2013 Ford C-MAX
• Type. Four-door, front-wheel-drive hatchback hybrid.
• Engines (hp): 2.0-litre DOHC four-cylinder and electric motor (188).
• Mileage: L/100 km (city/hwy) 4.2/4.6 (base, est.).
• Base Price (incl. destination): $27,500 (est.).
When you think “hybrid,” images of green fields, fluffy white bunnies and the Toyota Prius likely dance around in your in head. The Prius has spent most of its life in a category of one, but a decade of success has also made it a sitting duck for companies such as Ford.
But is the new 2013 C-MAX wagon a real Prius fighter where it counts, in terms of fuel consumption? Yes, if you compare it to the least thrifty Prius v, that is. Put head-to-head against the Prius v, it has about the same interior room and quite a bit more power.
The C-MAX arrives this fall as Ford’s first dedicated hybrid brand, although it’s based on the automaker’s compact Focus architecture and has the same distance between the front and rear wheels and overall length as that model. But the C-MAX is more than 10 centimetres wider and 15 centimetres taller, making it ideal for hauling people and their gear.
At an anticipated $27,500, including destination charges (which is slightly less than the Prius v’s base starting price) the base C-MAX SE comes with dual-zone climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels and seven airbags. The SEL adds leather seats (heated in front), 10-way power driver’s seat, rain-sensing wipers and satellite radio. On the option list is a hands-free back-up parking assist and a power liftgate that opens and closes by shaking your foot beneath the bumper.
There should be no shortage of converts to the C-MAX Hybrid’s way of life, with its easy-on-the-eyes appearance, practical nature and easy-on-the-wallet fueling intervals.
The level of cargo space in the C-MAX is about equal to that of the Toyota Prius v, but offers nearly one-third more room than its chief rival with the rear seat folded flat.
As you would expect from its shape, the interior offers adult-sized head, knee and legroom.
What will really impact buyers is the flight-deck-style dashboard and control panel that would look at home in the Starship Enterprise.
The gauge pod boasts a brake coach that helps drivers maximize the regenerative braking system to help keep the lithium-ion batteries topped up.
Driving efficiency is a certainty with the C-MAX and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid powertrains, both of which will be available in the 2013 Ford Fusion sedan.
The gasoline component is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder that produces 141 horsepower. It works in tandem with a 106-horsepower
(estimated) electric motor.
Ford projects a net system output of 188 horsepower, which is 54 horsepower more than the competing Prius v.
Power is directed to the front wheels by a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Even with the extra power, Ford expects the C-Max to achieve a better fuel economy rating than the Prius v.