2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid Review
A hybrid that's actually fun to drive.No Comments
Where the C-MAX shines is in ride and handling. The ride is sporty but never overly stiff, and the C-MAX offers nicely weighted steering with a precision accuracy rarely found in this class.
Meet the C-MAX
Ford's C-MAX Hybrid has flown sort of under the radar--we'd almost forgotten about the vehicle until we received our invitation to drive it at the company's press preview--but after spending a day driving it in Southern California, we think it might soon be getting a wee bit more press.
Built to compete with the Toyota Prius V, the C-MAX is basically a cross between a Focus and an Escape with a hybrid powertrain (a plug-in hybrid, dubbed the C-MAX Energi, is planned for the near future).
Ford invited us to Los Angeles and its surrounding environs to test out the C-MAX among the glitterati and paparazzi, and we found that this new player in the hybrid game presents some intriguing questions to hybrid buyers.
Available in two trims, SE and SEL, C-MAX offers features such as: Ford's MyFordTouch and Sync infotainment systems, a hands-free power liftgate, in-floor storage, dual-zone climate control, a USB port, Bluetooth, a capless fuel-filler, keyless entry, Ford's MyKey security key, a tilt/telescope steering wheel, 17-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, an EcoGuide that tells the driver how efficiently he/she is driving, satellite radio, a reverse-sensing system, ambient interior lighting, a push-button start, and a park-assist system.
Prices start at $25,500 for the SE and $28,200 for the SEL. The SE we tested, which included MyFordTouch, the power liftgate, and a reverse-sensing system, cost $27,990, including the $795 destination fee.
Where the C-MAX shines is in ride and handling. The ride is sporty but never overly stiff, and the C-MAX offers nicely weighted steering with a precision accuracy rarely found in this class. The brakes also do a nice job slowing the proceedings, but they do get a bit spongy in initial pedal travel. Overall, this front-driver is pretty sprightly in the corners.
Wind and road noise is generally subdued, although some does trickle through, especially at highway speed.
The hands-free tailgate is handy, but one must have the key fob in his or her pocket to make it work, and it's hard to find the right spot to 'kick' at the bumper to activate the sensor. Yes, that's right, waving your foot under the rear bumper activates the hands-free tailgate.
Ford is promising 47 mpg (city and highway) for the C-MAX. We saw 35.6 during the first part of our drive, no doubt due to lead feet, but some journalists on our launch were reporting numbers in the 60s.