2013 Ford CMax Hybrid review

17 Май 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи 2013 Ford CMax Hybrid review отключены
FORD Focus Electric � Electric Car 107kW Auto

And now for something completely different

With gas prices ever on the rise and a need to meet higher government fuel economy standards, Ford is wagering that the European-designed 2013 Ford C-Max will be a hit with American buyers — and they’ve hedged their bets by giving the C-Max a high-MPG hybrid drivetrain. But will Americans give up their CUVs for this unusual car? Read on.

First Glance: Another whitespace vehicle from Ford

If you’ve traveled to Europe, you’ve probably seen a lot of vehicles like the Ford C-Max — a tall 5-seater that looks like the incestuous love child of a Ford Focus and a Ford Explorer. The British call these vehicles small MPVs (Multi-Purpose Vehicle, the same moniker they apply to minivans) and it’s as apt a title as any. Europeans choose mini-MPVs rather than CUVs due to their absurdly high gas prices, and given our own experience in such matters over the last few years, Ford has wisely decided that the C-Max might be a good idea for America. (And Canada — sorry, guys, didn’t mean to leave you out.)

The C-Max is about the same size as the Ford Focus on which it is based — length-wise it’s actually right between the Focus hatch and sedan — but it stands nearly half a foot taller. Note the grille and wheels, which are inspired-by-slash-borrowed-from the battery-powered Ford Focus electric. As you can probably guess from the name, Ford is bringing the C-Max to the US exclusively as a hybrid, with a plug-in hybrid version (the C-Max Energi) set to follow next year. No surprise, then, that Ford is pitching the C-Max Hybrid against the Prius. especially the jumbo-sized v model.

And they’ve priced it accordingly: At $25,995, the C-Max SE starts mid-way between the two senior Prii, with the leather-lined SEL model starting at $28,995 and a fully loaded example going for $33,710.

Dash looks simple at first glance, but it’s a lot more complicated than it seems

Photo Aaron Gold

In the Driver’s Seat: Not as simple as it seems

The C-Max’s dashboard (link goes to photo) struck me as notably less complex than other European-designed Fords (ie the Fiesta and Focus ), although that may have been an illusion brought on my by top-of-the-line SEL test car’s MyFord Touch system, which replaces the stereo and navigation controls with a single touch screen. Consumer Reports recently trashed MyFord Touch as being too complicated; touch-screen maven that I am, I don’t mind it as much as others, although it does manage to over-complicate some rather simple tasks. (At least it comes bundled with the excellent SYNC voice-recognition system.) The C-Max does at least get traditional dials and buttons for the dual-zone air conditioning; too bad they’re hidden behind the shifter, making them difficult to use when the car is in Park. Up on the instrument panel, the C-Max features the SmartGauge system from the Fusion Hybrid. a traditional speedometer flanked by two LCD screens that can display all sorts of information, mostly about what the hybrid system is (or isn’t) doing.

FORD Focus Electric � Electric Car 107kW Auto

But when it comes to the basics, the C-Max has them covered well: The multi-adjustable front seats (which use eco-friendly soy-based cusions) are comfortable, and the back seat is every bit as tall and roomy as the one in the C-Max’s alleged rival, the Prius V. There are even hidden storage compartments under the rear passenger’s feet. Cargo space is 24.5 cubic feet, a good 10 cubes short of the Prius V and most small CUVs, but the floor is flat and the rear seatbacks fold down with a single lever. My favorite feature is the optional foot-activated tailgate: If your hands are full, you can open the trunk by waving your foot under the bumper — provided you have the key on your person, that is.

On the Road: Hybrid power — but what about hybrid fuel economy?

C-Max’s back seat has as much room as a CUV — or a Prius V

Photo Aaron Gold

While the European C-Max gets a selection of small gasoline and diesel engines, our ex-pat version has a hybrid drivetrain based around a 2-liter Atkinson-cycle engine. Total system output is 188 horsepower, about 50 more than the Prius and the Prius V. That shows in the way the C-Max charges up steep hills that leave the Toyotas gasping for breath. And the hill descent mode, activated by a button on the side of the shifter, does a great job of holding the C-Max’s speed on the way down.

Being based on the Focus, you’d expect the C-Max to be rather entertaining to drive. The steering certainly feels good and the C-Max holds its line in the corners nicely, but the 3,600+ lb. curb weight and low-rolling-resistance Michelin Energy tires (which give up their grip quickly, and noisily) put the kibosh on any real fun, and the touchy brakes made smooth deceleration difficult. The C-Max is certainly more entertaining than the Prius; then again, so is a good game of solitaire.

FORD Focus Electric � Electric Car 107kW Auto
FORD Focus Electric � Electric Car 107kW Auto

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