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VOL. 45 | NO. 6 | Friday, February 5, 2021

Mustang Mach-E races to lead versus Tesla Model Y

By Jonathan Elfalan | Edmunds

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The 2020 Tesla Model Y is an intriguing pick for an electric SUV. It has a relatively small footprint but provides cavernous passenger and cargo space. And with a current entry price of $43,190, including destination and handling fees, it’s also one the most affordable electric SUVs around.

But there’s a new rival aimed at taking on the Model Y, the all-new 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E. The Mach-E is priced competitively, starting at $43,995, and, unlike Tesla, still qualifies for federal tax credits.

But which EV is better? Edmunds’ experts tested both to find out.

Driving performance

Teslas have earned a reputation for laughably quick, sports car-beating speed, and it holds true for the Model Y. Even when you aren’t trying to break the sound barrier, the Model Y provides an easy but engaging driving experience with responsive steering, sporty handling and smooth, shift-free power delivery.

Ford’s Mustang Mach-E delivers speed that nearly matches the Model Y at comparable trim levels, as well as an entertaining driving experience. Just like the Tesla, you can bring the Mach-E to a stop solely using the regenerative braking to recoup energy. But Ford hasn’t done as well smoothing out the transition to regular braking when you press on the brake pedal.

Winner: Tesla Model Y

Technology

Tesla has taken over-the-air software updates to a whole new level. Adding new features, fixing issues and extending battery range to its vehicles are just a few things it’s done wirelessly over the years.

Like the Model Y, the Mach-E can also receive over-the-air updates after you’ve bought the vehicle.

Inside, the Model Y has a minimalistic design highlighted by a large center touch screen. It looks chic but can lead to driver distraction because so many of the car’s controls are routed through the screen.

The Mach-E also has a large center touch screen, but there are more physical buttons plus a digital gauge cluster to help you keep your eyes on the road. On top of this is standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, two features unavailable on the Model Y.

Winner: Ford Mustang Mach-E

Utility

The Tesla Model Y’s rear cargo area is massive. The rear seatbacks conveniently fold flat to accommodate longer items, and there’s a removable cargo floor that hides storage space beneath. There’s a big space under the front trunk for even more space to stash your stuff.

The Mach-E also has a pretty good-sized rear cargo area with folding rear seats, but it can’t match the volume of space the Model Y offers. Its front trunk is smaller, too, though it does come with a drain plug that allows you to drain out water from cleaning or melted ice after tailgating.

Winner: Tesla Model Y

Comfort

Comfort is an important aspect for any vehicle you plan to spend time in every day, and the Model Y provides this to a good degree, with a few caveats. The seats are well padded and supportive in all the right areas, but the upholstery doesn’t breathe well, which is an issue if you live in warmer climates.

A quiet cabin is pretty common among luxury EVs, and the Model Y likewise insulates well against exterior noise.

The Mustang Mach-E is a degree or two more comfortable than the Model Y in nearly all areas. The seat cushions are softer and have breathable perforated upholstery, and the suspension better soaks up bumps in the road. Even the climate control feels a tad more powerful and is easier to adjust.

Winner: Ford Mustang Mach-E

Real-world range

Tesla continues to be a range leader in virtually every EV segment. Owners also benefit from Tesla’s exclusive Supercharger network, which is currently the most hassle-free network for fast charging. The Model Y has an EPA-estimated range between 244 miles and 326 miles.

However, Edmunds conducts its own real-world range testing on EVs and has found that Teslas, in most cases, don’t achieve their range estimates. For example, a 2020 Model Y Performance that Edmunds tested had an EPA-estimated range of 291 miles, but Edmunds managed only 263 miles.

Ford’s Mustang Mach-E’s EPA estimates range from 211 miles to 300 miles. Edmunds’ real-world range test of an all-wheel-drive Mach-E, with an EPA-estimated range of 270 miles, resulted in an impressive 304 miles.

Winner: Ford Mustang Mach-E

Edmunds says

There are a lot of great things about the Tesla Model Y, including vast amounts of interior space, exciting driving performance and access to Tesla’s Supercharger network. These two EVs are closely matched, but the Ford Mustang Mach-E wins this comparison thanks to its superior comfort and user-friendly technology.

Jonathan Elfalan is senior manager of vehicle testing at Edmunds. Instagram: @snap.understeer

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