A Car for Sunday: Ford Mustang Mach-E

A chance encounter afforded an opportunity to assess Ford’s first bespoke mainstream EV.

All Images (c) the author

Taking the air on a lovely crisp late autumn morning, my eyes were drawn to the vehicle you see pictured here today, the Ford Mustang Mach-E. To the uninitiated, however, its manufacturer would remain a mystery, as there’s no sign of the blue oval badge anywhere on the exterior. Neither, for that matter, does the word Mustang appear. The only verbal clue to its provenance is the legend Mach-E positioned low down on the front doors. We will return to this curiosity later.

Launched in December 2020, the Mustang Mach-E is Ford’s first(1) bespoke mass-production electric vehicle. It is a mid-sized(2) crossover with a wheelbase of 2,984mm (117½”) and overall length of 4,739mm (186½”). It is produced in rear or all-wheel-drive forms. The Mach-E is available with a 70kWh standard range or a 91kWh extended range Lithium-Ion battery pack. In RWD form, they offer WLTP maximum ranges of up to 440 or 611km (273 or 379 miles) respectively. In AWD form, the extra weight reduces the WLTP maximum ranges to 400 or 540km (248 or 335 miles).

There is also a GT version with (only) the extended range battery pack, which is equipped with a more powerful 358kW electric motor. The GT achieves a breathtaking 0 to 100km/h (62mph) time of just 3.7 seconds. This version  has a reduced WLTP maximum range of 500km (310 miles) which is still impressive, given the performance on offer.

The Mach-E was styled in-house at Ford and is attributed to Chris Walter, Exterior Design Manager. Interestingly, Ford decided against introducing a new and distinct design theme for what will undoubtedly be the first of a range of EVs. Instead, there are strong hints of Kuga, Puma and even Focus to be found in the Mach-E. This observation is not intended as a criticism and, while it does not advertise its new form of propulsion boldly, there is much to appreciate in the Mach-E’s design.

The flanks are really very nicely resolved. The haunches over both front and rear wheels fade out into the centre of the door skins, which also contain two rising feature lines. The latter, and the semi-circular creases in the wings around the wheel arches, add some tension and reduce the visual height of the body. All of these creases are quite subtle and consistent with each other, so sit happily together, catching the light in a way that is very pleasing.

The smooth body-coloured front end hints at a traditional grille shape(3) in outline. Below this is a more conventional valance with a black plastic insert that is slightly cheap looking but is also unusually modest and unaggressive for this type of vehicle. Likewise, at the back: apart from the slightly fussy Mustang-inspired tail lights, the rear end is smooth and clean looking, avoiding the busy ‘multi-layered’ styling trope widely used by other automakers on this type of vehicle.

The gloss black painted roof flows into the rear spoiler in an attempt to give the Mach-E a coupé style side profile. I had expected to dislike the artifice of this treatment, but it actually works rather well. I think this is because there is a distinct change in the cross-sectional profile where the body-coloured cant rails meet the black roof(4), creating a natural line for the change of colour.

The push-button door handles look exceptionally neat, although I have no idea how ergonomic they are in use. At least Ford didn’t go for the (to my eyes) incoherent mix of conventional front and ‘hidden’ rear door handles.

Inside, there is the inevitable EV design cliché of a large rectangular portrait-orientated touchscreen that appears to be floating above the centre console. A smaller rectangular display sits in front of the driver. Both of these screens look rather incongruous when surrounded by smoothly curved mouldings elsewhere.

Overall, in an era of hyperactive and extremely noisy automotive design, the Mach-E is pleasingly quiet, but not at all bland. The example I inspected would have benefitted from a wash but, even in its grubby state, the play of light across its subtly contoured surfaces was very pleasant to behold(5). I can think of a number of similarly sized crossovers from more prestigious automakers that are nothing as competently styled as the Mach-E.

Autocar magazine tested the Mach-E earlier this year and awarded it four stars out of five, describing it as “among the best attempts yet to give an electric car genuine dynamic appeal” and concluding that its “huge range provides the car with impressive GT legs and greater usability than rivals”. High praise indeed for Ford’s first EV.

Returning to my opening comment concerning badging, it is disappointing that Ford has apparently decided that the blue oval is devalued to the extent that it is no longer worthy of the Mach-E. The repurposing of Mustang as a sub-brand for EVs is, to my mind, a mistake. This is more likely to annoy those who hold Mustang in high regard than it is to impress those who are indifferent to the heritage of that name. The Mach-E would be an excellent European flagship for Ford in its post-Mondeo range, but instead seems to be an opportunity missed, as many non-car people will simply not recognise it as a Ford at all, which would be a shame.

 

(1) Neither the 1967 Comuta nor the 1999 Think City could ever be described as mainstream.

(2) Although it is a compact crossover in US terms.

(3) The GT version instead has a black patterned insert mimicking a grille.

(4) This suggests that the Mach-E was designed from the outset with this treatment in mind, unlike some other vehicles where duo-tone paint schemes are an obvious afterthought.

(5) Sadly, thanks to the limitations of the camera on my mobile phone and the ineptitude of its operator, my photos do not do full justice to the subtleties of the Mach-E’s contours.

 

Author: Daniel O'Callaghan

Shut-line obsessive...Hates rudeness, loves biscuits.

65 thoughts on “A Car for Sunday: Ford Mustang Mach-E”

  1. The Mustang Mach-E is a more or less regular sight on Dutch roads.

    I think the Ford name doesn’t have a lot of brand equity these days, at least over here. The Mach-E might have done the trick of re-establishing some of that, but on the other hand I can understand why they chose to market it as a Mustang. The prospective buyers of the Mach-e might be indifferent to the Mustang heritage, but they are most likely not indifferent to the Ford badge. And not in a good way.

    They do annoy the old-school Mustang aficionados, but I wonder if that is hurting Dearborn. How many would buy a Camaro or Challenger instead of a Mustang? Having said that, the Challenger is selling in good numbers, considering how old it is.

    On my morning walk yesterday I spotted two Mach-E’s, one in lucid red, the other in dark matter grey. And also a proper Mustang with a V8, which is a rare sight over here. Only one of these cars made my day.

    1. Talking about annoying old-school Mustang aficionados: I really don´t understand why Ford had to name its first bespoke EV SUV “Mustang”. Although it´s a different matter, I can´t imagine Porsche naming a new EV SUV “911”. That talks a lot about Ford desesperation and the lack of confidence in its own brand image.

      The Mach-E styling…well, it´s just another SUV.

    2. In the chapter titled “Desperate Times…” in the book of nomenclatural sins: it will be duly noted that Porsche wasn’t above glueing a “Turbo” nameplate on -their- fancy golf cart.

    3. And on the Taycan EV (unless that’s actually the ‘fancy golf cart’ being referred to!)

    4. Yes I meant the Taycan, a car which excites me more than a 911 that is larger and heavier than a 928.

      I don’t think badly of Ford for courting controversy here because I think the vehicle in question is “good” for what it is, as opposed to say the Skoda Enyaq which to me (on paper and in photos, I’ve never actually seen one, and if I did, would I be able to tell it from a Karoq?) is a huge letdown.

  2. Excellent article to wake up to on a cold Sunday, thank you. The Mach-E in that dark red colour looks very attractive in your photographs.

    Please book a test drive at your local Ford dealer. I would love to read about your experience behind the wheel in part two.

  3. The fact there is no external badging as to the marque of the car is actually worrying for Ford – it demonstrates both a lack of confidence and confused thinking. Remember when Austin Rover became Rover Group, it de-marqued the Metro, Maestro and Montego so that no named manufacturer laid claim to them publicly at all.

    Then pretending that it’s a Mustang but not bothering even with that marque’s badge externally underlines how half-hearted that pretence is.

    I am afraid I do find the design bland to the point of irritation, much as I do the Kuga, Puma and Focus (although the latter has grown on me with time). The faux grille shape really grates.

    Sorry, obviously a bit scratchy this Sunday morning …

    1. Hi S.V. Have you seen a Mach-E in the metal yet? The reason I ask is that I would also have regarded it as rather bland before seeing it a few days ago. I’m not at all a fan of this type of vehicle, but I was pleasantly surprised in this case.

    2. Ah, fair enough, we’ll have to agree to disagree in this case!

  4. Good morning all. Here are some much better photos of the Mach-E that show how the light plays across the contours of the bodywork:

    The yellow example shows the alternative front ‘grille’ treatment on the GT.

    1. Those photos show the de-luxe level of sculptural refinement on the car. It could have done better with simpler wheel arch profiles. The faux grille is no worse than ones I´ve seen on Tesla and Kia and others. The purist in me understands why a grille is perhaps design solipsism. Most customers can´t spell design solipsism and one can take design purism too far (when the product doesn´t sell). In one model cycle the grille will be gone.

    2. Does this show how the light plays or just how the design department wishes the light should play – in other word, are these very good photographs or digitally enhanced renders?

    3. Hi Patrick. I think they are the former, and not digitally enhanced. My first and last photos of the grubby red example above show something of the same effect and it was more obvious in reality. I was pleasantly surprised by both the sculptural quality of the bodywork and the depth and smoothness of the paintwork.

    4. The Mach-E really does look fluid and well-surfaced, even in crummy November light in Denmark. You can achieve this effect with the use of the curvature diagnostic tools available in CAD but the work was probably mostly done in the studio with clay. In order to achieve the effect you need to know what the rates of change of curvature should look like. The Focus has the same quality.

  5. Good morning, Daniel. What high standards of vehicle presentation you have! 🙂 I must admit my car only gets washed every couple of months. (OK, a bit more often if I’ve been using it on salty roads.)
    To the topic at hand: I don’t think I’ve seen a single Mach-E yet, to the extent that I don’t know if Ford are even trying to sell them in Ireland. Admittedly it’s in a vehicle format my eyes tend to pass over. In photos it seems rather bland and uninteresting with fussy front and rear treatments, but I’m prepared to reserve judgement until I see one in the metal. I’m really much more interested to see whether Ford’s take on the VW electric platform will achieve any meaningful differentiation from the id3/4 &etc. cars. If it does, and if of course the changes are actual improvements, then that car might be interesting…
    I do also wish car makers would stop inflicting enormous touch screens and push button door switches on their products. But that is probably a lost cause at this stage.

  6. Good morning Michael. Notwithstanding my ‘high standards’ of car presentation, I have to confess that I haven’t washed a car in over a decade. I leave that job to the really hard-working guys at our local hand car wash centre who always do a very thorough job. My excuse is that our house faces directly onto the street, so there is no outside hard standing where I might do the job myself. The truth is that, at roughly two-thirds of the way through my life, there are not enough years remaining to justify spending time washing cars!

    On another subject, I came across this picture of a heavily crashed Mach-E this morning while looking for the two photos in my comment above:

    The other side is just as bad, following a high-speed crash on a highway in Arizona. Thankfully, the occupants were not seriously hurt, but it got me thinking about the difficulty of extracting unconscious occupants in after such a crash without proper door handles. I’m sure there has to be some sort of fail-safe, but cannot imagine what it might be, other than smash a window, of course.

  7. I’m sure I’ve seen a Mach-E in Kerry, but it might have been a tourist. Surely Ford are missing a trick by not offering an ICE version ?

    1. Hello Mervyn – they are available in Ireland, and appear to have sold 30 last year and 9 this year (assuming that ‘Mustang’ means Mach-E in the data).

      Daniel, as for the doors, they apparently have have ‘super-capacitors’. What this appears to boil down to is that the system should retain residual charge to get you out when there’s no power.

      https://jalopnik.com/heres-how-the-2021-ford-mustang-mach-es-unusual-doors-w-1839923650

      Richard, re the Ford brand, they had a history of making distinctively-styled cars, which were good value and fun at the time, but which had a ‘disposable’ air about them. However, as time moved on, they dated badly and fell in to the hands of people who modified them badly. Vauxhalls suffer(ed) from the same fate and old perceptions linger. Kia, Toyota and other manufacturers haven’t suffered in the same way.

  8. As Freerk noted above, the Mach-E is not uncommon here and so I have seen a few driving around. I agree with Daniel that the design works better in the metal (the car is really not that photogenic) and it seems to suit darker colours, which also serve to tone down the artifice of the gloss-black roof extension.

    I had not noticed the lack of Ford badges; that really is a little sad, though quite appropriate to our hyper-individualised, no-niche-too-small times… it seems I too am a little cranky this morning. Another espresso needed, I think.

  9. Styling-wise I see this as out of the same good box as the Focus. I´d love to be able to put words on the exact character and the best I can come up with is “fluidity”. You get the feeling that the form of a sheet shaped by wind inspired the surfacing (a flag in a strong gale). Like the Fiesta and Focus it is quite a striking effect. Added to this the quality of the paint and you get a very alluring sculptural treatment.
    Regarding the branding, you could say Ford is doing what Volvo is by stepping a bit away from their name. Volvo sell their ritziest cars as Polestars and the Polestar coupe is truly stellar, inside and out. At a lower price point Ford´s doing the same. Is this wise? I would hate to judge before seeing the marketing data. I see no reason why a good car can´t bear a solid brand like Ford´s. Maybe others think differently though. I see Ford very much as reliable, nicely made and fun-to-drive cars sold at a sensible price. That could also apply to an EV. However, perhaps among those in the EV market Ford doesn´t cut against Tesla. Yet Kia and Toyata sell their cars under those names. What gives?

    1. Good morning Richard. “Fluid” and “sculptural” are words that describe the style perfectly. You should be writing this sort of thing for DTW! 😁

  10. Mustang Mach-E US sales for 2021:

    January 238
    February 3,739
    March 2,637
    April 1,951
    May 1,945
    June 2,465
    July 2,854
    August 1,448
    September 1,578
    October 2,848

    And for Europe:

    January 2
    February 22
    March 45
    April 266
    May 2,293
    June 3,078
    July 3,407
    August 3,547
    September 2,913

    It’s hard to know what to compare these with, so I’m not sure whether they are good, bad or indifferent.

  11. Re badging, Ford has done this sort of thing before, at least on its British products: through much of the 1950s and early 1960s the word ‘Ford’ was inconspicuous to the point of invisibility, if it was there at all.

    1. Perhaps they could start putting blue ovals at the bottom of the front wings, again.

      I understand why manufacturers create sub-brands – to have a fresh start in a new segment, as appears to be the case, here. However, it never seems to quite work and the phrase ‘It’s really a…’ comes in to it sooner or later.

      I’ll be interested to see Ford’s take on the VWG platform, as Michael says, above.

  12. Does nothing for me whatsoever. Larger version of the Focus /Puma is what I see. I’m no marketing expert but calling it a Mustang seems inherently wrong somehow. Why not call it a Banana instead?

  13. The door handle treatment reminds me of a ZA/ZB Magnette, but I actually prefer the way Gerald Palmer did it.

  14. An architectural context for you. Nearby is a valley with traditional farmhouses at both top and bottom. The latter is usually in shade even on pleasant sunny days (like today, cobalt blue skies, rusty coloured trees, northerly wind) and parked outside was a new Defender, 3 door in grey. This didn’t shout Land Rover but stood its ground with authority. The green oval being visible and everything looked in keeping.

    Atop the valley is the windswept farmhouse. In the past they’ve had Subaru’s aplenty, Forester’s, Outback’s, usually in sober greys and blues, again, in keeping. The occupants recently tried a XV but obviously played the cards Ford’s way – a bright red Mach-e. It really does stick out like the proverbial sore thumb. The car offends because it’s so generic and, as other commentators have opined, it says nothing new other than “izzit a Ford, or what?” If this is all Ford of Europe could come up with, what was so wrong with the Mondeo?

    And I had to look up solipsism and found this for £15…

    1. Wow, Andrew, I wasn’t expecting that! Are we a bit liverish today, by any chance? 😁

      Very witty t-shirt slogan though, especially as 99% won’t understand it!

  15. That’s some division of opinion! I’m in the “pro” camp: I like the Mach E and don’t particularly care what it’s called (although the lack of Ford badging doesn’t reflect well on Ford as a brand). I’m also with Richard in that Ford (still) has an unobtrusive brillance to some of its designs, like the Mach E and the current Focus. Together with Kia/Hyundai, they may be among the most confident and successful (mainstream) brands in design terms.

    I find the electric car interesting and admire the fact that Tesla first managed to make the electric car desirable (after the uninspiring beginnings of the Nissan Leaf et al.), then catch the entire car industry flat footed. Shame about Elon Musk. The Mach E is one of the few non-Teslas that get competitive range figures, whereas VAG’s efforts, Stellantis’ efforts, even Hyundai/Kia’s efforts all fall somewhat short. Not by that much, but enough to be underwhelming considering their drive trains were developed a decade after Tesla’s (even if that is still being improved, obviously). The Mach E does use larger batteries to achieve this, though.

    Being on the very modest side of the socio-economic spectrum, I could never dream of affording an electric car (or any new car for that matter), and I don’t see them breaching the sub-5000 (euro/dollar/pound) market anytime soon. So a wholesale takeover of the car market seems unlikely which, given the state of the environment, is unfortunate. Several parties seem to be working on synthetic, carbon-neutral fuels to replace regular gasoline in ICU’s. Formula One is making noises in that direction, as is Porsche, I think. Given the unlikeliness of electric vehicles becoming affordable to the larger public, this might be a necessity to achieve the required reduction in carbon emissions.

    1. Hi Tom. I’ve no idea how feasible they are, but synthetic carbon-neutral fuels for internal combustion engines would certainly upend the current near-consensus that EVs are the (only) way forward.

      Thank you for your comment, by the way. What it lacked in brevity it more than made up for in thoughtfulness! 😁

    2. S.V.: I’m in equal measure repulsed and attracted by Tesla. Its technology is genuinely impressive, but Musk and the cult-like following (the forum for Tesla-enthusiasts is called “Teslarati” and seems to have the exact level of creepiness you’d expect) are mostly repulsive. Musk is the face of the company, but one wonders how much of its success is down to him. On the other hand, the others at Tesla seem te be OK with Musk taking the limelight in his, well, unique style.

  16. I have been reflecting … I still don’t like the Mach-E. I’m still not keen on the current range of Ford’s styling.

    My reflection is that I am struggling to find an EV of which I like the look. Definitely not any Tesla, nor VW Group effort (ID.anything, Born, Enyaq, e-tron) bar the Taycan, especially the estate-looking version). I quite like the Lucid Air, also the Ioniq 5 and, less so the KIA EV6.

    Ah, I know, the current Zoe and the KIA Soul, especially the latter.

    1. +1 to all of that. The Soul is pretty expensive, though. I’d probably go for the Zoe, subject to a test drive – one can get used ones with lowish mileage for £10k to £15k. I guess Zoe will be replaced by the retro 5 thing.

    2. Regarding EV or any other engine, just make sure that you can unlock and drive the car even if the manufacturer’s cloud fails. Some Tesla owners have inevitably come to reality in this respect in the last few days.

    3. True – I had forgotten it, too. The design has aged really well. I think it looks particularly good in white.

    4. Yesterday I saw a white one. The graphics are splendid – I especially love the way the rear window line drops. The chamfer is exquisitely developed. A look inside reveals a felt fabric on the upper door rolls. Mazda are doing this now but BMW got there first. It´s a fabulous little machine, adhering to my idea of what a modern Lancia would be like. It´s not very BMW at all. They need to do more of this.

    5. Richard, it would be great to have more like the i3 from BMW. Instead we get garbage like the iX, or, more prosaically, the current 1-Series.

      I had the opportunity to have a look at an iX in the metal/ plastic at the recent NEC-based Classic Car Show. I was parked near some really nice classic BMWs, so looked even more like a whale out of water than normal. Truly, it’s an abhorrent piece of work, with a quite nasty faux grille outside, and ultra-naff ‘crystal’ controls inside, including trimming the door handles.

    6. Good morning S.V. BMW must be either incredibly brave or monumentally stupid to exhibit the iX anywhere near some of its excellent classic models. I’m also a convert to the i3 and i8. I didn’t pay them much attention when they were first released, but they’re so much better than BMW’s more recent efforts:

    7. The iX is the one where BMW painted their famous double kidney grille black so it merged with the mesh. This shows no understanding of product semantics or Gestalt theory. It turns the entire grille into a black hole and also makes it look like the grille from another marque. It really is quite inept. I notice BMW grilles are now made to conform to the profile they are placed on. This strikes me as wrong.

    8. Hi Richard and S.V. I didn’t think it was possible, but BMW has managed to make the production iX even uglier than the concept:

      Those huge gopping triangular vents in the front valance didn’t feature on the concept.

      As an aside, I notice that the BMW roundel with the transparent outer ring that first appeared on the concept has been abandoned in favour of a conventional badge.

    9. As another aside, why is it called just iX, without a numerical suffix? BMW’s new, smaller electric CUV is called the iX3, so one would think that the so-called flagship should logically be something like iX8. Perhaps BMW decided that the badging should be as incoherent as the styling?

    10. As I’m having a bit of a rant about BMW, I’ll redress the balance (a little) by observing that the iX3 is, I think, almost tolerable. Lose the silly triangular garnish behind the front wheel arch and the neon blue flashes and I could almost contemplate owning one.

      Nah, only kidding!

    11. Oh Daniel, be honest and admit it, this is already your car. You only placed a Munich number plate as a camouflage – we know your graphic skills. 😉

    12. Ha ha, Fred, as if! I’m not sure I can ever buy (or admit to buying) a new car again, given the potential exposure to the scrutiny of DTW’s commentariat. 😁

    13. Why is it called iX? It’s what everyone says when they first see it: ‘Nein!’. Ba-doom-tsh.

    14. Very droll, Charles! It took me a minute to work it out…😨

  17. The Ix shares its incoherent EV naming with Hyundai, who produced the Ioniq model and then decided to turn Ioniq into an EV sub-brand with the Ioniq 5; also, Audi with the E-tron model and brand.

    The Honda E and Mazda MX30 look pleasant enough, and the Fiat 500 is fine. The MX30 is perhaps Mazda’s interpretation of the BMW i3, complete with (rotary) range-extender soon. Does MG deserve credit for making the ZS and MG5 look entirely unremarkable rather than attention-grabbing? This has been corrected for the 2022 facelift, and both now have blanked grilles.

    Has the Ora Cat featured on DTW yet? Some may like the interior, which is unusual with its teal-and-ecru option which appears in some photos. It too may suffer the naming issue mentioned above: the Cat is actually a range of vehicles , the European Cat being the Good Cat (also available: Black Cat and White Cat). Fellow Great Wall brand Wey* offers the Latte, Macchiato and Mocha. As with the (Good) Cat, the Mocha is heading to Europe, renamed the Wey Coffee 01.

    1. Hi Tom. The Ora Cat is definitely worthy of DTW’s attention, an EV that looks interesting and not derivative of Western, Japanese or Korean designs:

      Had VW been braver, this is how it might have reinvented the Beetle for the EV age.

    2. Former Porsche designer Emanuel Derta is responsible for the evocative appearance of the Good Cat.

      I was going to mention the BYD Dolphin (EA1) a couple of days ago… but now that the cat is out of the bag:

      BYD’s design director is Wolfgang Egger, whom you may have heard of. The Dolphin is priced between 15 and 20K. It’s not available in Europe quite yet, but is expected.

      The Dolphin’s dash presents quite an eyeful.

    3. Hi Daniel, did someone say “Beetle for the EV age”? Have you met the Ora Punk Cat (a.k.a. Ballet Cat)?

    4. Hi gooddog. Yes, I was aware of the Punk Cat. I think it’s fine as far as it goes and rather cute, but it’s pure retro and little advance in stylistic terms over VW’s own efforts to reinvent the Beetle.

      I think that the BYD Dolphin is something of a (belated) rip-off of the BMW i3.

    5. I -love- the designs of the i3 and i8. But I could not ever recommend the i3 to anyone at €40K ($44.5K), (which depreciates by 50% within three years), unless that buyer were incredibly wealthy. Probably twenty or thirty years hence it will be collectable and might begin to appreciate. The value of design alone is enough in the case of a vintage car, but what does it mean when the consumer also demands utility and value?

      We can discuss Kei cars and these Chinese cars that are at least interesting, if often derivative or retro. But in the entry level price range, Europe seems to have adopted some sort of unwritten rule against cheap cars being interesting, Ka and Twingo are cases in point. Yes we still have the 500 and MINI, but those aren’t exactly cheap. I suppose the Twizy gets away with having a personality because it lacks proper doors.

      I’d like to think that consumers will pay a bit extra for excellence in design, but the performance envelope matters too. The i3 generally has a decent reliability record, excepting the range extender (series hybrid) version. Would you consider a two or three year old example of this rolling artwork to replace your Mini?

    6. Chris Bangle: “The i3 isn’t the way I left that project, it took a turn after I left…”

      He talks about the MINI and compares it to the White Hen/Ypsilon:

      “[MINI] established the fact that you could sell a small car for a lot of money, nobody else had been able to do that…Not because they took a small car and put Alcantara trim in it and suddenly it’s got an expensive package and therefore it’s worth more money. No, that’s what people had done before, I mean look at the Lancia Ypsilon Tens back in the 80s, they were [attempting] desperately to try and figure out how that vehicle would be worth more money if we could upgrade the interiors etc. And suddenly the MINI comes along and sells itself for a premium price as a premium vehicle- Why? Because it’s full of character, it’s massively full of character…”

      https://www.bmwblog.com/2020/09/30/bmwblog-podcast-chris-bangle/

      Now back to the Mach-e. Americans of all ages tend to be very passionate about Mustangs. One can argue whether Ford has hit the mark here (the Mach-e is certainly not retro), but I think one could not blame them for trying. Name a reasonably affordable CUV with “character”, I can’t… OK, Juke. That Toyota “thing”, errr… CH-R, Godzilla!

      If one lends any credence to Bangle’s argument. I’d argue that neither Stellantis, Renault, Mercedes, VW Group, nor BMW are currently even close to hitting that target.

  18. The BYD Dolphin suggests the previous Honda Jazz to me. On Honda, the E is a small premium car, although I have never seen one that wasn’t the dealer demonstrator. The original Ka was a good example of mechanical simplicity and ‘character’, the rounded elements allegedly having the practical purpose of being less obvious if they were misaligned.

    The Punk Cat has been developed into an Americana-inspired concept by its more premium sister brand, Wey, as the V72. Be warned. https://www.carmag.co.za/news/new-models/gwm-wey-v72-concept-shows-classic-design/

    1. The Bangle quote is worth re-reading. Where does character lie? Fiat forgot to give their later Lancias much of it – particularly in the controls and dynamics. It very much was a matter of slapping nice fabric on the interior and hoping for the best. There have been so many examples of this strategy not working that it baffles me why vehicle makers still pursue it. What does the Mini have that makes it characterful? Some of it is the appearance but I understand its the driving experience that make the real difference. Does anyone know if Ford´s Vignale cars have a different suspension set-up? Or is it the same as the standard cars? I know Ford will argue they have good suspension as a standard, so why mess with it. Assuming that, they needed to be brave and give the cars some sheetmetal differences as well as the nice trim and paint.

    2. Hi Tom. Thanks for the warning, but still YIKES! 😲

    3. Hi Richard. “What does the Mini have that makes it characterful?” That’s a good question. I am, of course, hopelessly biased but, having owned one for seven years, I still enjoy taking a backwards glance at it when I leave it in a car park, especially on a sunny day when it’s orange paintwork and 17″ alloy wheels give it a chunky ‘Tonka Toy’ appeal that is unique amongst B-segment superminis.

      (The rest of MINI’s current range leaves me cold, however, even the five-door hatch with its clumsy looking door window frames that ruin the look of the DLO.)

    4. Really awful. The Japanese equivalents are redeemed by their fun content. This car has no fun content. It really wants to be a Cord.
      Daniel: I am glad you had the “look back admiringly” experience with the Mini. I get that with my XM which I gaze at several times a week, seeming never to exhaust whatever the heck it is that makes it so fascinating. I am lucky the garage also has a Jaguar XJ-S which is another inexhaustable source of interest.
      Character goes beyond looks though. I am not getting tired of the cool professionalism of my 406, fault and all.

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