Thursday, January 31, 2013

First Drive: 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid

The Ford C-Max has been around since 2003, serving as Ford's entry in the European compact MPV market. The first generation, which was in production from 2003 to 2010, used the Ford C1 platform, which was also used for the Ford Focus Mk II and the Mazda 5. Production for the second generation C-Max started in 2010. In 2012, the C-Max made its way to North America. While the European market C-Max has various different engines to pick from, the North American C-Max comes only with a hybrid drivetrain. I have seen a few C-Maxes on the Houston roads, but I only got a distant glimpse at them. At the 2013 Houston Auto Show, there were two C-Maxes available for test drives. The only difference between the two was the color. For the ride and drive event, Ford had several cars to choose from. The popular Ford was the Mustang 5.0. Since there were only four representatives rode along on the test drives, participants were restricted to driving in the parking lot. Out of the 70 vehicles I test drove over the five day period, the C-Max was the only vehicle I drove twice. The first time was Friday night in the parking lot. For the second time out in the C-Max, I was able to drive on the streets. The C-Max was the last car I drove on Sunday. The C-Max is a front engine, front-wheel drive five-door compact MPV.

As far as styling goes, there are a few things that stand out. The C-Max has a double grill. The upper grill is from a Ford Focus and the lower grill is from the Ford Fusion. The styling is similar to the Ford Escape. Other than that, nothing real special about the styling. The C-Max has a nice sized interior. There is plenty room for five. Behind the wheel, I had plenty of head room and leg room. The seat was comfortable. The gauges are nice. On the right, there is a screen that uses leaves to show the driver how efficiently the person is driving.

The C-Max is powered by a both an Atkinson cycle 2.0L I4 engine that produces 141 hp and 129 lb-ft of torque and a permanent magnet AC synchronous electric motor that produces 118 hp and 117 lb-ft of torque. The C-Max comes with a 1.4 kWh lithium ion battery pack. The combined hybrid powertrain produces 188 hp. The C-Max uses a CVT transmission. The C-Max goes from 0 to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds and has at top speed of 115 mph. The C-Max can reach 62 mph will only using electric mode. The C-Max has good acceleration for a hybrid. The C-Max also has smooth acceleration. I felt no jerks will accelerating. The C-Max has a smooth, quiet ride.  Prices for the C-Max Hybrid SE starts at $25,995. Prices for the C-Max Hybrid SEL starts at $28,995. That is a fair price for a hybrid. The C-Max performs very well compared to the Honda Insight, Toyota Prius and Prius V, and the Chevrolet Volt.

The Ford C-Max Hybrid was featured in Motorweek.

Overall, the Ford C-Max Hybrid is a good hybrid. The ride is smooth. It has good acceleration. The interior is nice and roomy. The styling is nothing special, but it is better than the Volt, Prius, Prius C, and Insight. If you are in the market for a hybrid, give the C-Max a test drive. If you are in the market for a five seat MPV, give the C-Max a test drive. Compared to the competition, the C-Max is the best value for a hybrid.


CarJunkie
Photo was taken by a digital camera.
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