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Used 2013 Ford C-Max Energi Wagon Review

2013 Ford C-Max Energi Wagon

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Edmunds Summary Review of the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi Wagon

  • B Edmunds Rating
  • The Toyota Prius Plug-in has a new competitor in the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi. A nicer interior, better driving dynamics and better electric range and performance give the C-Max the advantage.

  • Pros

    High fuel economy complemented by useful plug-in hybrid technology; stylish and well-made interior; refined handling and ride; quick acceleration; abundant features list; elevated driving position.

  • Cons

    Considerably more expensive than regular C-Max; lacks useful cargo space for its size; MyFord Touch interface can be finicky to use.

  • What's New for 2013

    The 2013 Ford C-Max Energi is an all-new model.

Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2013 Ford C-Max Energi Wagon

What's New for 2013

The 2013 Ford C-Max Energi is an all-new model.


Ford launched an ad campaign a few years ago hinged on a theme of "bold moves." Meant to project the automaker's new tolerance for risk and daring, the campaign underpinned the arrival of shake-up cars like the Flex, Fusion Hybrid and F-150 Raptor. Although the marketing bravado has since faded, Ford is still throwing the dice, this time with the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi.

The C-Max wagon has already been on sale in Europe, but the 2013 model year marks the debut for the C-Max stateside. But where European buyers get conventional turbocharged gasoline- and diesel-powered models, Americans get one of two hybrid models: the C-Max Hybrid and the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid.

Like the C-Max Hybrid, the C-Max Energi uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor, a combination good for 188 total horsepower. Compared to the C-Max Hybrid, though, the Energi has a larger lithium-ion pack that allows it to go farther and faster on electric power alone -- up to 19 miles at a top speed of 85 mph. Ford also promises a full recharge is possible in about 3 hours on a 240-volt outlet.

This engineering attribute allows it to achieve an EPA combined rating of 88 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent). For comparison, the Toyota Prius Plug-In rates 95 MPGe and the Chevrolet Volt earns 98 MPGe. One needs to know, however, that "e" estimate relates to when the Energi is running in full electric mode. After that, it gets almost the same mileage (38 mpg) as the regular C-Max.

No matter which C-Max you look at, you'll find top-quality materials and construction that is more premium midsize sedan than economy wagon. There are plenty of tech-oriented features available, too, including parallel-parking assist and a power liftgate that opens up when you swing your foot underneath the rear bumper. The Energi also drives like a more expensive European car, with a comfortable ride, quiet cabin and responsive steering.

There are some drawbacks to the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi, however. One is price. To get this plug-in capability, you'll have to pay about $7,000 more when new than the Hybrid. Meager cargo capacity might also be an issue. While its passenger space is about the same, the Prius V beats the C-Max handily for carrying the spoils of an Ikea haul. The much-maligned MyFord Touch is also present and will require some time in the driveway to set up properly. Make sure to test it out at the dealership.

If you can see past these faults (as well as the oddball styling), then the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi should make an excellent, green-oriented suburban runabout for small families. It's an alternative to compact crossovers like the Honda CR-V, wagons like the 2013 VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI or the minivan style of the Mazda 5. It also compares well to plug-ins like the 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-In or Chevrolet Volt. The Energi may just be one of Ford's boldest gambles yet.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Ford C-Max Energi is a five-passenger hatchback wagon available in a single SEL trim level. The Ford C-Max Hybrid is reviewed separately. Standard equipment on the Energi includes 17-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors with integrated blind-spot mirrors, foglamps, automatic wipers, rear parking sensors, keyless entry/ignition, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats and an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (with power lumbar). Electronic features include the Sync voice-activated electronics interface, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a touchscreen display with the MyFord Touch interface, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, satellite radio and an iPod/USB audio interface.

The Premium Audio and Navigation package adds a navigation system and a nine-speaker Sony sound system with HD radio. To this you can add the Hands-Free Technology package, which includes a rearview camera and an enhanced power liftgate that allows you to open it simply by swiping your foot under the bumper. The Parking Technology package (requires the previous two packages) includes front parking sensors and an automatic parallel parking system.

A panoramic sunroof is a stand-alone option.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2013 Ford C-Max Energi is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine generating 141 hp and 129 pound-feet of torque. It's paired to an electric motor fed by a 7.6 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Combined, they produce an estimated 188 hp sent to the front wheels through a specialized continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

The battery pack is considerably larger than the one in the standard Fusion Hybrid, which allows the Energi to be propelled for up to 19 miles purely on electric power.

According to the EPA, the C-Max Energi achieves a combined MPGe of 88 miles, but as stated earlier that's when it is only running via electric power. Once that electric range is used up, it operates like the standard C-Max Hybrid and earns an EPA estimate of 38 mpg combined.


The 2013 Ford C-Max Energi comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. Also standard are 911 Assist, which automatically calls for emergency services via a Sync-paired smartphone, and MyKey, which allows owners to set certain speed and stereo volume parameters for teen drivers. Parking sensors and a rearview camera are available.

Interior Design and Special Features

The C-Max's cabin is a dead ringer for those in the Escape and Focus, and that's a good thing. Both of those cars use top-notch materials, solid construction and an eye-catching, if slightly over-designed, dash and instrument panel. The dash in particular is a massive expanse, so wide a large dog could take a nap on it. The seats are comfortable, with supportive bolstering that makes the C-Max feel sportier than you expect.

The C-Max unfortunately also shares its finicky infotainment system with its siblings, making even basic radio functions complicated. Even the optional MyFord Touch interface remains an imperfect and unintuitive means for controlling the car's many functions, including audio, climate controls and navigation. But there's an upside: The combination of MyFord Touch and the Sync system allows for hands-free operation and customization possibilities once you spend some time dialing in the system. Make sure to explore the system thoroughly during your test-drive.

A more significant downside is the C-Max's cargo capacity. The space needed for the Energi's battery pack beneath the floor of the cargo area reduces the capacity of the rear compartment, which is already fairly narrow. As a result, there's 19.2 cubic feet available behind the rear seats -- more than the Volt, but less than the Prius.

Lowering the seats gets you 42.8 cubic feet, which is still more than 20 cubic feet shy of a Prius V or typical small crossover SUV. Worse, the load floor is tiered, the battery pack creating a shelf behind the rear seats that rises about a foot higher than the load floor when the rear seats are folded.

Driving Impressions

Like other recent Fords, the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi feels like a more expensive European car in the way it's been tuned to provide both responsive handling and a refined ride. There's a substantial feel to the way it goes down the road, while the cabin is notably quiet -- especially compared to the Prius V. The C-Max's communicative steering is another strong point compared to the Toyota.

The C-Max's plug-in system is worthy of praise as well. Not only does the Energi return 38 mpg combined when burning only gasoline, but the battery extends the hatchback's range to more than 500 miles, Ford says. That's range that until now has been limited to established diesel-powered cars like the Volkswagen Jetta TDI.

If you're prone to acceleration outbursts, the C-Max happily obliges. Highway passing is not the chore you'd imagine, as the electric motor delivers instant, ample torque and helps the Energi hustle up to 85 mph on electricity alone.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating (See all 26 reviews) Write a Review

Buyers remorse, 5 years left to pay.

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Ford C-Max Energi

First off, this car gets great gas mileage, especially if you plug it in every night. It's comfortable, easy to get into and quiet. Problem is the sync system by microsoft. Big fail. it also has myFord touch, a system that you can see how you car is doing and program some of the features for the car using your cell phone. It does not even start to work. It was one of the reasons I wanted the car, because I thought it would be neat to program the charging times, see the charging, start the climate control before leaving home or work. It operates on the obsolete 2G cell system, that is currently being dismantled by At&t. because of this many of the advertised features of this car do NOT work. It also failes to sync with my phone properly. If you just looking for great gas mileage and do not care about the advertised technology available thru myford touch, then it's a good car. If you have any expectations that the info-entertainment system will do any thing other than play the radio, you will be highly frustrated and disappointed. This keeps me from loving the car, and makes me feel like Ford lied to me by saying these features worked. I'm going to drive it a couple of years, but this will be the last Ford or Microsoft product for me.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Fast, economical and practical

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Ford C-Max Energi

Hey its not the sexiest car on the road but it is roomy, quiet, comfortable and simply awesome for MPGe. In 21,000 miles I have used about $45 in gasoline. I have a level 2 charger so life is easier. I also do not have a long commute and most of my driving is within the electric only range of about 30 miles. My only complaint is the reduced cargo capacity due to the batteries. IMHO I believe FORD needs to: 1. Up the battery size to provide 100 miles + electric range. 2. Up the size of the onboard charger to speed charging of a larger battery 3. integrate the battery better so as to not take so much cargo room. I am OK if this reduces the gasoline tank size. These changes would take the C-Max Energi from a great car to a world-class leader in my books.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

After a year in the shop indefinitely

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Vehicle: 2013 Ford C-Max Energi

I have had my CMAX for just about a year and 14K miles. But now it is at the dealership waiting a for a high voltage controller that is backordered with NO estimated time to be available. I have a crummy base model Ford Focus instead of my loaded CMAX. I just hope it goes past 30 days as on the 31st day I will be filing a lemon law claim. The car is great but not if they can't get parts and Ford will not give you something decent for a loaner or call you back.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Ford does not solve the many problems this car has.

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Ford C-Max Energi

The Ford "Sync" feature does not work properly. The voice recognition feature does not understand anyone I know. Ford is aware of the problem and has installed several software updates, it still does not work. This makes the GPS feature useless. If GM "On-Star" is a "10", I would rate the Ford Sync a 1. It is very frustrating to try to use. The car has just stopped running on two occasions and required towing back to dealer. I was told there was a "computer glitch". The car has NO SPARE TIRE!!!!! No jack or lug wrench. They put a can of "fix a flat" under the seat and if that doesn't work, you will need to be towed!!! How stupid is that????

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

2013 c-max energi sel with all the goodies.

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Ford C-Max Energi

Purchased last month (May), one of the last 2013's on the dealers lot and purchased for well below invoice and 0% for 72. Originally was going to purchase a Focus Electric, but with range anxiety and needing more room, the C-Max Energi was the smarter choice. Even with a battery pack in the trunk, can fit a stroller out back, will swallow groceries with ease, and with the rear seats down, a wheelchair will fit. Car sees 80% city driving and 20% freeway, achieving 120 mpge (EV mode) and 53 mpg (hybrid mode). On a 120v charge, range is 26 miles and haven't been to the gas station in over a month! Made the right choice with this car, love it!

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

Cmax energi 156,000 miles

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Ford C-Max Energi

Update May 2016: So almost 3- years of ownership and well over 150K miles. Car has never been in the shop except to replace the 12V "starting battery" for $140. All I have done to this car is rotate tires and change fluids. Typically 15,000-18,000 miles between oil changes. I am getting a little wind noise from one of the rear doors, I think it's the seal. Other than that the car has been flawless. Original post: I purchased my Energi in August 2013. So far the car has been flawless other than some bugs in the "Sync" system that have been fixed by a software update. I typically drive 200 miles per day on Southern California freeways commuting to various construction sites. I often drive into Los Angeles, the deserts and mountains for work. This car is very comfortable at freeway speeds, where I drive with the flow of traffic, often 80 mph. At the speeds I drive and distances between charges, I am very happy with my 42+ mpg. I am by no means a hyper-miler, and I carry hundreds of pounds of gear in the car every day.

Talk About The 2013 C-Max Energi

2013 Ford C-Max Energi Discussions See all Started By

There are supposed to be 2 types of C-Max cars with 3 trims total, C-Max Hybrid SE, C-Max Hybrid SEL, and C-Max Energi (SEL trim here as well but referred to as just Energi)....

My most recent blogs are on smartphone Apps for C-Max owners: http://cmaxchat.com/?p=623 and finding charger locations for C-Max Energi owners: http://cmaxchat.com/?p=663 Some of you may find my blog...

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2013 Ford C-Max Energi Wagon in VA is:

$63.83 per month*

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