The Prius fighter finally arrives.
Although the nameplate has been used in Europe for almost a decade, the C-Max is an all-new vehicle for the American market. Ford’s designated Toyota Prius fighter, the C-Max is a four-door hatchback with a hybrid powertrain. The 141-hp, 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine is aided by a 118-hp electric motor and a small lithium-ion battery pack, resulting in a peak total of 188 hp. (This hybrid powertrain is also used in the new Fusion.) It teams with a continuously variable transmission to earn the C-Max a rating of 47 mpg in both city and highway driving, which surpasses the Prius V by 3 mpg in the city and 7 mpg on the highway. In electric mode, 62 mph is possible. Commendably, the interaction between the gas and electric powertrain components is seamless. Before the end of the year, we’ll see the C-Max Energi, a plug-in hybrid that will afford greater electric-only range. The C-Max delivers more than just good fuel economy, however. Its accommodations are quite roomy, with an impressive 99.7 cubic feet of passenger volume and the added versatility of 60/40-split fold-flat rear seats and second-row in-floor storage bins. As with all new Fords of late, the C-Max can be had with a raft of high-tech goodies, such as Sync with My-Ford Touch, navigation, active park assist, and a power foot-activated liftgate.
Volkswagen Jetta TDI
new for 2013
Everything — the C-Max is a new vehicle for Ford’s U.S. lineup, although it has been on sale in other markets for several years.
Front, side, side curtain, and driver’s knee air bags; ABS; traction and stability control; tire-pressure monitors; the SOS Post-Crash Alert System; programmable MyKey; and integrated blind-spot mirrors are standard. A rearview camera and a reverse sensing system are available.
Late to the hybrid party
Base Price Range: $25,995–$33,745
TRIM LEVELS: SE, SEL, Energi
BODY STYLE: Hatchback, 5-passenger
ENGINE: 2.0L I-4/electric hybrid, 188 hp net
TRANSMISSION: Continuously variable
PASSENGER VOLUME: 99.7 cu ft
CARGO SPACE: (rear seats up/down) 24.5/52.6 cu ft; (Energi, rear seats up/down) 19.2/42.8 cu ft