Used 2014 Ford C-Max Energi Wagon Review & Ratings | Edmunds
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Used 2014 Ford C-Max Energi Wagon Review

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Edmunds Summary Review of the 2014 Ford C-Max Energi Wagon

  • B Edmunds Rating
  • The 2014 Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid wagon provides a very desirable mix of fuel economy, electric-only range, utility and refinement. Depending on your priorities, though, competitors might work out better.

  • Pros

    High fuel economy; decent electric-only range; stylish and well-made interior; refined handling and ride dynamics; 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 2014

    Apart from minor tweaks to the transmission and body aerodynamics to improve fuel efficiency, the Ford C-Max Energi continues essentially unchanged for 2014.

Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2014 Ford C-Max Energi Wagon

What's New for 2014

Apart from minor tweaks to the transmission and body aerodynamics to improve fuel efficiency, the Ford C-Max Energi continues essentially unchanged for 2014.

Introduction

Plug-in hybrids occupy a sliver of a market niche between standard hybrid cars and full electric vehicles. With their larger-capacity battery packs, plug-ins typically allow you to drive somewhere between 10 and 40 miles (depending on which one you get) purely on electric power before switching over to normal hybrid operation. Within this tiny segment, the five-passenger 2014 Ford C-Max Energi wagon has plenty of good points in its favor and only a few against it.

As with the C-Max Hybrid, the Energi employs a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine paired with an electric motor. The Energi, however, has a larger lithium-ion battery pack, and that allows owners to drive up to 19 miles (and at speeds up to 85 mph) solely on electric power. For many people, this could be enough to run errands or commute to work without ever switching over to gas. And fully recharging the Ford C-Max Energi on a 240-volt system takes just a few hours.

On longer drives, the C-Max Energi switches over to standard hybrid mode using both gas and electric power. In our testing of a 2013 model, we had little difficulty eking out 40 mpg in this mode. Ford says it has made a few tweaks to the 2014 C-Max Energi to boost fuel economy, though its recently adjusted EPA combined rating is identical to last year's car at 38 mpg combined.

Beyond its meager appetite for fuel, the 2014 Ford C-Max Energi has much more to recommend it. The handsome cabin is tightly constructed, boasts high-quality materials and offers ample passenger space. There are also plenty of available high-tech conveniences available including automated parallel parking assist and a power liftgate that's operated by swinging your foot under the rear bumper. Notably, the Energi also drives like a more expensive European car, with a comfortable ride, quiet cabin and responsive steering.

Still, we have to ding the C-Max Energi in a few areas. Price is one: This plug-in version of the C-Max runs nearly $5,000 more than a comparably equipped standard C-Max Hybrid. Then, there's its cargo capacity. The regular C-Max will never win a trophy for hauling capabilities, and the Energi fares even worse due to its larger and awkwardly placed battery pack. Lastly, the available MyFord Touch electronic interface can be frustrating and distracting to use. We suggest trying it out at the dealership before opting for this feature.

If you're shopping for a plug-in hybrid car, there are a few main rivals to consider: 2014 Chevy Volt, Ford Fusion Energi, 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid and the 2014 Toyota Prius Plug-In. Each has its own main draw. The Volt offers the best electric-only range; the Accord and Fusion are arguably the most normal-looking and -driving cars in this group, and the Prius provides the most cargo space and the best fuel economy in hybrid mode. Although it doesn't have any huge advantages over these competitors, the 2014 Ford C-Max Energi is nonetheless an excellent, green-themed runabout for small families who want a hybrid car with plug-in capability.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2014 Ford C-Max Energi is a five-passenger plug-in hybrid wagon available in a single SEL trim level. The non-plug-in 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 and 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 two-way power lumbar). Electronic features include the Sync voice-activated electronics interface, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an 8-inch 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 2014 Ford C-Max Energi is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine generating 141 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with 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 C-Max Hybrid, which allows the Energi to travel up to 19 miles purely on electric power. Using a 240-volt charging station, fully recharging the pack only takes about 2.5 hours.

In Edmunds testing, a C-Max Energi accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds, which is a quick time for a hybrid, plug-in or not, and a slightly quicker result than the C-Max Hybrid.

Once the C-Max Energi's pure-electric range is used up, it operates like the standard C-Max Hybrid. The official EPA fuel economy estimate stands at 38 mpg combined.

Safety

The 2014 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. Rear parking sensors are standard, and front parking sensors and a rearview camera are optional.

In Edmunds brake testing, the C-Max Energi came to a stop from 60 mph in 128 feet, which is a bit longer than average in its segment. In government crash tests, the C-Max Energi received four out of five stars for overall protection, with four stars for overall frontal protection and five stars for overall side protection. The standard C-Max Hybrid received the best possible rating of "Good" in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's moderate overlap frontal-offset, side crash and roof strength tests, as well as a "Good" rating for its seat/head restraint design for whiplash protection in rear impacts. The C-Max Hybrid received the second-highest score of "Acceptable" in the IIHS's small overlap frontal-offset test.

Interior Design and Special Features

The C-Max's cabin will feel familiar if you have been in the current Escape or Focus, and that's a good thing. All of these cars have 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 expected, and the elevated driving position provides a nice view of the road ahead.

The C-Max unfortunately also shares its finicky infotainment system with its siblings, making even basic radio functions complicated. The optional MyFord Touch interface remains an imperfect and often counterintuitive means of 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 voice control 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 are just 19.2 cubic feet available behind the rear seats -- more than the Volt, but less than the Prius.

Lowering the seats opens up 42.8 cubic feet, which is more than 20 cubic feet shy of a Prius V or a typical small crossover SUV. Worse, the load floor isn't flat when the seats are folded, as the battery pack creates a high shelf behind the rear seats that sits about a foot higher than the load floor.

Driving Impressions

Like other recent Fords, the 2014 Ford C-Max Energi feels like a more expensive European car in the way it drives. While that ride isn't exactly cushy, there's a substantial feel to the way the C-Max goes down the road. The cabin is also notably quiet, especially compared to the Prius, and the communicative steering is another strong point. The Energi is stable through turns, though its big battery pack makes it a bit less nimble compared to the regular C-Max. Interestingly, braking at low speeds feels far more natural in the C-Max Energi than it does in the standard C-Max hybrid, as the plug-in avoids the grabby pedal action that's common with the energy-recovering braking systems in hybrids.

The C-Max's plug-in system is worthy of praise as well. Besides the genuinely useful electric-only range and impressive fuel economy, the Energi's big battery pack extends the hatchback's range to more than 500 miles. Or, if it's spirited acceleration you want, the C-Max happily obliges. Acceleration is strong for a hybrid hatchback/wagon, and even highway passing isn't the weak-kneed chore normally associated with hybrids.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating (See all 5 reviews) Write a Review

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Loved this car until one day...

by on
Vehicle: 2014 Ford C-Max Energi SEL 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Overall, this was a fun car to drive and own. I really enjoyed driving past the gas stations! Stylish and modern for an SUV. The fun ended after 11 months of owning the car. Finding parts to repair damage to the charge port = 6 weeks in the shop. Estimate for finding parts to repair passenger doors due to damage while parked at the mall 4 weeks. The transmission began slipping and things went downhill from there. Three trips to the dealer (must be a specific, qualified dealer by the way) and still no resolution. The dealer has been really nice through this but the transmission module does not exist anywhere in the world, apparently. It's been waiting on the transmission unit for 59 days (I chose to wait, hoping to get my car back fixed). The last 18 days a mystery unit has been "in transit" but did not appear at the dealer as promised 10 days ago and I have not been successful getting the dealer or the regional Ford CSM to locate it. Ford is currently working with me to resolve my situation and get me into another vehicle. It was a fun car, I felt really good driving something green that I actually liked. Loved the "Go Times" where I could program the car to have the interior at a certain temp by a certain time of the day. So on icy cold mornings hubby went to defrost his Prius while my C-Max purred silently melting the mess from mine. Obviously this feature hits your MPG rate pretty hard. It addressed my wish for a green SUV. I routinely saw 58-60 MPG electric/gas combined for my commute. The first 21 - 26 miles were electric. My weekend errands were 100% electric. :) In the winter, however, between driving conditions and the Go times I saw it drop to 38-40 MPG. It did lack some space due to the batteries and not having a spare felt almost "naked". Maybe redesign the hatch to be a door and mount the spare there? The electronics were annoying, even for a technology professional such as myself, and almost pointless. MyFord could do more to inform you. For instance, I ran the Vehicle Health Report because the engine light came on. It informed me to check the dash for a check engine icon... Wow, how helpful! Switching lanes on the highway was a bit rough but for the most part the ride was comfortable, next to no interior noise. The car rides low which was an issue for snow storms and mud season on my dirt road. It could use a little more height. But, it was easy to get into and out of front and back seats. Lumbar support was a nice feature that I appreciated. Ambient lighting was a nice touch that allowed me to customize the lighting to my mood. Love not having a gas cap. Having a charging outlet that is always on should be standard on all vehicles, not just this one! I hope Ford works the kinks out of this car and add a 4 wheel drive option. There is a market for fuel efficient SUVs, despite with some automakers believe. Making it 4 wheel as opposed to all wheel will give the driver the option of when they want to come out of fuel efficiency to improve driving. I was forced to shovel to the ground after every storm as snow tires and Low gear do not improve grip at all. I got stuck in my own driveway a couple times which was embarrassing to call for a tow truck to help get me out.



5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Diesel to electric

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Vehicle: 2014 Ford C-Max Energi SEL 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Love this car! I looked at other Hybrids (foreign and domestic), but when I drove this.... it was the one. Drives great, very quiet, smooth, roomy, and lots of head room. I have had it for almost 6 months and rarely buy gas. We installed a 220 charger about a month after the purchase and very glad I did. Charging time went from about 6 hours to 2 hours. If you go on trips around 20 miles, you may never buy gas again. I wanted something comfortable on the highway. This fits the bill. We have a Lincoln MKT as well, and this seems just as quiet and comfortable but uses much less gas. Just went on a 500 mile road trip and averaged about 40 mpg. Around town I have got as much as 175 MPG on a tank of gas. I went from a sporty Diesel and wasn't sure if it would feel as great to drive. It may not be as sporty, but it is great to drive. I hope Ford keeps making this so I can buy another in 4 years. Maybe buy then they can increase the cargo space some, but with 2 people on a road trip, we can always use the back seat.



9 of 9 people found this review helpful

An suv lover's hybrid-plugin

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Vehicle: 2014 Ford C-Max Energi SEL 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I. Love. It. Bought 1 yr ago. Waited to post review 'til had driven through MA winter & had a yrs cost data. Total cost for year: $0.06/mile (SUV = $0.19/mile). Overall mpg = 97 mpg (SUV = 18 mpg). Costs $0.96/night to charge, using reg 110V plug in garage. For full yr, spent $283 on 8 tanks of gas + 365 days x $0.96/night electricity = $633. Went 10,321 miles. Maintenance was once at 10K miles, cost $0. Did amazingly well in winter w stock tires; heavy weight + low center of gravity help a lot. Only garaged on the 2-feet-of-snow days. ADMISSION: I learned how to drive a hybrid and am as diligent as possible about it. Feels weird at 1st but now normal. Makes big diff!



9 of 9 people found this review helpful

Fun to drive with fantastic mileage

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Vehicle: 2014 Ford C-Max Energi SEL 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I've had my new 2014 CMax Energi for 1 month and I'm loving it. I haven't been to the gas station yet. I'm averaging 102 MPG with a +/- 20 mile daily commute and 2 100 mile trips over Christmas. The few days I've used the heat do make me wonder how much efficiency will drop with a/c use come summer. It has so much power and handling ability, you will forget you are being green!



12 of 12 people found this review helpful

2014 energi, what a techno marvel: welcome to 2020

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Vehicle: 2014 Ford C-Max Energi SEL 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

This is our first hybrid car. I wish we hadn't waited so long. The car just makes perfect sense, and what a way to say "screw Big Oil!" We've only had the car about two weeks, and we are already very impressed. Ford did a great job with it. My fiancee drives it to work everyday, about 42 miles round trip. Our terrain is rural back roads, open highway and a bit hilly--great for mild hypermiling. He gets to work in all EV mode and regens a couple miles, and a few miles back toward home before entering hybrid mode. If he could plug in at work, we would rarely ever have to get gas. As it is, I expect we will need to get gas once a month. Wow.. This seems crazy! Very happy overall!



Talk About The 2014 C-Max Energi

2014 Ford C-Max Energi Discussions See all Started By

stevedebi
stevedebi
09-08-2014
OK, I can't stand not having a general discussion group for the Energi here... so I created this one. I just got mine, and I'm enjoying it immensely! This morning I got up and it had 21 miles on the …...


xkind
xkind
08-09-2014
What residual, money factor. and incentives can I expect for 10.5k miles (I assume that's the lowest) and 36 months for a 2014 (or 2015) C-Max Energi?...


Michaell
Michaell
09-26-2014
2014 C-Max Energi 36/15 - .25% MF with $6507 of lease cash....



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