The Ford Mustang has gone electric. The Mustang Mach-E electric crossover joins the gas-powered Mustang for the 2021 model year. With the move, the Blue Oval has ushered the historic Mustang name into the future.

The Mustang Mach-E is the first ground-up, clean-sheet electric car from Ford. It rides on a new skateboard-style platform, and it's available with either a 68-kwh lithium-ion battery pack or an 88-kwh pack in extended-range models. The smaller battery pack provides an EPA-rated range of 230 miles, though that drops to 211 miles with all-wheel drive. The larger pack ups range to 300 miles with rear-wheel drive and 270 miles with all-wheel drive.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E first drive - Portland, OR

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E first drive - Portland, OR

The Premium 4X model we tested in our first drive review sent 346 horsepower and 428 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels via two electric motors. It lept away from a stop with nothing but a faint whisper of an electric whine, which is weird for a Mustang but normal for an electric car. Passing power isn't overly robust when cruising at 70 mph, though. While direct, the steering feels dull and gets more artificial in its sporty Unbridled mode. The Mach-E is playful around a clover leaf on-ramp after some initial understeer.

Ford's said the Mustang Mach-E will be able to add 61 miles of range with 10 minutes of fast charging on a 250-kw charger. Like Tesla and other connected vehicles, the Mustang Mach-E can get better over time thanks to over-the-air (OTA) software updates. The first OTA update will come within six months of the first Mustang Mach-E deliveries.

One look at the Mach-E and it's clear this is in the Mustang family. Some of it is in the overall body lines, like the nose and rear haunches, and some is in the details, including the horizontal LED headlights and sequential taillights. The Mach-E has its own design elements, too, from the closed-off grille and front bumper to the button-operated door handles. The silhouette reads as a modern crossover.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E first drive - Portland, OR

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E first drive - Portland, OR

Inside, the Mach-E breaks new ground for Ford but not for electric cars. A Tesla-like vertical touchscreen dominates the dashboard, and it's complimented by a slim digital gauge cluster. A rotary gear selector gives a nod to the Shelby GT500, while the three-spoke steering wheel has the Mustang's pony logo. It's a clean, modern cabin, with a fantastic control interface through that large screen.

The Mustang Mach-E fits between the Escape and Edge in size at 186 inches overall, though it uses a long 117-inch wheelbase. The crossover design gvies it 29 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat, and 59.6 cubic feet with the second row folded. A 4.8-cubic foot trunk up front is waterproof. With cargo hauling ability and seating for five, the Mach-E is a Mustang designed for the family.

Base Mustang Mach-Es cost $43,995 including destination, but that's before factoring in the $7,500 federal tax credit.

The Mustang Mach-E isn't the first electric car to be nominated for Motor Authority's Best Car To Buy award, but it's in rarefied air. The only other previous electric finalist was the Jaguar I-Pace, though the Porsche Taycan nearly made the cut last year, too.

The Mustang Mach-E is an electric car that moves America's muscle car into a new era, opening doors to an entirely different kind of buyer along the way. It's powerful and fun, and it offers good electric driving range.

Will that put it over the top as Motor Authority's Best Car To Buy 2021? Check back on Jan. 4 when we reveal the winner, along with the champs from our sister sites, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports.