By KBB.com Editors
As the mpg wars rage on, there is one word that typically comes to mind when shopping for a new fuel-efficient vehicle: Prius. But the 2013 Ford C-Max intends to disrupt that involuntary word association by offering eco-conscious consumers the fuel economy they expect from an efficiency leader with the driving dynamics of a conventionally-driven 5-door hatchback. Similarly, the interior layout looks, feels and operates like a traditional vehicle, while the plug-in Energi variant bridges the efficiency gap in Ford's lineup between the C-Max Hybrid and the all-electric Focus EV. In a category dominated by the Prius family of vehicles, the 2013 Ford C-Max has all the right stuff to compete head-to-head with one of the most recognized vehicle nameplates in history.
If you are on the hunt for a highly-efficient vehicle, but unwilling to sacrifice horsepower and responsive handling, the 2013 Ford C-Max provides the best balance of fuel economy and driving fun in the segment.
If mpg and price are the key criterion in your next new car, you might find the Toyota Prius' superior fuel mileage and lower starting price more appealing.
The 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid and Energi plug-in hybrid constitute a new breed of fuel sippers designed to split the difference between the regular Toyota Prius and the mid-size Prius V in terms of size, price and fuel economy.
Driving Impressions When it comes to driving performance, the Ford C-Max enjoys a sizable advantage over the competition. Ford's third-generation hybrid drive system feels considerably more powerful than its Prius rivals, and...... the virtually seamless transition from gasoline engine to electric motor effectively disguises the C-Max's hybrid nature. Although the 2013 C-Max is nearly 600 pounds heavier than the Toyota Prius, winding roads are tackled with a surprising level of precision and control. Outward visibility is equally good, as the C-Max's elevated seating position provides an SUV-like view of the road ahead. Apart from its awkward location, the brake pedal has a firm, linear feel. Despite the Ford C-Max's relatively tidy dimensions, road and wind noise at highway speeds are well contained.
Since plug-in hybrid vehicles are still in a state of infancy, Ford developed a smartphone application to help C-Max Energi owners manage charge times and check battery levels, and it also provides a map of local charging stations.
ACTIVE GRILLE SHUTTERS
When vehicle speeds increase, aerodynamics go to work. By redirecting the flow of air around rather than through the grille opening at highway speeds, the Ford C-Max's active grille shutters reduce turbulent airflow and improve fuel efficiency.
Ford's newfound status as a leader in interior design and material quality is evident in the 2013 C-Max. The 5-passenger cabin is filled with attractive, soft-touch surfaces that combine to produce a remarkably upscale feel, particularly for this class of vehicle. Ergonomics are excellent, with controls that are user-friendly and easily accessible. Headroom is overly abundant in all seating positions, and rear legroom is suitable for six-footers. The cargo area offers slightly more space than the regular Prius, but significantly less than the larger Prius V.
In order to fuse aerodynamics with utility, the 2013 Ford C-Max's exterior design emphasizes function over form. While no less stylish than a Prius, the Ford C-Max features a distinctive shape that associates more closely with a multi-purpose vehicle than a hatchback. Though it shares the majority of its underpinnings with the Ford Focus, the C-Max is roughly five inches shorter in length. The C-Max's taller stature makes it easier for taller drivers to enter and exit the vehicle, while the available power liftgate incorporates a height-adjustable function to accommodate users of all sizes.
In base SE form, the 2013 Ford C-Max includes dual-zone climate control, manually-adjustable front seats, a 60/40-split rear seat, 17-inch alloy wheels and a 6-speaker audio system with basic hands-free voice recognition and a USB port for portable music players. SEL models add heated front seats, leather seating, push-button start and the MyFord Touch infotainment system with an 8-inch touch-screen display and conversational voice-recognition software. Safety equipment includes seven airbags, a full complement of electronic stability aids and Ford's SOS post-crash alert system that activates the horn and hazard lights in the event of an airbag deployment.
Features available for both SE and SEL trims include a panoramic moonroof with a power-operated sunshade, remote-start system and touch-screen navigation with customizable routes from MapQuest. SEL models offer a convenient foot-activated power liftgate that opens and closes by simply waving your foot under the rear bumper as well as an active park assist feature that makes parallel parking as simple as pressing a button. The C-Max Energi comes in one trim level and offers most of the features available for the C-Max Hybrid.
Every C-Max features a new 2.0-liter Atkinson-Cycle 4-cylinder engine, a gearless continuously-variable transmission (CVT) and a 35-kW electric motor to produce a combined 188 horsepower. The Energi boasts a larger version of the Hybrid's lithium-ion battery pack for an all-electric range of approximately 20 miles. And, unlike the Toyota Prius, the C-Max Hybrid can travel up to 62 mph under full electricity.
2.0-liter inline-4 hybrid
188 net hybrid system horsepower
129 lb-ft of engine torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA City/highway fuel economy: 47/47 mpg (Hybrid), NA/NA mpg (Energi)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the base 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid SE starts just under $26,000, with the range-topping SEL trim tacking an additional $3,000 to the bottom line. Energi plug-in hybrid models begin closer to $34,000, but are eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $3,750, depending on the state of purchase. Prices for the Toyota Prius and larger Prius v start in the neighborhood of $25,000 and $27,000, respectively. Because federal tax credits for plug-in hybrids are based on the size of a vehicle's battery pack, the Prius plug-in qualifies for a smaller $2,500 tax credit, which brings the starting price to just over $30,000. Before heading to the dealership, be sure to check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are actually paying for the 2013 Ford C-Max. We expect the new C-Max to retain higher than average resale values over a 5-year period, with residuals that fall just shy of those held by the popular Toyota Prius.
By KRISTI on Friday, August 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "size (bigger than expected) and mileage... price"
Cons: "road noise is louder than some others."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Living on a dirt road in the country I was worried that the car would be rough in a hurry... It is great. I drive 100 miles daily and I LOVE the gas savings. The back roads are not to tough for my hybrid!!! I would recommend this car to anyone who drives a lot and needs space. The interior has a TON of room and is comfortable for 2 Adults and 2 teens for an 800 mile road trip! LOVE THIS CAR!"
6 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By flor on Thursday, August 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "more horse power than other small hybrids,"
Cons: "false gas mileage, noisy, battery problem"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"MPG less than what they advertised, makes loud noise when accelerating, parts are cheaply made, not easy to set up the dash computer. My worst complaint about this car is the battery problem. The battery has died on me 4 times so far. They changed battery in May this year and it died again first week of August. Ford acknowledges their is a problem but really, i don't think they know how to fix it. If it dies one more time, i will ask for an arbitration process to claim this a lemon! No i would not recommend this car."
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By red55b on Thursday, August 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,250overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "FAST!!!!! when it works"
Cons: "SYNC System deadly MPG grossly misrepresented"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Yikes!Thanks Ca Lemon Law we can give Ford back their death trap.Ford SYNC System failed locked our windows and doors and turned off AC 105 degrees outside fortunately our service dogs window was locked in down position. Also 3 different times car was parked keys locked in box untouched un driven for 3 days all 4 windows rolled down and all 4 doors unlocked BY ITSELF. Car has huge interior fit a full size washing machine inside and was able to close lift gate with extra space its very fast when it works.Grossly exaggerated fuel efficiency already got a rebate check from Ford "for misrepresentation of sticker rating MPG" Our Ford 2013 Cmax hybrid un able to be driven 8 miles round trip to work 35 days 3 recalls(Ford still not completed work on recalls due to other battery issues)Car completely dead battery would not even jump start July 31st 2014. 15 days later I drove it 2 miles had be towed back to service for another week.DOT IHHTS has my registered complaints safety seriously disregarded by Ford as well as no return contact from Ford Customer relations after initial contacting them for help.I have made every single lease payment early and carried full insurance and so many attempts beyond reasonable to get Ford to get their service techs to fix this car.Just got car back and FYI gas mpg is dropping by the mile worse than ever has."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful