The Green Lane: Test Driving The Ford Mustang Mach-E AWD In New Zealand

By Jeremy Taylor

7 months ago

Driving the EV in NZ


Motoring editor Jeremy Taylor drives the sporty Ford Mach-E AWD in New Zealand while sustainable fashion expert Jessica Saunders keeps the home fires burning…

The C&TH Cars Hub

Ford Mustang Mach-E AWD

JT – Kiora!

JS – Are you going to be annoyingly smug about the weather in New Zealand? It’s proper cold and wintery at home in England.

To be honest, I’ve experienced everything apart from snow in the last seven days. That said, the peak of Mount Cook is still snow-capped.

That’s because New Zealand’s highest mountain is snow-capped all year round. Why are you driving a Ford Mach-E SUV out there anyway?

New Zealand has some of the cleanest and safest air on the planet, according to the World Health Organisation. It’s about as long-haul as you can get from the UK and, as the Ford gives a range of up to 341 miles, it’s one of the best, long distance electric cars.

Ford Mustang Mach-E AWD

And this was Ford’s first, fully-electric car when it came out a couple of years back?

Correct, and my vibrant red test car is the all-wheel drive version, with a 98kWh, extended range battery pack. It’s suitably sporty but a more powerful GT version will stampede from 0-62mph in just 3.7 seconds.

Drive anywhere nice?

Well, after landing on the South Island, I headed to waterfront Soda (sodaqt.co.nz), to discuss tactics with photographer, Ben. One of Queenstown’s newest restaurants is sited on prime real estate, with spectacular, first-floor views up Lake Wakatipu.

Long discussions about the proposed route until the early hours?

Hardly! Huge jetlag, but I was revived by a cocktail and slap-up supper. There’s a Mediterranean feel to the menu but the braised Walter Peak lamb shoulder is epic. Grilled octopus and steam clams should also be on the order list.

Soda, New Zealand

Enough already! Sounds fantastic. Where next?

We drove north… And kept going for 800 miles! The Mach-E is an important car for Ford, a family all-rounder that brings battery power to their forecourt for the first time. I wanted to find out how good it is.

That’s quite a journey. Are there plenty of charging stations down there?

Not as many as the UK, but here’s the thing: they are nearly all run by the same company, so there’s only one app to download and very clear instructions on how to use the charging units, which pop up in the most random places!

Such as?

After driving 250 miles north, meandering up the dramatic Haast Highway on the west coast, I found myself close to the Franz Josef Glacier – a must-see location for travellers. You can hike up, or many take a helicopter tour. Unfortunately, the weather was appalling – as it often is on the exposed west coast – so we hunkered down at Te Waonui Forest Retreat (scenichotelgroup.co.nz).

Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Doesn’t sound like much of a hardship!

It’s the best place for miles and surrounded by an area of natural rainforest. The rooms are organised in such a way that it actually feels like you are surrounded by trees. The plant life is so dense, you could be living in the jungle.

Did you fully avail of the facilities?

There wasn’t enough time to check out the Amaia Spa, but we did gorge on a five-course supper, before sleeping soundly in our woodland lair. The Ford charged outside as we slept, ready to head north the following morning to Greymouth and beyond, past fields of wild lupins.

Was the Mach-E as good as you expected?

It was, and it has to be because the mid-size SUV market is flooded with excellent cars. At around £54,000, the Ford is comfortable, spacious and boasts driver appeal. It’s quite a large vehicle, so don’t expect startling performance, although it does offer three driving modes to suit conditions. Hit the ‘untamed’ button for a surge of power!

Ford Mustang Mach-E AWD

Untamed – what’s that all about?

Well, the only daft thing about the Mach-E is that Ford decided to brand it Mustang, a legendary badge on some of the brand’s most potent models. This car is no Mustang muscle car, but it does feel sportier than some rivals.

Fun to drive through the mountain ranges of New Zealand then?

Sort of, although the Mach-E feels big and way too heavy to be a proper blast. It also sits on very firm springs, which seriously impacts ride comfort over long distances. The brake pedal is also quite fierce!

Where are you heading next?

Our final destination on the way home to Queenstown was Christchurch, and The George, a member of the Small Luxury Hotel group (slh.com). Directly opposite the city’s beloved Hagley Park, a mecca for runners and walkers, The George may look a little corporate but it offers a warm welcome and brilliant location for exploring.

The George, New Zealand

No trouble charging the car again?

The hotel has several chargers, so once we had checked in to our Park View suite, there was time to relax in the bar, then chat with some of the staff about where to visit. The concierge was a wealth of information and we ended up eating in the restaurant before walking off supper in the park.

And were you given a George Bear?

Ha! You have been Googling. The hotel gives guests a teddy bear for their room. Nice touch.

So, will you be recommending the Mustang Mach-E?

Yes, it was refreshingly different to the many family SUVs I’ve driven lately. Spacious, nicely made interior and a battery range to put more expensive rivals to shame. Improved ride comfort and a larger boot wouldn’t go amiss but Ford’s first all-electric car is definitely worth a look. Just don’t expect a Mustang…

DISCOVER

Discover more about the Ford Mustang Mach-E AWD at ford.co.uk

Jessica Saunders is Director of Programmes at London College of Fashion, studying for a PhD in sustainable e-textile design.