2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid Review

Pros & Cons

  • Superb gas mileage
  • stylish and well-made interior
  • refined ride
  • responsive handling
  • quick acceleration
  • abundant features list
  • elevated driving position.
  • Long braking distances
  • less cargo space than rivals
  • finicky infotainment controls.
Other years
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List Price Range
$5,900 - $9,600

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid is an interesting alternative to compact crossovers, wagons, minivans and hybrids. Its fuel economy and refined driving manners make it especially appealing.

Vehicle overview

"I want a car that gives me the passenger space and commanding view of the road of a compact SUV, but I'd like it to get the fuel economy of a Prius."

Up until now, finding such a car was just as plausible as waking up to find a unicorn munching on your lawn. Yet the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid proves that such a magical blending is possible. This replacement for the former Ford Escape Hybrid gives you much of the Escape's practicality, but with an EPA-estimated 40 mpg in every driving cycle, it betters its hybrid SUV predecessor by 8 mpg.

Like the recently redesigned Focus and Escape, the Ford C-Max's eye-catching interior boasts top-notch materials and construction and comes with an extensive collection of convenience and high-tech features. The C-Max also drives like a more expensive European car, delivering a comfortable and composed ride, responsive steering and low levels of wind and road noise.

Unfortunately, even though the C-Max offers passenger space similar to that of a small crossover SUV, it falls short in terms of carrying cargo. Even the Prius V has it handily beat when the time comes to visit Ikea. The much-maligned MyFord Touch is also present, and although it's not quite as bad as some have claimed, you should definitely make sure to try out this complicated electronics interface at a dealership.

If you can see past these faults (as well as its oddball styling), then the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid should make a very good suburban runabout for small families. It can be an alternative to compact SUVs like the Honda CR-V, wagons like the VW Jetta TDI, minivan-style vehicles like the Mazda 5 and hybrids like the Toyota Prius V. It might not be the perfect family runabout, but it's close.

2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid models

The 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid hatchback wagon is available in two trim levels: SE and SEL. The plug-in hybrid version -- the Energi -- is reviewed separately.

The SE trim comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, integrated blind-spot mirrors, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, the Sync voice-activated electronics interface (includes Bluetooth phone connectivity) and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.

The Power Liftgate and Rear Park Aid package adds rear parking sensors, ambient lighting and (surprise!) a power liftgate. Another package includes the MyFord Touch electronics interface, an enhanced hybrid-specific gauge cluster, extra Sync services and satellite radio. A navigation system can be added when both of these options are selected. The Winter package includes heated seats and heated mirrors with side indicators and puddle lamps.

All of the above comes standard on the SEL, with the exception of the power liftgate and navigation system. Other extras include foglamps, heated mirrors, automatic wipers, keyless ignition/entry, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver seat with two-way lumbar adjustment, leather upholstery and an auto-dimming mirror.

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.

Both trims can be equipped with a panoramic sunroof and remote ignition.

2013 Highlights

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

Performance & mpg

The 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder good for 141 horsepower and 121 pound-feet of torque. It's paired to an electric motor fed by a lithium-ion battery pack. Combined, they produced an estimated 188 hp. Power is sent to the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

In Edmunds performance testing, the C-Max Hybrid went from zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds, which is about 2 seconds quicker than most hybrids.

Originally, the C-Max Hybrid earned an EPA-estimated 47 mpg in the city, highway and combined driving cycles. Those optimistic estimates were eventually updated to 40 mpg combined (42 city/37 highway). These are still respectable numbers, if still a few mpg below the Ford's archrival, the Toyota Prius V.


Every 2013 C-Max Hybrid 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.

In Edmunds brake testing, the C-Max Hybrid came to a stop from 60 mph in 134 feet, which is about 10 feet longer than average in its segment.


Like other recent Fords, the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid 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 hybrid system is worthy of praise as well. Not only does the C-Max hybrid have a modest appetite for gas, we've seen it reach 47 mph on electricity alone. This is a difficult task in most hybrids, yet the C-Max pulled it off without creating a parade of slow-moving cars behind us. Should you want to be less judicious with the throttle, however, the C-Max will be happy to oblige, as it's one of the quickest hybrids on the market. Even highway passing isn't the chore you'd think it would be thanks to the willing gasoline engine assisted by the electric motor's ample torque.


The C-Max Hybrid's cabin is a dead ringer for those in the Focus and Escape, which is a very good thing since these cars all incorporate top-notch materials, solid construction and eye-catching design. The supportive, high-mounted driver seat reminds us of the SUV-style Ford Escape, which should please those searching for a commanding view of the road.

Unfortunately, the C-Max also shares its finicky infotainment functions with its Ford siblings, as even the radio controls are complicated to use in the base model. Even the optional MyFord Touch interface remains an imperfect and generally unintuitive means for controlling the car's many functions. On the positive side, the combination of MyFord Touch and the Sync system does allow for hands-free operation and customization possibilities. You'll certainly want to spend some time with the system during your test-drive.

One other downside is the C-Max's cargo capacity. The space needed for the hybrid system'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 24.5 cubic feet available behind the rear seats, which is about what you'll get from a Focus hatchback. Lowering the rear seats gets you 52.6 cubic feet of space, which is much better than a Focus, but still 15 cubes shy of a Prius V or a typical small crossover SUV. In terms of rear seat comfort, though, the C-Max provides sufficient legroom and abundant headroom for adults.

Consumer reviews

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

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Most helpful consumer reviews

2.5 years in, still love the car.
SE 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
Who goes in to the dealer looking for a VW GTI or Ford Focus ST and leaves with a hybrid!? This guy. The C-Max is like half a dozen cars all in one. It does 0-60 in less than 8 seconds, and has the quiet, solid handling of a Euro luxury car. It swallows cargo like a small van, with rear seats that fold flat at the pull of a lever, and the driver has a nice elevated seating position for a good view of the road. Yet it gets fuel economy of a tiny, tinny subcompact. Indeed, it's the best of all worlds.
Great Car, Great MPG, 50+
SE 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
Don't be put off by the negative reviews. The C-MAX really does get the advertised mileage. It's a very comfortable ride and fun to drive. The car has about 4500 miles on it, and I'm getting 52-53 MPG. The mileage does improve over the first 3000 miles! At 1000 miles the MPG was 43-44, at 2000 miles it was 46-47, and at 3000 miles it 49-50. If you follow the recommendations in the manual you should get the advertised 47 MPG: go gradually on the acceleration and stay around the speed limit. The key for good MPGs is to maximize travel in EV mode. Heavy acceleration and speeding keeps the hybrid in gas engine mode, and the MPGs drops rapidly: back off the accelerator to stay in EV mode.
Fun and Practical wagon
SE 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I have owned a C-Max for about 2 months and 2000 miles now and overall think this is an excellent hybrid that is often overlooked. I have the base SE model with no options other than blue paint color. The base model is a good value at about $26K. The closest comparable car is the Toyota Prius V. The only advantages the Prius V has are more cargo space and a more thickly padded back seat (but the seat does not fold flat). I liked the C-Max better in all other areas. The C-Max has a lot more power than the Prius and accelerates quickly. The electric motor, engine, and transmission are very responsive and seamless if you have to punch the throttle to merge into traffic quickly.
SE 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I got my C-Max in March, and I have about 1300 miles on it. I have only stopped for fuel twice in that period, and neither time was I empty. When I got the car, the weather was cold and I got about 38 MPG overall. Since the weather improved, I have gotten 44 MPG overall and MPG is still going up. Since my last fill-up I have averaged 46.6. These figures are almost as good as Edmund's long term Prius-C. The C-Max is about more than mileage. It has a lot of power, at 8.5 seconds, its 0-60 is about the same as a 1976 Pontiac Trans Am. If you use that power you won't get Prius-type gas mileage. The cabin is comfortable with soft touch materials almost everywhere.


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 Rollover14.3%

More about the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid
More About This Model

The sales numbers say that Americans don't like small minivans, but we know quite a few people who got amped up when Ford announced the C-Max would come to the U.S.

Before they could get too excited, however, Ford changed its plans and cut the seven-passenger, sliding-door version. The new, leaner product plan would include only a hybrid C-Max with traditional rear doors. Much head scratching ensued.

Yet, the five-passenger 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid looks to be a smart play. Few families are looking for third-row seating in a compact crossover or minivan (the Mazda 5 is a low-volume cult favorite), yet there's a hunger for practical, space-efficient vehicles that put up big mileage numbers. With its stellar 47 city, 47 highway, 47 combined EPA mpg ratings, the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid is just such a car.

A Regular Hybrid and a Plug-In
Actually, Ford is offering two different hybrid versions of the 2013 C-Max — the C-Max Hybrid, which is your typical series-parallel hybrid like the Prius, albeit with a lithium-ion battery pack, and the C-Max Energi, a plug-in version which features the same basic drivetrain and a double-size battery pack. The 2013 C-Max Hybrid arrives at dealers next month. The Energi will show up in hybrid-friendly markets in November and all 50 states later in 2013.

Today we're driving only the C-Max Hybrid. It has a base price of $25,995 and fuel mileage ratings that make it a natural competitor to the Prius V ($27,310, EPA-rated 42 mpg combined) and diesel Jetta wagon ($26,310, 34 mpg combined).

Equipped with a port-injected, Atkinson cycle, 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder rated at 141 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 129 pound-feet of torque, the Ford is more powerful than either rival once you factor into the front-drive electric motor's contributions. Total system power is 188 hp. As on the Toyota, a planetary gearset-regulated continuously variable transmission (CVT) drives the C-Max Hybrid's front wheels.

Ford hasn't released a blended gas-electric torque rating for the 2013 C-Max Hybrid, but its gasoline engine alone is rated at 129 pound-feet compared to just 105 lb-ft for the Prius V's 1.8-liter inline-4. And that difference feels huge as we merge onto U.S. 101. Throttle response is energetic off the line, and the Ford's 2.0-liter is unstrained as it delivers us to 70 mph. The engine also makes a nice growl that encourages further use of the gas pedal — an improvement over the familiar Prius soundtrack that reminds you that you've asked for too much already.

Company officials tell us that the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid is 1.5 seconds quicker to 60 mph than the standard-size Prius. That would put it in the mid-8-second range, which is the same territory as the Jetta TDI wagon.

A fuel economy loop isn't on the menu today, so we'll wait until we get a C-Max in for a full test before we declare its 47-mpg rating attainable. We have no trouble cracking 40 mpg (so says the trip computer) during our freeway run.

So It's Like a Big Ford Focus?
Although it's built on the same scale as the Prius V and Jetta wagon, the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid has a shorter wheelbase. At 104.3 inches, it's down 5 inches on the Toyota and identical to the Ford Focus, with which it shares its platform architecture. Overall, it's 8 inches shorter in length than the Prius V.

Yet, it's wider than either the Toyota or VW and very tall at 63.9 inches. This opens enough headroom for most adults and helps the Ford to a higher passenger volume (99.7 cubic feet versus 97.2 for the Toyota). The hybrid C-Max is also heavier, weighing 300 pounds more than the Prius V.

Extra ballast is rarely cause to celebrate, but there's no denying the Ford has a more substantial feel as we're going down the road. It's a quiet, respectably smooth ride, too, though alongside the Prius, which floats along in compliant bliss, you might find the C-Max choppy at times.

Then, you turn onto a back road, a place you'd never take a Prius. Although you're never going to carve up a road in a car that wears Michelin Energy Saver tires, you can certainly keep a good pace. The C-Max feels balanced, even entertaining, through the sweeping turns on our route. Its electric-assist steering nails the effort levels, too, so it's not at all artificial — it's just good steering.

Brakes a Little Touchy
If there's anything to complain about, it's the brakes. They feel plenty strong, but the blending of the conventional friction brakes and the hybrid system's regenerative braking is a little clumsy. We mainly notice it in the city, where medium pedal inputs trigger an overenthusiastic regenerative effect that makes it difficult to stop smoothly.

"Compared to the [outgoing] Fusion Hybrid, this performance is a step backward," Chuck Gray, chief engineer at Ford's Core Electrification Engineering division, admits. "We recognize this is an issue with the braking."

Gray tells us a fix is in the works, though it's not yet clear if Ford will be able to make the adjustment before C-Max Hybrids begin arriving at dealers. It's a common issue in cars with regenerative braking systems, so it's not surprising that Ford still has some work to do on the issue.

Interior Ups and Downs
We like the high seating position in the C-Max as it feels more natural than the setup in the Prius V and the steering wheel offers a larger range of adjustment than the Toyota. Materials are attractive if not lavish, and every control feels like it's of solid quality.

The complex MyFord Touch interface is packed with functionality, but with it comes a significant frustration factor. Accordingly, we'd probably skip the factory navigation system (part of the $2,000 Rapid Spec 203A package on our base SE model) and just get the basic Sync package with dual USB inputs via the $570 Rapid Spec 202A group.

The only problem at that point is the lack of a power liftgate with the latter package. Also, just by choosing the SE over the better equipped SEL, the touchless liftgate falls off the options list. You can only understand the appeal of magical liftgates after you've had a child, maybe two.

Even when equipped with a power liftgate, the C-Max still isn't ideal as the cargo bay floor isn't level with the top of the rear bumper. It's a packaging issue, we're told, as the Focus platform architecture wasn't developed with an eye toward hybrid applications. "We couldn't raise the rear bumper," Gray says, noting that the problem becomes more acute in the more battery-laden C-Max Energi.

To compensate, Ford saw to it that the rear seats would fold perfectly flat — more flat than in the Prius V. Cargo capacity is sufficient for most people, but the higher floor squeezes down the capacities compared to the Toyota and VW. The C-Max Hybrid tops out at 52.6 cubic feet versus 67.3 in the Prius V and 66.9 in the Jetta wagon.

The Driver's Hybrid
It may not be able to beat the Toyota Prius V at the packaging game, but the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid is certainly the better car on the road. It's much quicker, it handles better, it steers more precisely, and it just feels more like a real car more of the time.

Although it's hard not to imagine how much more useful the C-Max would be if it had sliding doors, it's the only hybrid in this price range that we could recommend to someone who genuinely enjoys driving. And if the idea of a hybrid that's fun to drive doesn't mean much to you, the C-Max still has those big EPA mileage numbers to fall back on. Call it a true hybrid in more ways than one.

Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.

Used 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid Overview

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

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

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

  • The Used 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid SE is priced between $5,900 and$9,600 with odometer readings between 58170 and111975 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrids 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 Hybrid for sale near. There are currently 4 used and CPO 2013 C-Max Hybrids listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $5,900 and mileage as low as 58170 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 Hybrid.

Can't find a used 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrids you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Ford C-Max Hybrid for sale - 3 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $21,454.

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

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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