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2021 Mustang Mach-E

Ford first set out to design an all-electric SUV simply to comply with California’s increasingly strict emissions laws. But, along the way, Ford’s new “Team Edison” laid out a much more aggressive target: an all-electric car for the masses. And the Mustang Mach-E hit the showroom for the 2021 campaign with an eye-catching design and a range that far outstripped Ford’s earlier Focus EV. With its “pony car” performance it is ready to challenge fast-growing rival Tesla’s Model Y—especially with the GT version that is just rolling into showrooms.

The decision to forgo the classic Mustang’s coupe body is controversial, yet offers higher seating, room for four and plenty of cargo space. A setback roof makes it appear more steeply raked and aggressive. The minimalist cabin adds a reconfigurable instrument cluster that floats behind the steering wheel. A massive center-mounted touchscreen replaces most traditional knobs and buttons.

As with the classic Mustang, Ford plans a spectrum of Mach-E performance packages. The base car has a single, 266-horsepower motor driving the rear wheels, which is more impressive when you remember that electric motors make maximum torque the moment they start spinning. The mid-range package adds a smaller, second motor on the front axle, introducing Mustang to all-wheel drive and boosting output to 346 horsepower with 428 pound-feet of torque—enough to go 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. Now, the Mach-E GT, with optional performance pack, bumps the numbers to 480 horsepower and 634 pound-feet, with 0 to 60 times not only rivaling the vaunted Shelby Mustang GT500, but putting it in Porsche territory.

Borrowing from the Tesla playbook, Ford offers an optional, 98 kWh battery pack that extends range to an EPA-estimated 300 miles. Owners can also plug into the latest public fast-chargers, getting an 80 percent top-off in as little as 45 minutes.

Ford’s Team Edison took advantage of Mach-E’s skateboard-like architecture, placing batteries and motors below the load floor to repurpose space normally devoted to an engine compartment. That means not only more cabin space, but a suitcase-sized “frunk” under the hood. Other distinctive features include three driver modes that amp up performance and offer subtle audio soundtracks inside the otherwise near-silent cabin. The big touchscreen can plot a route and show you the best places to charge up along the way.

Traditionalists may be in a huff over a Mustang SUV—and an electric one, no less—but, the 2021 Mustang Mach-E not only lives up to the original pony car’s heritage, but delivers an EV mainstream buyers can learn to love. Tesla needs to start looking over its shoulder.

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