There are no circumstances or alternate realities in which a motoring journalist would be classed as a key worker. Ventriloquists stand a better chance. However, during the gloom of a January lockdown it does give you a legitimate reason for escaping your own four walls — and indeed postcode — in the name of work.
In my case, the new Ford Mustang Mach-E was as close to a getaway car as I’ve ever come. As a disclaimer, it is possible that all the excitement may have coloured my objectivity over the following paragraphs. Never has the A21 looked so full of possibility.
First, though, we need to get the name thing out of the way. You might be wondering how an all-electric crossover SUV with a vegan leather interior relates to the original Mustang: a throaty, thirsty, two-door muscle car made famous when Steve McQueen donutted his way around San Francisco during Bullitt in 1968. And it’s a fair thing to wonder upon.
Aside from a few shared styling details like the raised front haunches, the short answer seems to be that, as its first bona fide, all-electric car, which has taken some serious efforts and investment to develop, the marketers at Ford want the world to be as excited about it as they are.
In fact, there isn’t a Ford badge to be found anywhere on this car, only the familiar Mustang pony. Parked among the usual metal on a London street, the Mach-E is tall, handsome and carries a little swagger. Once you’ve worked out how to open the handle-free doors, you’re greeted by a pleasingly spare and tactile cabin, dominated by the world’s biggest tablet outside of Ancient Greece.
The horse theme is stretched into the three drive modes — Whisper, Active and Untamed (are you following?) — each of which alters the throttle, steering and pedal settings, as well as the ambient lighting. Untamed also plays fake engine noise through the Bang & Olufsen sound system for anyone suffering withdrawals.
Hit the accelerator and the pull is instant; an electric car characteristic that never gets dull. In this, the Extended Range AWD, its two electric motors manage a 0–62mph time of 5.1secs and produce 346bhp. Coming soon is a GT that looks set to become the world’s fastest-accelerating electric SUV of all (it’s already claiming 0–62mph in 3.7secs). Until then, this one is plenty punchy enough.
The battery promises a range of 335 miles on full charge, enough to get you from London to, say, Hadrian’s Wall, give or take. And it’s likely such a journey would pass by very pleasantly. The clear, intuitive display and roomy interior provide a sense of calm, the power train adding the purpose. In the back, there’s room for three sizeable adults who are able to enjoy the panoramic roof (with infrared protection, of course). And if you also wanted you could stop en route to make use of the Mach-E’s sizeable ‘frunk’, which somewhat improbably has been built to work as a cooler for tailgate parties. Shrimp anyone?
Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to test out this function myself. A roadside cook-out might have been seen as stretching the work remit a little. Either way, on returning home, the overall impression is of a smart, refined and very capable rival to the Polestar 2 and coming Tesla Model Y.
My getaway car had served me well. Only one problem — it had brought me home again