2013 Ford C-Max Energi
It's not just good for taxi fleets.No Comments
Taller passengers won't feel like they're sitting in a Japanese subway car at rush hour.
After writing our little feature delving into the secrets of the plug-in hybrid, I was excited to get the chance to test one out in real-world conditions. Up for review this week is the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi, the plug-in version of the automaker's C-Max hybrid. It's being adopted for taxi use in Chicago on a surprisingly large scale, so it must be pretty great at hauling people around with relative efficiency, right?
The biggest difference between the standard C-Max and its PHEV brother is the larger lithium-ion battery, now suitable for extended jaunts at highway speeds without internal-combustion intervention. However, we didn't really get to experience EV-only mode on the highway; seeing as how Chicago has already frozen over for the winter, the additional draw from the cabin and seat heaters meant that the battery was depleting faster than it would in ideal conditions, so the motor would kick in to both power the drive wheels and charge the battery.
Thankfully, it's a near-seamless transition, with the relatively sedate noise of the inline-four as the sole tactile marker signaling the drivetrain is switching modes. Otherwise, without that noise and the drive-mode screen on the dashboard, you wouldn't know what was powering the vehicle at any time. That's actually a great thing for first-time hybrid buyers, as many have concerns over the feeling of driving a partially-electric vehicle.
While we did do plenty of suburban commuting under just the electric power, most of our driving was a mixture of both propulsion methods, and the gas mileage numbers we reached were similar to those stated by the EPA, so there aren't any unrealistic expectations. Well, there might be a few, but they aren't related to the C-Max's fuel economy.
Also, roughly half the time, the car wouldn't realize the radio was on after starting up, and you'd have to switch sources or stations for the C-Max to realize that you didn't want to sit in silence for the whole ride. That shouldn't be happening on a car of any price.
Power Output: 141 hp / 129 lb-ft (engine), 188 hp (net)
Fuel Economy: 108 city / 92 highway (MPGe), 44 city / 41 highway (gasoline engine only)
Base Price: $32,950
As Tested: $38,215 (incl. $795 destination, before incentives)
Optional Features: 301A (HD Radio, nine-speaker Sony audio system, navigation), 302A (301A plus power liftgate, rearview camera, hands-free liftgate), 303A (302A plus parking sensors and active parking assist), panoramic fixed-glass roof, push-button start