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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

8.1 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
8.1
Out of 10

Based on 63 Ratings for the 2013 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.2/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    8.2/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

great travel vehicle

By on Friday, July 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"bought this for travel and fuel savings. has met all expectations. after 4 or 5 hours on road can get out and not be stiff. has all and more feature than my Mercedes 350. Weights more than similar size cars and is fun to drive, like a little sports car."

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Best car I have ever owned

By on Wednesday, July 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,600

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun to drive, great milage, fast accelleration"

Cons: "I do miss having a spare tire, security blanket"

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

"I will for ever be spoiled. Great gas mileage. Very quiet ride. Handles very well. Interior is very classy."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Awesome except for Ford Mytouch

By on Monday, June 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,400

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good looking, lots of nice features."

Cons: "I for applink with Ford MyTouch."

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

"My mileage has been great. I just got off a 5800 mile road trip and I did find out one thing about hybrids. They do not like big wind. I had a 25 to 30 mph head wind for 2 days of my driving across country. It was so windy that even going down hill the EV wouldn't kick in. That fateful day I got 30.5 mpg (which is still better that I have ever gotten in any car I have ever owned). Also I was driving at 83 mph (the new speed limits in Wyoming and South Dakota are 80 mph). After 2 days of big wind and rain, I got around 40 mpg on freeway driving for the rest of the trip. No complaints here. My only problem is with the Ford MyTouch interface. It doesn't support applink. The cheaper version that comes in the SE does support it. Ford is being very quiet on why this is. All they keep talking about is the new MyTouch 3.0 which will come in next years car (sigh). Other than the Vehicle Health Report not running (there is a software fix at the dealer... already scheduled) it has been awesome. I highly recommend it. Don't believe these folks that say they get gas mileage in the upper 20s, low 30s all the time. I don't think if I even tried to get mileage like that I could accomplish it. Normal driving I get 43 to 46 mpg without even trying that hard (OK I try a little bit)."

6 people out of 11 found this review helpful

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