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2014 Ford C-MAX Hybrid Review

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2014 Ford C-MAX Hybrid Expert Review

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When it comes to bragging rights, the Toyota Prius has long dominated the fuel-efficiency argument. However, the 2014 Ford C-Max is looking to change the debate by offering a hybrid with features that go beyond good mpg, namely style, comfort and a fun-to-drive attitude. Like the Prius the C-Max is a 5-door hatchback that can comfortably fit four people, or with its seats folded haul loads of cargo. Because it's based on the Ford Focus the C-Max is more driver-friendly than the Prius, offering a better ride, a quieter cabin and a more polished interior. While the Prius may have been first to the party, the 2014 Ford C-Max looks to be the kind of gate-crasher that isn't going to leave without a fight.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're impressed by the good fuel economy a hybrid can deliver, but you don't want to sacrifice the comfy features yielded by so many non-hybrid cars, the 2014 Ford C-Max masterfully blends both desires into a single vehicle.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're car-shopping mojo is motivated solely by the highest mpg ratings, the Prius still dominates the field. The Prius also has a slightly lower starting price.

How It Ranks

#2

out of 5

Fuel Economy

#2

out of 5

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

8.0 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2014 Ford C-MAX Hybrid Low/wide front photo What's New for 2014

The Ford C-Max sails into 2014 relatively unchanged. New transmission gearing aims to improve fuel economy, while a new approach to fuel-economy labeling results in slightly lower EPA estimates more in line with real-world driving.

Driving the C-MAX Hybrid
2014 Ford C-MAX Hybrid Front angle view photo

Driving Impressions The C-Max's trump card isn't its excellent fuel economy but rather its very Focus-like driving characteristics. Ford's hybrid powertrain setup feels considerably more responsive than the system Toyota employs in...

... its Prius cars, and a near-seamless transition between gasoline engine and electric motor, even at higher speeds, makes you forget you're driving a hybrid car. The C-Max's added weight – nearly 600 pounds – over the Prius should work against it, but we found the car accelerates briskly, loves to play in the curves and delivers a surprisingly comfortable and quiet driving experience. A tall roof and wide side glass provide excellent 360-degree visibility, while the elevated seats provide an SUV-like driving position. We found the C-Max brakes to be quite good, but the brake pedal's position relative to the driver is a bit awkward.

MYFORD MOBILE
As the technology behind the plug-in hybrid is still relatively new, Ford created a smartphone app to assist owners in managing charge times and checking battery levels. The app also provides a map of nearby charging stations.

ACTIVE GRILLE SHUTTERS
Aerodynamics is the key to better fuel economy and less wind noise inside the passenger compartment. The C-Max's active grille shutters close at highway speed, directing air over and around the car's front end, reducing drag and thus reducing fuel consumption.

2014 Ford C-MAX Hybrid Details
2014 Ford C-MAX Hybrid Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

Ford's newfound status as a leader in interior design and material quality is evident in the 2014 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 is 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.

Exterior
2014 Ford C-MAX Hybrid photo

In order to fuse aerodynamics with utility, the 2014 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 multipurpose vehicle than a hatchback. Although 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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

In base SE form, the 2014 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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood
2014 Ford C-MAX Hybrid Engine photo

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 + electric motor
188 net hybrid system horsepower
129 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 40/45 mpg (Hybrid), 44/41 mpg (Energi)

The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the base 2014 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 where purchased. 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 2014 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.

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2014 Ford C-MAX Hybrid Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.0
Out of 10

Based on 56 Ratings for the 2013 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.2/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    8.1/10
    Performance
    8.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

Great vehicle to drive

By on Thursday, May 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought my CMax in March, 2013. We only put about 11000 miles per year on it, even with numerous trips to S.Carolina. This is also the car we drive around town, and I drive it to work. I previously had a Prius, so was used to a hybrid, and a light touch on the gas pedal. I like the CMax over the Prius because 1) it has considerably more power, 2) sits up higher, 3) dash doesn't "wash out" in the sun or when I put on my sunglasses, 4)tailgate lifts by itself, 5) has a quieter and more comfortable ride, 6) has more interior and cargo room. The Prius wins out on Mileage (51mgp overall to 41 mpg overall), an opening sun-roof available, and having push-button start (I didn't pay for the high end model). I have had to have the battery replaced twice, and numerous recalls have been made on my year, but I expected some of this because it was the first year model in the US. Overall, I am very happy with this vehicle, as when I compare to other vehicles out there, I would still pick my CMax. I really like that this car sits up just enough that it is easy to get in and out of. When I ride in other vehicles (Fusion, Camry, Chrysler 300, Avalon), I have trouble getting out of the car - not so with my CMax. This may be the last vehicle I buy!"

10 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Replaced my GMC Acadia

By on Wednesday, April 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Perky, excellent fuel economy, plenty of room"

Cons: "Can't think of one !"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

My Ruby Red Metallic 2014 CMAX SEL

"I am a rather tall (5'6") and am an avid gardener. I like to be able to haul plants, mulch, bags of dirt etc so need plenty of hauling space. I also have a 300+lb Husband who needs head room. I also wanted a vehicle that gave me great gas mileage as I do a lot of volunteering. I also wanted style & comfort when traveling. I got it all in the 2014 CMAX I bought last Sept. It is the perfect car for me. I get even better mileage than the advertised hiway of 37 MGP and city of 42 MPG. The leg room, head room and storage area in back meet my needs. Recently took trip to St. Louis and found it to be very comfortable and easy to handle on the hiway. I love the blue tooth technology, braking coach, and EV feedback on screen. No complaints !"

13 people out of 15 found this review helpful

My Ruby Red Metallic 2014 CMAX SEL

Just bought a brand new leftover 2013

By on Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,050

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Just bought a brand new (leftover) 2013 C-Max SE. Very impressed with the firm seating, head and leg room, visibility, and power to drive in the mountains of Vermont. While I expected the gas mileage to be low for a hybrid, (35 - 38 MPG at 70 MPH on the interstate). The C-Max exceeds my expectations(getting 42 - 44 mpg on 2 lane roads at 40 - 50 MPH). Figuring the difference in gas mileage and with gas currently at $2.50 per gallon, should save about one third of the price of the C-Max in the reduction of my fuel bill. (Will save even more when gas goes up again.)"

13 people out of 14 found this review helpful

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