...To me it's more Mustang than the fox body things they tried to pass off as Mustangs.
Let the fox body owners say what they will, those were not Mustangs.
Mustang defined the pony car market as 2 door sedan, long hood, short trunk. Some people complain about the Mustang II or Fox Body, but they still had the pony car characteristics of a Mustang. The Mach E is an 4 door SUV. Kind of a stretch to call it a pony car.
What heritage does the Mach E have? None. It's a new platform. Mustang styling cues on an SUV is putting lipstick on a pig. It's still an SUV and not a sports car.
Styling cues... ?? A horse on the steering wheel and Mustang tail lights do not make it a Mustang...
These are all valid points, begging us to question just what exactly is essential to brand identity
? Why do cars have their own names, if not to serve as a shorthand, identifying them from among the automaker's other offerings? When we mention a car's name, what kind of vehicle does that name instantly describe?
In my opinion, there are two major factors that comprise the identity of a car, the most important of which being its fundamental architecture. There needs to be a consistency to its basic size, shape, compartment (engine, cabin, trunk) arrangement, and drivetrain layout. Otherwise, it's a completely different type of vehicle and must be given its own name. But there's another factor that I think is only slightly less important- its appearance. If a car shares the name of a previous car, then it should be recognizable as such. Just as an animal inherits bodily similarities from its parents, so should a car pass distinctive traits down to the next "generation".
Now, Ford has spent over 5 decades reinforcing the Mustang's identity as a coupe/convertible. Not a truck. Not a van. Not a SUV, nor motorcycle... but a 2-door car. Always with the engine up front, always driven by the rear wheels. This is what a Ford Mustang is, deep down in its bones.
Appearance-wise, the Mustang has been... a little less consistent. But Ford finally decided on what key elements are needed to define the Mustang look. Much as I love the Foxbody, it was nearly indistinguishable from other boxy cars of the '80s. That's why it was such a huge deal when Ford started to bring back iconic design cues, like the running horse emblem, side scoops, and the tri-bar tail lamps. I would argue that the S197 was more than just "retro"; it was a comprehensive return to form for the Mustang aesthetic. The most important Mustang design cues are carried forward by the S550 and I expect the next two-door Mustang to do the same.
Note that just now I had to say "two-door Mustang" because the name "Mustang" is apparently too vague to describe what kind of car I'm talking about anymore. We are now forced to say "two-door", or "not the Mach-E", or recite a platform code to avoid confusion with the SUV "Mustang". It's ridiculous.
The Mach-E SUV presents an identity crisis for the Mustang in a way that's eerily similar to the whole Probe thing. Ford eventually saw the light and repented from its threat to build a FWD "Mustang", but this time Ford seems bound and determined to disregard, contradict, and confuse the Mustang's well-established brand identity. This mess could have been easily avoided if they had just given the SUV its own look, its own name, and allowed its awesomeness to speak for itself.