2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid Review

Pros & Cons

  • Stylish interior is finished with high-quality materials
  • Responsive handling for a hybrid
  • Elevated driving position offers good forward visibility
  • Hybrid fuel economy is near bottom of the pack
  • Many of latest driver safety aids aren't available
  • Less cargo space than true crossovers
Other years
Ford C-Max Hybrid for Sale
List Price Range
$12,997 - $18,900

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Which C-Max Hybrid does Edmunds recommend?

For the best bang for your buck, we recommend the 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid's SE trim. It's the entry-level trim, so it's a good way to go if you want to keep your payments low. Ford also offers almost all of the C-Max's higher-end features as options, so you can equip it with more if you want. Either way, we do recommend getting option group 201A, which provides the desirable Sync 3 infotainment system, smartphone integration, a larger 8-inch display, a power liftgate and rear parking sensors.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

Born from the size-sensitive European market, where even compacts must haul families and cargo, the Ford C-Max packs plenty of capability into its small size. It has a bit of a crossoverlike look to it, but it's more accurate to think of it as a compact wagon or hatchback that's big enough for large tasks yet small and easy to manage for around-town driving.

This generation C-Max has been around for a while, but there's still a lot to like, including refined ride and handling and a comfortable interior done up in high-quality materials. A 2.0-liter engine and electric motor combine to produce 188 horsepower and about 40 mpg in combined city and highway driving. You can also get a plug-in hybrid version with a larger battery called the C-Max Energi.

It's worth noting that the C-Max Hybrid's powertrain doesn't deliver fuel economy as high as the mpg figures from some newer rivals. The latest Prius returns up to 56 mpg, for example, and the Hyundai Ioniq tops out at 58 mpg. Kia's new Niro, which has a body design similar to the C-Max's, also bests it with a 50 mpg rating. For most buyers, though, the 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid should serve well as a versatile and reasonably efficient vehicle.

2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid models

The 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid is a five-passenger wagon available in two trim levels. The SE is priced for the budget-minded, but it's still very functional. Titanium models feature luxury accoutrements. A plug-in hybrid version, the Ford C-Max Energi, is reviewed separately.

No matter which C-Max variant you buy, it'll come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine paired with an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. Combined output is 188 horsepower. Power is then sent to the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

The SE model's list of standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a rearview camera, a 110-volt, household-style power outlet, Bluetooth, voice commands, a 4.2-inch central display screen, smartphone app integration (including Pandora internet radio), and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, a USB interface and satellite radio.

Major options are now grouped into packages, starting with the SE Driver Assist package that bundles a power liftgate, rear parking sensors, and the Sync 3 interface with an 8-inch touchscreen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and an extra USB port. The SE Comfort package adds heated mirrors, leather seating upholstery, a power-adjustable front passenger seat and heated front seats. Alternately, go for the Cold Weather package for just the heated mirrors and heated front seats. A panoramic glass roof, keyless entry keypad and a navigation system are available as stand-alone options.

The Titanium model adds foglights, automatic wipers, the heated mirrors and seats, leather upholstery, the power-adjustable front passenger seat, keyless ignition and entry, remote start, ambient lighting, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a premium Sony audio system with nine speakers and HD radio.

The Titanium Driver Assist package includes front parking sensors, a hands-free liftgate, a blind-spot monitoring system and automated parallel parking. The panoramic glass roof, a keyless entry keypad and a voice-controlled navigation system are offered as stand-alone options as well.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2013 Ford C-Max SEL Hybrid (2.0L inline-4 hybrid | CVT automatic | FWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current C-Max has received some revisions centered around the infotainment system with the addition of Sync 3. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's C-Max Hybrid.

Driving

With 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.

Acceleration

The C-Max Hybrid accelerates relatively quickly for a hybrid. In our testing, it accelerated from zero to 60 mph time in 8.1 seconds.

Braking

It produces 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.

Steering

Perhaps this isn't a quality most hybrid buyers value, but the C-Max's steering is one of the best in its class: It feels natural, precise, engaged and predictable.

Drivability

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.

Comfort

With comfortable seating for four (five 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 hybrids we've grown to expect.

Seat comfort

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

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.

Noise & vibration

The C-Max's interior is not only uncommonly quiet for a hybrid but also for wagons in general. There's little powertrain noise and even less wind noise than expected.

Interior

With solid construction, eye-catching design and roomy accommodations, the C-Max is a tough act to beat in the interior.

Ease of use

The C-Max provides sound ergonomics and even a couple clever, unexpected features.

Getting in/getting out

With large doors and seat heights somewhere between those of a compact SUV and a tall wagon, the C-Max is easy to access in either front or rear.

Driving position

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.

Visibility

The C-Max has very good sight lines and outstanding outward visibility, especially out the front.

Quality

We like the C-Max's tight body gaps and solid interior build quality.

Utility

Due to the drive batteries, the C-Max's rear load floor is high. There's only 24.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the rear seats, but you can fold down the rear seats to get a maximum of 52.6 cubic feet of space.

Technology

The C-Max comes with Sync 3, which is an easy-to-use infotainment system that includes Apple or Android smartphone integration. The C-Max lacks the latest driver safety aids, however, and you can only get blind-spot monitoring on the Titanium trim.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

My C Max Titanium is a great car!
Judy,02/05/2018
Titanium 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
This is my second c Max...I had a 2013 that I loved but it was totaled by a pickup cutting through 2 lines of traffic to make a u turn on Jan. 2, 2018. Without hesitation, I bought another c Max...my 2013 was totaled but I was not hurt...great safety records and airbags...lots of them protected me! This is a great car...great seating position...high enough to be comfortable getting in and out...great acceleration ...good storage area, mileage, comfy ride both as driver and passengers!
Amazing car with excellent mileage
Bob D,04/03/2018
Titanium 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I have had my 2018 for about 5 months; my wife has a 2013 SE C-max. Car is very comfortable, extremely quiet, accelerates and handles well (even in high wind). In Phoenix, averaged about 42 mpg in mixed freeway/local driving. Drove long term today for first time. Got 36 mpg driving up through the mountains in AZ, which I thought was good as never got more than 35 in the 2013 (and usually 30-31), but was blown away when I averaged 48 across NM. Only real complaint is that 8” screen with navigation and other features can only be controlled by touch, not by steering wheel controls. Does not have some advanced safety features like automatic braking.
Excellent car
Ian,06/29/2018
Titanium 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I don’t know why the C-Max hasn’t been more popular in the US, because it is an excellent car. It is true that the mileage is not what it should be. I owned a 2013 C-Max which averaged about 33.5 mpg and I recently traded it in for a 2017 C-Max which is getting about 38 mpg. The car is extremely smooth to drive, is quiet, the interior is finished really well, the acceleration and handling is excellent and is overall it is an excellent car. I have to admit that I tow the car behind my RV and that is why I bought the new C-Max as I had all the towing equiment moved to my new car. The C-Max is one if the few cars that can be flat towed as an automatic. In conclusion, this is one awesome car with one minor flaw, it does not live up to Fords mileage numbers-no big deal. It is still five out of five stars. I would take the C-Max any day over a Prius. I guess that Ford is going to discontinue the C-Max. Well, it looks like they will lose my business in the future with that decision. 7/19/20: Older now, the car is still excellent. Since I want to tow an automatic car behind an RV and Ford no longer makes the C-Max, I will be looking at a Buick Encore GX-so long Ford.
Prius Killer
Craig,07/20/2018
Titanium 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
This is a Prius killer. I had a 2013 and recently traded it in for a 2018 when I found it was being discontinued. 50 more HP than a Prius. Quick, very quiet and smooth. Handles like a sports car. Great steering and road feel. No transition noticed from electric to gas or back again. 2018 has a much better navigation system than my 2013. My trip computer usually says 43-44 in mixed driving. Around town I can get 48-52. Got 60 mpg on one 12 minute trip around town. At 75mpg you can expect 38-39 mpg. Even over 80 it is hard to tell how fast you are going. The car is so quiet, smooth and refined. A Prius feels crude in comparison. 2018 battery warrantee is for 7 years or 80k miles.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid features & specs

Safety

Our experts like the C-Max Hybrid models:

Active Park Assist
Helps drivers find and park into parallel parking spots. Drivers only need to engage the brake and shifter.
Blind Spot Information System
Warns you if a vehicle is in your blind spot when initiating a lane change.
MyKey
Lets owners manage vehicle safety settings for other drivers, such as maximum speed, radio volume limit and always-on traction control.

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%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid

Used 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid Overview

The Used 2018 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 Titanium 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT).

What's a good price on a Used 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid?

Price comparisons for Used 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid trim styles:

  • The Used 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid SE is priced between $12,997 and$16,700 with odometer readings between 9593 and64704 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid Titanium is priced between $18,900 and$18,900 with odometer readings between 27400 and27400 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 2018 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) 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid for sale near. There are currently 6 used and CPO 2018 C-Max Hybrids listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $12,997 and mileage as low as 9593 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 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid.

Can't find a used 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrids you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Ford C-Max Hybrid for sale - 4 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $20,824.

Find a used Ford for sale - 5 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $19,869.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford C-Max Hybrid for sale - 1 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $20,778.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford for sale - 12 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $19,558.

Should I lease or buy a 2018 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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