MUSTANG. If you are of a certain age the name Mustang will conjure up memories of growling V-8 engines, rear wheel drive, a low slung driving position and a bonnet which seemed to stretch all the way to the horizon.

In Blighty, the Mustang is the definitive American muscle car. In fact, for many years it was the only American muscle car (partly because General Motors couldn’t be bothered to import the Dodge Charger, the Chevrolet Camaro and the Pontiac GTO to the UK).

You can still buy a traditional Mustang. It’s got a 5.0-litre V8 engine that can spin the wheels in fourth when you’re driving in a straight line and has the menacing coupe looks that has made generations of Mustangs so popular.

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But now you can buy another Mustang.

Only it’s a bit... different.

It doesn’t have a V-8 engine - actually, it doesn’t have an engine at all - and, although it drives the rear wheels it also sends power to the front wheels as well.

What nonsense is this?

The Mustang Mach-E shares a name in common with its illustrious cousin and a few styling cues (such as the rear lights and the bonnet) but in just about every other respect it couldn’t be more different.

It’s not even a coupe; it’s an SUV.

It’s not all bad news if you’re a performance car fan because in top spec GT guise the Mach-E can still call on 480bhp and, in true electric car fashion, all of that power is available pretty much instantly. Mash your right foot and this car goes. It weighs more than two tonnes but hits 62mph in a very impressive 3.7 seconds.

Even the entry level model has 265bhp, the standard model has the same horsepower but more torque and the extended range version trades performance for distance.

You can select one of three modes. Active, the default setting, is a commonsense blend of performance and range; the eco-focused Whisper mode prioritises energy saving and the amusingly named Untamed mode goes all out. The Untamed setting is indecently quick, but the less said about the V8 engine noise that’s piped into the cabin through the speakers, the better.

Inside, the Mach-E offers a comfortable and useable interior. As is the trend these days, most of the heating and infotainment switchgear has been dumped in favour of a huge tablet-style touchscreen that looks as though it has been just stuck on the dashboard. It’s fairly slick and the screen responds promptly to finger presses. Call me old-fashioned but I’d still rather have a few buttons and knobs to fiddle with.

The main digital instrument cluster is clear, but no attempt has been made to make the panel anything other than purely functional, and the stalks feel a bit low-rent in a car costing nearly £60,000.

In the real world, though, the Mach-E is something of a triumph.

It has a realistic range-to-empty of more than 300 miles and was the first EV I’ve tested which could tackle long trips without range anxiety kicking in.

There’s a big 402 litre boot and a smaller one in the front that’s a handy size for shopping bags and charging cables. The rear seats split 60/40.

Three adults can fit in the back and as it’s an SUV there’s enough headroom to wear a top hat. Accommodation in the front is generous, and the Mustang remains comfortable even on the longest journeys.

If you are a company car driver the benefit-in-kind cost will put a smile on your face and if you charge it up at home overnight the Mustang will cost pennies to run.

So should you get one? Actually, if you’re after an EV that mixes parsimony with performance the Mustang pretty much demands to be on your shopping list. Just don’t mention the V-8 soundtrack.

 

Price: from £40,350 Engine: battery-elec motor Max power: 480 bhp Max torque: 860 Nm Top speed: 112 mph 0-62MPH: 3.7 seconds

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SUMMING UP: Much more than a one-trick pony, the Mustang is a great family car that lives up to its illustrious heritage.powered by batteries which supply current to a couple of electric motors.

 

Want to know more? The click on Ford's Mustang Mach-E website here