Who’s got the power? Comparing Ford and Tesla electric SUVs

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 of 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 problems 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 touchscreen. 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 touchscreen, but there are more physical buttons plus a digital gauge cluster to help you keep your eyes on the road.

Winner: Ford Mustang Mach-E

Real-world range

Tesla continues to be an EV range leader. 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’ range testing on EVs found that, in most cases, Teslas don’t achieve their range estimates. A 2020 Model Y Performance 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 tested an all-wheel-drive Mach-E (EPA-estimated range: 270 miles), and got an impressive 304 miles.

Winner: Ford Mustang Mach-E

Comfort

The Model Y provides comfort 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 a problem 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

Utility

The Tesla Model Y’s rear cargo area is massive. The rear seatbacks conveniently fold flat and there’s a removable cargo floor with storage space underneath. There’s also a big space under the front trunk.

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.

Winner: Tesla Model Y

Edmunds’ verdict

These two EVs are closely matched, but the Ford Mustang Mach-E wins, thanks to its superior comfort and user-friendly technology.

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