori,a and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) as “coming soon.” No dealerships outside the population centres of Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Sunshine Coast are listed, adding to my belief that there are only a few cars available in the country.
It is certainly a magnificent car and a pleasure to drive. Unfortunately, Ford has placed severe restrictions on the test drives and we couldn’t really test out the specs on the GT version we drove. The SUV compared well to the Polestar 2 for fit, finish, and comfort, and the Tesla Model Y for size, but was much more expensive than both. On the road, the Mach-E Select is over AU$88,000, the Premium AU$113,000, and the GT AU$124,000. The red Tesla Model Y Performance currently sells for AU$100,000.
The viewing experience was relaxed, with no pressure applied. The sales rep had some knowledge but was willing to admit he was still learning. We played with the buttons and knobs and learned together. The dealership on the north side of Brisbane has only recently been certified by Ford to sell EVs and so it has not yet installed a fast charger. The car comes with only a type 2–to–type 2 cable, and so trickle charging at the dealership was not an option.
We were unable to take the car on the highway to test the 0-to-100 km/h capabilities (advertised as 3.6 seconds – a tiny bit slower than the Tesla Y Performance, but a lot faster than the V8 Mustang Mach 1).
The sales representative told us that the Ford F-150 Lightning will not come to Australia. Nor is Ford likely to bring out any more petrol Mustangs. But Ford is advertising a plugin hybrid Ranger for 2025. Shame we aren’t getting the Chevy Bolt. Customers who have ordered the Mach-E could have to wait for up to 12 months for some trims. “It depends on our allocation,” he said. I reached out to the Mustang Australia Facebook group with the question “has anyone taken a Mach E for a test drive?” I got the response — “Why would you?”
Previously, I had had this slightly more positive responses from Facebook: “Every brand has to be seen to be making an environmentally friendly car. Ticks a box.” And I also got this: “I’d buy one. If you look past the ‘mustang’ name which people seem so oddly fixated on, it’s a great performance SUV.” I agree.
The electric blue Mustang Mach-E we drove sat in the dealer parking lot surrounded by Ford’s other big chunky offerings. No Falcons, Fiestas, or Focus. All light trucks and SUVs. The electric blue of the Mustang Mach-E stood out in the crowd of white, grey, and black. It is a car designed to be noticed on the motorway. It might be quiet, but it is definitely not a boring car.
Unlike the Tesla Model 3 door handles, which we are used to (they remind us of our 1964 Wolseley – push in the fat bit and pull out the handle), the Mustang had a push button on the driver’s door pillar with enhanced PIN number security. Foot on the brake and press the ON button for the car to turn on. The button seemed a bit redundant.
The Mustang can be driven in three different settings — Whisper, Active, and Untamed. These were presented whimsically on the main screen. We were disappointed that we couldn’t access untamed and had to drive in “active.” In active, the acceleration was comparable to our Model 3 SR. Unlike the BYD Atto 3, there was not an overuse of physical buttons on the dash. Voice control was available for some functions. “Where is the nearest charging station?” worked.
We thought that the front of the Mach-E was a similar shape to the MG ZS EV. The wheels were amazing — they looked like legs. The car could have been a little more aerodynamic, but it is an SUV after all. The Mach-E has familiar Mustang features like the horse emblem and the triple tail lights. I was disappointed that the low speed warning sound was not more like the sound of galloping hooves.
The brief test drive was smooth and comfortable. I appreciated the ability to see some of the data on the main screen. Having two screens in the Mustang meant that icons could be larger. “I can see the time!” I can’t see this on the Tesla as I need reading glasses and they don’t go well with driving.
Like all new cars that are full of tech it would take some time to explore all the options.
The screen behind the steering had battery capacity in both percentages and range displayed at the same time. During the drive, Majella only checked the smaller screen behind the steering wheel occasionally to make sure she wasn’t exceeding the speed limit. Sadly, we only got the chance to drive around the block in city traffic. “It’s not our car,” the rep explained, “We have been told that if someone puts their foot down, we have to end the drive.”
Majella did manage to find a steep hill to check how the Mach-E would handle it. “Not a problem! Just as powerful as the SR going uphill.” The turning circle was also similar. We returned to the dealership to check out more of the car’s features. The Mach-E gives tyre pressure readings — but the rep didn’t know that was there. To be fair, he had only had the car for a few days. Two sales reps had received some training. Also note that the Mach-E comes with a portable air compressor for the tyres.
What has a Mach-E got that we don’t have on our Tesla? A 360-degree camera and reversing camera that gives more details. I felt that it was perhaps too much input, though. The boot on the Mach-E is slightly smaller in depth than our Tesla 3’s — which was a bit of a surprise when you consider that the Mach E is an SUV. However, the frunk is bigger, and even has a release switch in case a child gets locked in.
The rep reported that they had had about ten people for test drives in the couple of days that the car was in situ, and many more customers who had ordered the car sight unseen. Looks like the electric pony is going to sell well Down Under and add to the increase in EV penetration of new car sales. As we left, another couple arrived to take the car for a short canter around the block. Ford is on to a winner — should have entered the Melbourne Cup.
Our overall impression: It’s a good car that will sell well to Ford fans. Whether it will prove popular with Mustang owners and car drivers of other brands is to be seen.
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