The 2017 Ford C-Max Hybrid is a difficult car to classify. Is it a crossover-utility vehicle? Is it a compact wagon? Is it a fuel-efficient runabout? The answers are "not really," "yes" and "yes." Ford calls it a "multi-activity vehicle," and though we doubt the MAV acronym will ever catch on, it's as good a description as any for this European-bred vehicle.
There are so many things we like about the C-Max that it's difficult to pick a place to start; since Ford puts "hybrid" right in the name, we'll begin there. The hybrid powertrain comprises a 2.0-liter gasoline engine paired with an electric motor for a total system output of 188 horsepower. The EPA estimates the C-Max Hybrid's fuel economy at 40 mpg combined (42 city/38 highway), which is good for such a commodious vehicle, though not the highest you'll see in a hybrid hatchback. Ford also makes a plug-in hybrid version called the C-Max Energi, which is covered in a separate review.
The C-Max Hybrid is quick: We clocked it to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds, and we were impressed by its real-world acceleration and passing power. It's also easy to maneuver and good fun to drive, with a suspension that blends above-average ride comfort and sharp handling.
We're equally fond of the interior, which is well organized and made up of high-quality materials. The tall driving position provides excellent visibility on par with that of SUVs and crossovers, and there's plenty of storage space for odds and ends. We like the new Sync 3 infotainment interface that comes standard on the top-of-the-line Titanium model; we're much less fond of the small display on the base-level SE.
Rear seat passengers enjoy plenty of leg- and headroom, although cargo space isn't as generous as that of similarly sized SUVs and compact wagons; blame the hybrid system's battery pack, which lives under the trunk floor. Still, there's more storage space than in a typical small sedan or hatchback — a comparison we think is fair because the C-Max is just as easy to maneuver and park in crowded urban areas.
Ford sells the C-Max Hybrid in SE and Titanium models. The SE comes with a list of useful standard equipment and several option packages that allow buyers to customize the car to their liking. The Titanium is lavishly equipped, with a long list of standard equipment and many advanced-technology options. Let Edmunds help find the perfect 2017 Ford C-Max Hybrid for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.