Hyundai Ioniq 5 vs Ford Mustang Mach-E vs Volkswagen ID.4: performance and handling

The ID.4 and Ioniq 5 are comfortable cruisers, but the Mach-E remains one of the best electric cars to drive on sale right now

Ford Mustang Mach-E - header

All three of these cars offer rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive setups. The only all-wheel-drive model on test, the Ioniq 5 performs well thanks to its dual-motor setup. Combined, the pair produce 321bhp and 605Nm of torque, allowing the over-two-tonne car to go from 0-62mph in 5.1 seconds. The Mach-E isn’t far behind in terms of acceleration; it’s capable of 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds, while the ID.4 Pro Performance does the same sprint in 8.5 seconds.

This entry-level, rear-wheel-drive variant of the Mach-E produces only slightly less power, with its single electric motor putting out 265bhp and 430Nm of torque. There are, however, more powerful rear and four-wheel-drive versions of the Ford, topping out with the 480bhp GT that hits 0-62mph in just 4.4 seconds. The ID.4 is much less exciting in a straight line; entry-level models get just 143bhp and an 11-second acceleration time, while even the ‘hot’ ID.4 GTX takes longer than the least powerful Mach-E, despite having 295bhp.

As a result, the ID.4 doesn't provide the sort of instant 'shove' you might expect from an electric car, and it simply doesn’t feel as fast as many rivals, either. The upside is its throttle is easier to control, delivering a smoother driving experience that's consistent with the VW's comfort-orientated approach. The car's light steering and soft ride add to that, too. It all pays dividends at low speeds, where the ID.4 has the best ride of the three cars in this test, while it also stays composed on long motorway journeys.

The ID.4 is a car that'll get the job done, but if you want something aimed more towards driving enthusiasts, then the Mach-E is a better choice. The Ford is up there with the best-driving electric cars on sale right now, as it's one of the few not focused solely on comfort rather than driving enjoyment.

Its steering has the best feel compared to rivals, and while it’s not perfect, it allows the Mach-E to feel more engaging on a twisty road. And despite the car's tall body, it also doesn’t lean too badly in bends. The Ford does have a firmer ride compared to the Volkswagen or Hyundai, but we don’t think you'd have any trouble using it for longer journeys.

But when it comes to those longer motorway runs, the Ioniq 5 is the ideal electric car. Not only is its ride settled and comfortable, but the 'Highway Drive Assist' – a 'Level 2' autonomous driving system – helps make things even more relaxing by keeping you in your lane automatically. There's also a unique lane-departure warning system that shows a digital image of the car on the driver’s display, letting you know about any stray manoeuvres.

The news is less good at low speeds, where the 20-inch wheels fitted to our test car meant the Hyundai fidgeted a bit over potholes and bumps. It's not as firm as the Ford around town, but the Mach-E is more fun to drive on a twisty road. The steering in the Ioniq 5 also feels somewhat numb, and isn’t that engaging. Still, it’s easy to drive, and feels composed, with plenty of grip to offer.

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