Introduced in 2013, the Ford C-Max is based on the same platform underpinning the Ford Focus and Ford Escape and is best described as a tall wagon, with front-wheel drive and room for five.
The Ford C-Max and Toyota Prius have something in common: both models are hybrid-only vehicle lines.
Ford sells the C-Max in standard and plug-in hybrid variants, the latter known as the Ford C-Max Energi. Both models look the same, but the Energi has distinct badging and a plug-in port near the front wheel well on the driver’s side. This four-door model has a large grille, wraparound headlights, a short hood and a tapered roof line. To the rear is a tailgate.
All models are outfitted with a 2.0-liter four cylinder engine making 141 horsepower and paired with a continuously variable transmission and an electric motor. When both the electric motor and gas engine are working in tandem, this model makes 188 horsepower.
The C-Max’s lithium-ion battery systems are different depending on the model you choose, with a 1.4 kW battery in the C-Max Hybrid and a 7.6 kW battery in the C-Max Energi.
The Ford C-Max Hybrid is EPA-rated at 42/37 mpg city/highway. The Ford C-Max Energi is rated 95/81 mpg-equivalent city/highway, but that methodology does not correspond with standard fuel economy measurements. The Energi has a 19-mile electric-only range and averages 38 mpg when operating on gasoline only; this model can be connected to a standard home outlet, or a fast-charging 240-volt outlet to replenish the battery in about three hours.
Each model comes with painted aluminum wheels, blind spot mirrors, a rear spoiler and a manual liftgate. A power liftgate and heated side mirrors are available. C-Max Energi models come with an illuminated charge port.
Inside, the cabin offers generous room for five with a roomy back seat. However, this model comes with a small cargo area as the battery pack is located behind the rear seat.
All models come with keyless entry, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, cruise control, power accessories, a six-speaker audio system, dual-zone automatic climate control, four cup holders, second row in-floor storage, two 12-volt power outlets, a USB port and a 110-volt powerpoint. Heated seats, navigation and a telematics system are available.
In crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Ford C-Max received a Top Safety Pick rating. This model comes with a suite of air bags, including a driver’s knee air bag. Stability control, traction control, brake assist and a post-collision crash system are included.
Standard and plug-in versions of the Toyota Prius are the closest competitors to the Ford C-Max. The Chevrolet Volt might also be considered.
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