Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ford C-Max Hybrid Sel Gives a Smooth Ride

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ford C-Max Hybrid Sel Gives a Smooth Ride

Article excerpt

Ford C-Max Hybrid SEL: Smooth, sippy family mover.

Price: $32,075 as tested, including a $3,080 package that adds premium audio and navigation, power liftgate, rear camera and automated parking. (A base model starts at $25,020.)

Marketer's pitch: Hybrid efficiency. Real-world performance.

Conventional wisdom: Edmunds.com credits its "superb gas mileage ... refined ride and responsive handling."

Reality: I'd call it 2 1/2 out of 3.

Weekend vehicle: The C-Max came to me in an unusual way. Normally, I work with fleet companies that provide test vehicles for members of the media. But this time, I borrowed a model in stock from a dealership for the weekend.

It's not often I get a vehicle with just 16 miles on it, so I felt really obligated to give it extra-special care. But I put close to 250 miles on it over the weekend, so I was still able to fully serve you, the reader.

Something new: Ford started selling the C-Max Hybrid in the fall. The five-passenger box is designed to compete with the Toyota Prius V, the largest of Toyota's hybrid offerings.

Introduction: With its high ceiling, low floor and plenty of storage, the C-Max also provides some competition for the Scion xB or the Kia Soul. Although it costs almost half-again as much as these, its price is on par with the Prius.

Fuel economy: The C-Max is much sippier than the aforementioned boxes. I observed 38 m.p.g. in a highway-heavy mix of driving, much lower than the advertised 47 m.p.g. highway and city. We'll give Ford a bit of credit for a few mpg for the vehicle not yet being broken in.

We're all accustomed to "your mileage may vary" disclaimers, but for comparison, a Prius I test-drove last year averaged just a hair under 50 m.p.g., which is right between its EPA estimates of 51 city and 48 highway. So I was less than impressed with the C-Max's real- world numbers.

Now for something really different: Ford is planning to offer a plug-in hybrid version of the C-Max in this year.

Performance: The nice part about most hybrids is that power is there when you need it. The C-Max is no exception. The multi- activity vehicle is much better for shooting onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike than, say, the tiny Chevrolet Spark. …

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