Ford’s CMAX Energi is a plugin hybrid that doesn’t skimp on …

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Ford’s C-MAX Energi is a hybrid that doesn’t on power — TECH AUTO REVIEW


Posted: 02/11/13, 12:00 AM EST |

As go more and more green, all of the are battling to be the most fuel-efficient; all, who wants to pay for gas more than you have to?

One company has made large strides in area in recent years is which has garnered a lot of attention for 2013 offerings — the new Ford Fusion, and the brand new — which comes in regular hybrid and plug-in versions.

I recently had the chance to a 2013 C-MAX Energi hybrid, and I’ll fill you in on the and what it offers — in terms of mpg and eco-friendly features, as as the overall performance and look of the

There are a variety of colors on the C-MAX, but my test vehicle a very sharp Ruby Red look.

The interior was black which is standard on the Energi (which only has one trim SEL). If you go with the standard version of the C-MAX, you can choose a trim level (SE) features cloth seats.

My vehicle featured 17-inch wheels, which are standard on the plug-in, but can be downsized on the standard

Trying to figure out what this new vehicle fits is kind of tricky. It’s on the smaller side (it’s on the same platform as the Ford but the compartment still feels roomy due to a decent amount of and passenger space. It’s referred to as a hybrid utility but to me it felt like somewhere a larger small vehicle and a mid-size vehicle.

One major loss is in the trunk area, is taken up mostly by the battery, very little space for anything in the trunk.

Translation: It’s not really to work as a family vehicle, I found out during my time in the car family excursions. It just cramped in those situations.

I say based on my time in the car that vehicle would work as a commuter vehicle to take to and work, and to run errands around but don’t plan on taking the around in it.

The C-MAX Energi both a 7.6-kilowatt lithium-ion and a conventional 2-liter engine, and other hybrids it can switch and forth between the two if that’s how you your settings.

Regenerative is at work here, harnessing from your braking to keep the battery powered. The even tells you how well you are and lets you know how to improve in area.

The difference here is it’s also a plug-in The charge port is on the front side of the vehicle, and included the vehicle is a charging cord, can be used to plug into any capable of handling 110 volts.

A charge at the 110 volt level take about seven so you’d want to charge it before heading out to work the day, for example. If you’re in the for faster charging, special must be installed.

You can install a level 2 charger, which about $1,500 including With this equipment, you can charge the C-MAX Energi in 2.5 so the recharge time is much Any public charging stations you find  will use Level 2 (there’s not many in Michigan though, as these type of are still a small percentage of the on the road).

The MyFordMobile app, will be launched soon, can you look up charging station It also lets you connect to vehicle and check charge how much juice is left,


There are three modes on the Energi.

AUTO mode is where the automatically starts; this is conventional hybrid mode, the car will decide for itself to run in gas or electric mode.

EV Now Mode is all no gas used whatsoever. You can drive for up to 21 in this range. What means is that if your is less than 20 miles, you can get to without using any gas.

And if you a charging station at work, you can do the on the ride home. Once the depletes, you automatically will to AUTO mode. You can drive as as 85 mph in EV mode.

EV Later mode in play when, for example, going to drive through a area or are starting a long and you want to save battery for later. You will run on gas engine depleting basically none of the power.

In pure electric the C-MAX ranks a very 108 MPGe city/100 MPGe MPGe highway (MPGe is a hours equivalency to gas,

These numbers, in plain mean that as long as you are not long drives for the most and are able to charge your Energi regularly, you’ll be a distant stranger to the gas station.

The where I ran into a bit of a disappointment was in of overall gas mileage when in mode.

The vehicle lists at 43 mpg city/highway, but in my testing of the vehicle I got above 30 mpg. True, I was mostly in the city, so I didn’t to achieve the 43 mpg mark, but I expected — as I’ve tested hybrids that can average over 40 mpg.


The good news is that the are gone when drivers of had to worry about the cost of an expensive battery. The C-MAX has moved on to the next generation of — lithium ion; and the batteries were nickel hydride and it was 8 to 10 years or 150K before they had issues. ion batteries should last at that long, so the battery last the lifetime of the vehicle.


beyond the hybrid/plug-in aspects of the Energi, you get a bevy of tech inside the vehicle.

All C-MAX vehicles come with the system that improves by allowing you to control the vehicle’s climate, navigation and make calls all by voice. On the regular it’s not standard, but you can option up to it.

is offered on all C-MAX models, but is not and must be added. I would recommend it.

Steering wheel let you use push buttons to command the control, volume, change and delve through the mass of screens that are offering about the vehicle (MPG, pressures, and much more).

is also a voice button on the that you push when you to make a voice command.

An Eco offers real-time information on how you are driving, and shows whether you are the gas engine and when you are using the

I like this feature, as it as a sort of teacher to help you get fuel economy.

An ECO cruise feature makes it so that getting the best fuel possible while you are in cruise.

You get dual zone climate which is nice if driver and have different tastes.


A lot of folks steer of hybrids because their is a lack of power.

This is one where Ford has a leg up on some of its — as the C-MAX Energi a fully charged battery is of 195 horsepower. If the battery is not fully it’s 188 hp

This provides for a that doesn’t necessarily like it’s coming a hybrid/plug-in vehicle. You don’t to go from 0; and in fact it’s than many hybrid in its ability to get going from a

For the most part, if the gauges showing you that this is a hybrid, you wouldn’t feel it driving the C-MAX Energi.


The C-MAX Energi some nice safety too, such as blind mirrors. A little yellow will come on when is driving in your blind You can see the mirror and tell you shouldn’t

A reverse sensing system will beep if something is in the way or getting too close to vehicle you.

There are also airbags in the vehicle.

Other you can choose on the Energi are:  liftgate, active park (vehicle can parallel park using your hands; but you to hit gas and brakes still), and navigation.


The regular C-MAX began hitting dealerships in September 2012, and the C-MAX since late November and it’s continuing to roll out in its phase. Depending on customer the vehicle will be able to its supply, as it is built at the Michigan Plant in the city of Wayne.

Zusman, of the Ford communication said that while the is an all-new nameplate, Ford is about it success so far.

She that Ford has four new vehicles on the market right

The Focus Electric, which in 2012; The C-MAX hybrid and Energi that came fall; and the Fusion hybrid also debuted in the fall the Fusion Energi 2013 soon down the pipeline).

The on the C-MAX Energi is $32,950, but doesn’t include the federal tax you get with the vehicle, which bring its base price just below $30K. The I tested had all the goodies on it (premium and navigation; hands-free technology power liftgate, rear camera, keyless entry/start/tailgate, technology (active park-assist and a sunroof. All of this boosted the up by about $4,000. The metallic like I had will also an additional $395, if you go that

After it all, my test came to $34K or so including the tax You can get for the minimum and save a few grand, if that’s your preference.

If you want to plug in and just the regular hybrid version of the it starts at just under for the base model.

As a side not coincidentally the $32K price for the is right on par with what is charging for their Prius model, the closest direct to the C-MAX Energi. It’s who they are trying to beat in this segment.

There are a lot of and plug-ins out there, so what a C-MAX model?

Zusman it’s a case of a more package than competitors.

The is you benefit from great economy; you get great performance and On top of all that, it’s just a ride. You don’t expect from this type of

It’s done really and we’re hoping that continue.

I like the fact Ford is trying to push the as far as their fuel economy and program. They’ve come a way in a short time, and the future bright.

The C-MAX I drove was an vehicle to drive, though I was in the overall fuel mileage I Still, my overall impression of the was positive. I think that if someone who has access to charging or are willing to put one in your house, and a short commute to work, type of plug-in vehicle is a alternative to consider.

You can avoid to buy gas so often that the savings it will be immense.

But I also have to say that due to the of charging locations around the of Michigan, and probably much of the vehicles like the C-MAX won’t become the dominant anytime soon. They may to gain market share, by little. But change in this won’t come rapidly there is an infrastructure to support it.

like the C-MAX are also a option for people who want to go the or EV route, but don’t want to a vehicle from a foreign manufacturer. While the fuel numbers might not be as strong as a or some other hybrid/plug-in the C-MAX does offer a ride and more power some of these competitors cool features like the park assist), and it’s a of deciding what is most to you — just the fuel or that plus the overall experience.

If you’re seriously in the for an eco-friendly vehicle like the I would recommend giving one a run along with some of the both domestic and foreign; you just find yourself in the Oval camp when all is and done.

For more information on the Energi, visit .

Myftiu can be reached at or Follow him on Twitter @MattMyftiu or a fan of the Facebook page OPTechTime. out his blog at .

Ford C-Max Energi


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