Close up with Ford's electric Mustang SUV, Mach-E

Ford just pulled the package from the Mustang Mach-E, an all-electric SUV that promises far more Mustang performance when released in late 2020. (Full details here.) It's the company's first long-range electric car, and the only the second Ford vehicle ever called a Mustang – the latter of which has already been crowded.

It is a bold move to take an iconic product and try to make it a brand of its own, although I would be willing to bet that this electric SUV would have aroused much less interest if Ford had either utilized a another by the name of it, or created a brand new one. (Call me whatever you want, but I find it difficult to be precious with the words of a company, especially when most companies don't seem to mind at first.)

Beyond the name, Mustang Mach ̵[ads1]1; Es's design has also felt polarizing since the vehicle first leaked the other day, and much of that attention has been devoted to the front end. Instead of a traditional grate, Ford gave and gave most versions of the Mustang Mach-E a nose that matches the SUV's body color. We've seen this trend in electric cars – they tend to have less direct air cooling, so in many cases automakers have tried to be smart with the design – but this is one of the highest-profile EV launches to date, and so it is under intense scrutiny.

After spending some time and in the Mustang Mach-E, both at the event Sunday night and at an orientation a few days before I personally like that the new SUV looks better in person than it does in some of Ford's renditions or press photos. I could take or leave the grille, though I wonder if Ford overplayed the hand a bit by limiting the metallic grille it did with the most expensive Mustang Mach-E GT.

Remove the Mustang badge and three-headlights and taillights, and I think Ford's new EV looks like a decent amount like some of the more luxurious direct competitions, almost like a cross between Mercedes-Benz EQC, Jaguar I-Pace (especially on the back), but with the BMW BMW SUV forming was thrown in as well.

It sounds like a good place for Ford to be, as it targets a price range between nearly $ 44,000 and over $ 60,000 for the Mustang Mach-E. Federal and state electric vehicle incentives will help soften that blow, but this is undoubtedly a first-class car.

Polarizing bits aside, what struck me most about seeing Mustang Mach-E in person, is how much it already feels like a complete package, despite having one year left to ship. (Save for the software, that is, not even near to work in the models Ford showed on Sunday night. Woof.) It's a testimony to the work done by "Team Edison," the group inside Ford that has been developing Mach-E since mid-2017 after swinging away from a Focus-based electric car.

The Mustang Mach-E is a future but not aggressively minimalist. It has a lot of interior space, head and legroom considering how the overall size of the car is quite small as far as SUVs are. There are features in the table (at least for technologies), such as USB-C ports and a wireless charging mat, and considered touches, such as the large trunk and deep storage space in the doors and center console.

The digital instrument cluster looks nice, but the 15.5-inch touchscreen software was not ready for its debut.

I am very fond of the thin cluster of digital instrument, and the fact that this has a driver monitoring system (especially since Ford says it eventually wants to enable hands-free motor driving). I've had a hard time figuring out things I feel are missing, although I'm sure a few will appear after the LA Auto Show fades, and we'll all spend the next year thinking (and arguing) even more about this car.

Comparisons with Tesla are hard to avoid when it comes to electric cars, and the Mustang Mach-E is no exception. It's hard not to immediately format Ford's EV against the upcoming Model Y, which has similar specifications and will be released on a similar plan. I also couldn't help but spend part of the night thinking about how Ford unveiled the Mustang Mach-E at the same municipal airport hangars where Tesla unveiled the Semi and second-generation Roadster just two years and a day before – and how we were right about next to SpaceX headquarters, where Elon Musk will unveil Tesla's "Cybertruck" pickup in just a few days.

(Shortly after the event ended, Musk tweeted "[c] congratulations" to Ford for the new electric Mustang SUV. "Sustainable / electric cars are the future !! to see this announcement from Ford, as it will encourage other automakers to go electric as well, " he wrote .)

But no matter what Ford's Mustang Mach-E stops being benchmarked against , or whatever fighting people want to choose the look or name, I am very happy that this is the direction the company went as opposed to a slightly better electrical focus. The fact that we are already deep in these conversations and the arguments feels like a progression, unlike a few years ago when we got people talking about electric cars, let alone feel something about them, felt like pulling teeth or just impossible.

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