• Drives like a normal car
  • High-quality interior
  • Reasonable pricing
  • Your mileage will vary
  • Minimal cargo room in Energi
  • Touch screen is far from driver

By Automobile Magazine

What's New for C-MAX Hybrid in 2014

In response to complaints about poor fuel economy, Ford revised the C-Max Hybrid's EPA ratings from 47/47 mpg to 45/45 mpg. The 2014 Ford C-Max Hybrid also has several mechanical changes to boost efficiency: revised transmission gear ratios, lower-friction engine oil, and several additional seals and wind deflectors to reduce drag...
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Vehicle Summary

Although it had been offered in Europe for some time, the Ford C-Max only came to America for the 2013 model year. Here it is available only as a hybrid or plug-in hybrid, which partly explains the absence of a hybrid version of the new Ford Escape. The tall hatchback design brings to mind mini-minivans like the Mazda 5, although the C-Max has only two rows of seats and lacks sliding doors. The two powertrains are identical to those in the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Energi.

Overview

Hybrid is the only way to go when it comes to the Ford C-Max, Ford's credible alternative to the Toyota Prius, Prius V, and Prius plug-in hybrid. The C-Max's heart is composed of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and a small electric motor/generator that work together to produce 188 hp; this is the same powertrain used in the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi. The EPA's fuel economy ratings for the C-Max Hybrid are 45 mpg in the city and on the highway. The C-Max Energi, which has a larger battery pack and charging port, can travel about 21 miles on electric power alone when it's fully charged. However, the extra weight of the battery pack means the C-Max Energi averages just 44/41 mpg (city/highway) when running on its gasoline engine. It can drive at 85 mph on electric propulsion alone.

While the Ford C-Max Hybrid is less efficient than the standard Toyota Prius, it posts better economy figures than the tall Prius V. In addition, the C-Max Energi goes farther on battery power and is more efficient overall than the Prius Plug-In Hybrid. Both versions of the Ford C-Max also drive better than the Prius, with weighty steering and a European ride that is comfortable yet taut in corners. The quality of the interior materials is better than those in the Prius, and the Ford C-Max is quieter, too, making it feel like a premium hatchback rather than an eco machine. Tech gadgets common to most other new Ford cars are available, including MyFord Touch, a power liftgate that opens when you wave your foot beneath the bumper, a self-parking function, a panoramic glass roof, and heated seats. Ford C-Max Energi owners can take advantage of a smartphone app called MyFord Mobile, with which they can locate charging stations, turn on the car's air-conditioning, unlock the doors, schedule battery charging, or start the engine remotely.

After a raft of complaints from owners and several consumer publications about fuel economy not matching Ford's claims, the C-Max Hybrid's engine software and several mechanical components were revised to return better real-world efficiency. At the same time, the official fuel economy ratings were lowered from 47/47 mpg to 45/45 mpg (city/highway). Ford says that the 2014 C-Max Hybrid will now post economy figures closer to its ratings; to compensate owners of the 2013 C-Max Hybrid, Ford will mail them checks to make up for their higher fuel bills.

Key Competitors

  • Chevrolet Volt
  • Honda Civic Hybrid
  • Honda Insight
  • Toyota Prius V

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