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2015 Ford C-MAX Hybrid

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2015 Ford C-MAX Hybrid Expert Review

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Toyota may still hold bragging rights when it comes to best hybrid car fuel economy, but Ford’s C-Max for 2015 offers a number of compelling arguments for why second best might be a better choice. When it comes to style, comfort, features and overall driving enjoyment, the C-Max leaves the Prius at the pumps. The 5-door C-Max Hybrid can accommodate four passengers and still have room in back for their gear. Flip down the folding rear seats, and the C-Max’s cargo bay rivals some compact SUVs. The C-Max shares its platform with the excellent Ford Focus, which is why we think, when compared to the Prius, the C-Max offers a quieter and more premium-feeling interior, a more engaging driving experience and, frankly, less generic styling.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you’re seeking good fuel economy in a green car that doesn’t look boring or overly futuristic, the 2015 Ford C-Max Hybrid deserves a good look. Handsome styling, a detailed interior and great driving dynamics leave little downside to this purchase.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you’re all about facts and figures, the Prius handily beats Ford’s 2015 C-Max Hybrid in miles per gallon. The Prius V offers more interior room, while the Prius C offers a lower starting price. Also, with two exceptions, the C-Max’s color choices are simply varying shades of black, white and silver.

How It Ranks

#2

out of 4

Fuel Economy

#2

out of 4

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

8.2 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2015 Ford C-MAX Hybrid Low/wide front photo What's New for 2015

Ford has made no changes to its C-Max Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid for 2015.

Driving the C-MAX Hybrid
2015 Ford C-MAX Hybrid Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

The C-Max’s ace in the hole isn’t its good fuel economy, but rather the way it rides and drives. We think Ford’s hybrid engine setup feels more spirited and responsive...

... than what Toyota has designed for the Prius, making the C-Max feel much more like a Focus or Honda CR-Z hybrid. A near seamless interchange between gas and electric motor will make you forget you’re driving a hybrid, although the cool LCD readouts inside the C-Max’s cockpit will quickly refresh your memory. Despite weighing nearly 600 pounds more than the Prius, the 2015 C-Max doesn’t suffer from sluggish acceleration or poor handling. Quite the contrary, our C-Max was a joy to push through winding roads and we loved the smooth ride and hushed cabin. In around town driving, the C-Max’s tall roof and expansive side glass provide excellent visibility, while the raised seats give a commanding view ahead.

MYFORD MOBILE
This clever app allows C-Max owners to manage charge times and check battery levels right from their smartphones. When traveling, the app displays a map of nearby charging stations.

ACTIVE GRILLE SHUTTERS
Better fuel economy is achieved when wind resistance is diminished. This is the thinking behind the C-Max’s active grille shutters that close at highway speeds, thus redirecting air over and around the front nose, reducing both drag and fuel consumption.

2015 Ford C-MAX Hybrid Details
2015 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 2015 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 6-footers. The cargo area offers slightly more space than the regular Prius, but significantly less than the larger Prius V.

Exterior
2015 Ford C-MAX Hybrid photo

In order to fuse aerodynamics with utility, the 2015 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 2015 Ford C-Max Hybrid 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
2015 Ford C-MAX Hybrid Engine photo

Every Ford C-Max Hybrid for 2015 features a 2.0-liter Atkinson-Cycle 4-cylinder engine, a gearless continuously variable automatic 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 19 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: 42/37 mpg (Hybrid), 40/36 mpg (Energi)

The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the base 2015 Ford C-Max Hybrid SE starts just under $25,000, with the top SEL trim tacking on an additional $3,000. Energi plug-in hybrid models begin closer to $32,500, but are eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $4,000, depending on the state where purchased. Prices for the Toyota Prius and Prius V start around $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, bringing the starting price to just over $30,000. Be sure to check KBB.com’s Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the 2015 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 Prius.

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2015 Ford C-MAX Hybrid Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.2
Out of 10

Based on 73 Ratings for the 2013 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.3/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.4/10
    Performance
    8.6/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

Impressed to say the least

By on Sunday, February 28, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 102

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "good ride, great fuel economy, very safe vehicle"

Cons: "honestly can't think of any"

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

"I owned a 2013 CMax SEL. My wife tboned a car that had run a red light at 45 MPH and walked away without a scratch. Front crumple zone and air bags performed exactly as intended. That car was totaled unfortunately but I just bought another. I had 34K miles on the 2013 and both my wife and I were extremely satisfied with the vehicle prior to the wreck and hugely impressed with the way the vehicle performed in the crash. The front end was totally smashed but the passenger cabin was untouched. We don't do anything special to enhance mileage but we averaged 44 mpg over 34k miles in the 2013. The 2016 CMAX SEL that we bought yesterday has the same "tight" feel that we liked in our 2013 and the fit and finish is excellent. We loved our 2013 and our 2013 took care of my wife well in what could have been a deadly crash. Let's put it this way. When the 2013 was totaled, we bought a 2016. That's how much we like the vehicle."

8 people out of 15 found this review helpful

I own two and we love them more than the Cadillac

By on Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 92,512

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: "Quiet, solid, beautiful, roomy, smooth, fun"

Cons: "cargo space is limited in energi due to battery"

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

"I bought two Cmax Energi ’s because I was tired of paying for $4 gas (of course it has come down a lot since then). I thought I would miss the luxury of my Cadillac but not the case; other than the prestige of Cadillac there is little to miss. My wife’s Cmax is loaded with navigation and Sony stereo and my base model Cmax is equipped as any Ford SEL model would be. These cars are beautiful to look at and fun to drive. Quiet, powerful, and way more room on the inside than some of the larger midsize cars. Fuel mileage is also way better than expected. I charge the cars in two hours for about 70 cents and then I can drive for more than 20 miles before I even need to use gas. My monthly electric bill is maybe $18 for each car and I drive over 480 miles just to and from work each month. So, like 3.5 pennies per mile while the Caddy would be getting about 15 cents a mile (based on $2 gas). So, in full disclosure, I pay about $220 a year to charge each car but I only put gas in mine 4 times last year. Another good point is that there are so few of them where I live. I think I saw a total of maybe ten different ones last year and of them only half were Energi. I would definitely buy another. As a matter of fact I am looking at used Cmax ’s for my daughter for when she turns 16. I love this car, my wife loves hers. I've owned over 30 cars, trucks and motorcycles to include three Mercedes and the one Cadillac, and this car is at the very top (of course technology has some to do with it). Oh, I almost forgot - you can program the car to warm up, in the winter, at a certain time in the morning so when you get to the car it's already warm and defrosted. I live upstate NY and as long as it's plugged in it saves on scraping ice. Very roomy for passengers, seats four adults very comfortably with front seats all the way back (not that you even need to be all the way back) rear legroom is unbelievable. Headroom and shoulder-room is awesome. Cargo space is limited because of the big battery in the back but we still shop for family of 4 with all of us in the car. Not a bad trade off and I'd do it all over again. Of course the higher the gas price raises, the better you love not having to buy it."

7 people out of 11 found this review helpful

better mpg than expected

By on Friday, February 5, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,600

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
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "great gas mileage, great pickup, higher seating"

Cons: "Wish the cargo area was slightly bigger"

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

"My 2015 CMax SE hybrid is a joy to drive. I was getting 47 mpg in the summer and 42 so far this winter. It is super quiet and has great pickup for merging on the highway. I test drove the Prius and Cmax and the Cmax won. I also like sitting up higher for better road visibility."

13 people out of 15 found this review helpful

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