2013 Ford C-Max Energi Review

Pros & Cons

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

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2013 Ford C-Max Energi models

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.

2013 Highlights

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

Performance & mpg

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.


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.


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.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

2013 C-Max Energi SEL with all the goodies.
SEL 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
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! ****UPDATED REVIEW - 09/02/16**** Close to 2.5 years of ownership and continue to love this car, very fun, handles great, and fairly efficient too. For daily usage regular family usage, plenty of space to haul --My AER (Actual Electrical Range) from a single charged ranges from 23-25 and no hyper milling. --Have taken trips from OC to Santa Cruz to SF (which includes a steep grade and many hills) w/o any issues, average 75 mph, MPG = 37 with EV range leftover and little more than a quarter tank of gas left. This is with wife, 1 year old, luggage, and other stuff packed into the car. On the way back to LA observed 38 MPG. --Trip from OC to San Diego over the summer, saw 40 MPG going down, and 41 MPG on the way back. --Local trips form OC to Santa Monica/Hollywood/Pasadena/Costa Mesa, etc observed 53 - 57 MPG. --Current Lifetime MPG = 150.2. Haven't looked at Lifetime MPGe number so will update this later. --Car is driven in pure EV 85% of the time since purchased. Gas station visits are anywhere from 3-4 months between fill-ups. NEGATIVES - not very many but interior wise, door card for front doors feel flimsy and squeaks when pushed in. Car is still under warranty, so will take it for that. ****UPDATED REVIEW - 10/16/19**** --still a wonderful car. Current mileage = 50,972. --commute has changed slightly since last update. --installed Level 2 charging at home. --AER now ranges from 16-18, getting about 4.1 - 4.3 kWh from empty to full charge before gas engine kicks in. --est. HVB capacity 76% thus has degraded about 24%.
Great Car, Much Better Than Hoped For
Have 2000 miles on the car so far and loving it. Big pluses: seats are very supportive and comfortable. Driving is nimble and quick, dare I say sportscar like? Driving country roads is quite fun. Freeway driving is great; I'd have no problem taking this on a long road trip. Driving in all electric mode has a great feeling to it, hard to describe, but there is a direct response to it, not sluggish at all. I plug it into a normal outlet at night, fully charged every morning. So far, combined MPG is 51, and I do not have driving habits that promote good mileage. Only major drawback is the fact the back storage is not flat when the back seats are down, due to the batteries.
Not your typical daily commuter
I don't have a set drive to work. I travel all over the bay area with distances from 5 to 100 miles. I find myself often running a 25 mile loop ending with a steep uphill quarter mile grade with about 5% battery left. I live in Northern California where the weather is extremely mild and I use the air conditioner less than 5% of the time. The air conditioner sucks the battery up. I would not like this car if I needed it. My overall time spent with the car I am averaging 120mpg. My electricity is free. I also have a Volt. The volt is more efficient between 25 and 110 miles. I have found the C-max's ICE is a little more efficient.
LOVE LOVE LOVE my C-Max Energi
Stepped out of an '11 Prius lift gate into the C-Max Energi. No comparison. Build quality on the Energi is superb, not the tin can experience I left behind. Don't get me wrong; the Pri was a great car, but this car should have a Lincoln badge on it. C-Max feeds data and info to me I have craved. I've learned to finesse the pedal to maximize range & you will, too. More mass with this car equals better coasting and a solid solid feel. I catch myself having qualms about being in a mini-SUV b/c of the higher seating position, then remind myself 'it's OK' - the seating position and view is awesome. Interior quality is upscale. I thank Ford for giving us in the USA a taste of the European Focus.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2013 Ford C-Max Energi features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover14.7%

More about the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi

Used 2013 Ford C-Max Energi Overview

The Used 2013 Ford C-Max Energi is offered in the following submodels: C-Max Energi Wagon. Available styles include SEL 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT).

What's a good price on a Used 2013 Ford C-Max Energi?

Price comparisons for Used 2013 Ford C-Max Energi trim styles:

  • The Used 2013 Ford C-Max Energi SEL is priced between $7,177 and$7,177 with odometer readings between 104978 and104978 miles.

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Which used 2013 Ford C-Max Energis are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2013 Ford C-Max Energi for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2013 C-Max Energis listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $7,177 and mileage as low as 104978 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2013 Ford C-Max Energi.

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Find a used Ford C-Max Energi for sale - 8 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $16,464.

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Find a used certified pre-owned Ford C-Max Energi for sale - 1 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $17,312.

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Should I lease or buy a 2013 Ford C-Max Energi?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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