2013 Ford C-Max SEL Hybrid Wagon (2.0L 4-cyl. Hybrid CVT Automatic)
Driven On 8/28/2012
This rating has been carried forward from a prior year because the newer model has no substantial differences.
The 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid represents the next wave in hybrid vehicles. It's an extraordinarily easy-to-live-with wagon that comfortably seats 4-5 with a quiet comfortable ride, swallows cargo like a CUV, and happens to earn almost 50 mpg.
PerformanceWith its strong acceleration, sporty steering and handling, and confident demeanor, the C-Max Hybrid stands out as a performer in a class otherwise lacking a leader.
The C-Max Hybrid accelerates as if it has a powerful V6 under its hood, outpacing similar hybrids by about 2 seconds to 60 mph; a virtual rocket in its class.
About average stopping distances for its class, but the nontraditional hybrid braking system takes some practice particularly when inching forward or back into a parking space.
Perhaps this isn't a quality most hybrid buyers value, but the C-Max's steering is one of the best in its class: Feels natural, precise, engaged and predictable.
The C-Max manages to post highly respectable handling numbers at our track and earns our respect in the real world as well.
With the exception of the idiosyncratic brakes, the C-Max Hybrid behaves very much like a European-flavored wagon in the way it drives: poised and confident.
ComfortWith comfortable seating for 4 (5 in a pinch), a firm-but-controlled ride, and a remarkably quiet interior, the C-Max Hybrid offers a livable alternative to the numb and lifeless hybrid we've grown to expect.
The C-Max provides well-contoured and supportive front seats (optionally heated) and comfortable adult-size rear seats. The elevated seating position is similar to a compact SUV's.
Ride comfort suffers only slightly as the result of its responsive handling. We still prefer the C-Max's sophisticated ride over an isolated and soft suspension.
The C-Max's interior is not only uncommonly quiet for a hybrid, but also for wagons in general; little powertrain and even less wind noise than expected.
InteriorWith solid construction, eye-catching design and roomy accommodations, the C-Max is a tough act to beat in the interior.
With the exception of the ever-evolving Sync infotainment system, the C-Max provides sound ergonomics and even a couple clever, unexpected features.
With large doors and seat heights somewhere between a compact SUV and a tall wagon, the C-Max is very easy to access in either front or rear.
The battery pack eats up only a slight amount of cargo room, not passenger space which is generous for adults in all seating positions. Rear-facing child seats are welcome.
Even without the optional rear-view camera, the C-Max has very good sight lines and outstanding outward visibility--especially out the front.
It depends on upon what's being compared to, however, at 24.5 cu-ft with all seats occupied and 52.6 cu-ft behind the 1st row, the C-Max Hybrid offers ample cargo capacity.
ValueWith its solid blend of price, features, styling, fuel economy and warranty, the C-Max Hybrid provides a good value in its class -- perhaps proving that Ford "gets it" when it comes to this class of vehicle.
Build Quality (vs. $)
We're not the only ones who have noted Ford's resurgent build quality: tight body gaps, good paint and clean seams inside. Longevity remains to be seen on this all-new vehicle.
There's an impressive array of standard features (particularly with the SEL trim) and plenty of upgrades available.
From around $25K for a base SE and $28K for an SEL, the C-Max Hybrid is an attractively affordable alternative to a compact SUV or wagon with the benefit of impressive mpg.
Rated at an impressive 47 mpg in all EPA categories (city/hwy/comb), the C-Max Hybrid is one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in its class -- especially considering its size.
Ford supplements the basic 3-year/36,000-mile warranty with an 8-year/100,000-mile hybrid component warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance program.
Ford doesn't offer a free scheduled-maintenance program, and it's too early for us to consult our True Cost to Own (TCO) values, but the C-Max has a good track record in Europe
Fun To DriveRelative to its hybrid peers, the C-Max Hybrid is a dynamic wonder. "Fun" and 'hybrid' can actually be used in the same sentence without a whiff of irony.
Idiosyncratic hybrid brakes and electric motor aside, the C-Max is like a sophisticated European wagon with excellent sight lines and a clever package.
It's a bit of a what-cha-ma-call-it, from a styling, driving and packaging standpoint, but it's a really good one. Some folks will flock to it; others will run away.
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