Our 2011 Nissan LEAF is still going strong, however its time to shop around for a replacement EV before it needs replacement. Most EV’s can’t be bought on the spot at a dealer you have to order and wait, sometimes many months.
2021 sees the introduction of both the VW ID.4 and Ford Mustang Mach-e so we decided to take a test drive of these vehicles to help decide which vehicle to order.
I’ve seen a grey Mach-e at Miracle Ford so contacted them via their website to try and arrange a test drive. The individual I worked with wasn’t sure if they had a Mach-e or not. I pointed out I had seen one out the front of the dealership parked in the charging spot. After 24 hours I had not been able to get an answer from the dealership. they went radio silent on me. Weird.
I had made several drive bys of the local VW dealer but had not seen an ID.4 at the dealership. I reached out to them via their website and got a test drive for 11am Saturday without much fuss. I asked them to be sure it was charged before we arrived which they confirmed they would.
VW Test Drive Experience
I was rather skeptical the VW dealership even had a vehicle to drive but we went anyway. We were greeted upon arrival and the staff said that Matt would be with us shortly and to go ahead and take a look at the vehicle. It was inside the dealership showroom, that’s why I hadn’t seen it on drive bys. We took a quick look and Matt arrived and opened a large door to the dealership and drove the car outside ready to drive. As we talked to Matt we found out that he had owned an early Nissan LEAF much like ours in the past and was clearly familiar with EV’s. He soon found out we owned two EV’s and were replacing the LEAF. After taking copies of our driving licenses and insurance he handed us the keys and asked if we needed to know anything before driving. We asked if we could drive it for 30 minutes and he said no problem and off we went.
Karen drove the car initially. One of the rear windows was open and we pulled over in a parking lot to figure out how to close it. Having watched videos online we knew there were just two window buttons and you had to press a certain spot to activate the rear windows in order to close them. We got the window closed. It was a beautiful day and the car was getting warm inside. Before pulling off we decided to put the A/C on. After about two minutes we were still struggling to find the setting on the center screen, the A/C controls were all grayed out and unresponsive. Eventually I spotted a button on the screen which turned the AC on and all the controls lit up and could be adjusted. Finally we had A/C.
We drove on both side streets and the highway. The car was smooth and quiet, the interior was slightly bigger than the LEAF by a few inches in width and length. I had expected a bigger car. The perforated seats were comfortable enough, although the seat cushion was fairly short and didn’t support your leg all the way to the knee which I suspect could get uncomfortable on long journeys. The drivers seat seemed much more comfortable than the passenger seat for some reason. Maybe it had been adjusted.
We parked at an empty parking lot and toured the car inside and out. Taking our time as we did so. It was great to be able to look the car over without someone hovering close by asking if you had any questions.
I drove the car on the return leg to the dealership. Acceleration was OK, much like a LEAF, but a far cry from Tesla like rocket-ship acceleration. I came to the conclusion the ID.4 cross-shops favorably with a LEAF or similar vehicle. Stopped at a red light I looked at the vehicle controls. The car had exactly 90 miles on the odometer, 20 of which we had driven. The car had not been charged for 90 miles according to the stats. Most likely it was charged on arrival at the dealership and test driven a few times without being recharged since.
Upon return the dealership Matt showed us the massage seat control we missed on our test drive. It was gentle, but I can see how it would prevent a stiff back on a long journey. Matt didn’t push us to buy, he gave as a glossy brochure and answered questions about the various models, colors and availability. He confirmed the dealership was certified and trained to service the car, a requirement before they could begin sales and deliveries.
Ford test drive ‘experience’
We drove to Miracle Ford after driving the ID.4 to see if they would let us drive the Mach-e without an appointment to do so. The car wasn’t out front so I went inside to enquire. I was greeted on entering and asked about the Mach-e. I was informed they only had one Mach-e which was being used as a courtesy vehicle for customers to use while their car was being serviced. I couldn’t test drive it in case a customer might need a loaner vehicle. An unlikely scenario at 2pm on a Saturday.
That was weird. I asked if we could at least sit in it. The salesman looked around and saw it in the service bay entrance. he said we were lucky it had been returned to service for cleaning. We sat in the vehicle (it was very dirty, the customer who borrowed it had trashed it). There was no key and we couldn’t turn the car on. We took a look around the vehicle. It seems nice enough and sits a little bit higher than the ID.4.
We never got to drive the car, or even switch it on. I expect it will cross-shop with the Tesla Model Y which we test drove last year. I asked the salesman if the dealership was certified to service the vehicle. He assured me they were and but they hadn’t sent techs on Mach-e specific training ‘yet’. He could see I was skeptical and assured me they know electric car technology because of the hybrids they serviced. It became clear why we couldn’t drive the Mach-e, Miracle Ford are not certified to sell or service the Mach-e. Why Ford have provided the dealer with a car they can’t sell or service is puzzling.
I couldn’t get the trunk to open using the “kick sensor”. I presumed it was because it was turned off. The salesman informed me the Mach-e doesn’t have a kick sensor. The sales staff have not been trained either.
VW dealers are geared up and ready to sell the ID.4 here in the US. Their dealers are trained, they have knowledgeable sales staff who know EV’s well. They are open for EV business. Come on in the temperature is fine.
Ford by comparison don’t have the local dealers trained or certified to sell the Mach-e. Yes the car is on the streets, you just can’t drive one yet unless you take your gas guzzler in for service. Ford are closed for EV business until such time they can get their dealers on board and willing to sell the car. If I do find a dealer able to sell one to me, where would I take it for service? I wouldn’t take it to Miracle Ford.
Update: Ford’s national website allows one to search for dealers based upon their capability. I filtered looking for EV Certified Repair Locations. Miracle Ford is not one of them, the salesman at Miracle Ford told me ‘an alternative truth’. Shocker! I know. The only dealers with listed Mach-e inventory that are also certified to work on the vehicles are in Franklin or Clarksville. The Franklin dealer are applying market price markups over MSRP. It looks like Clarksville is my only hope for a test drive.