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2013 Ford C-Max Energi photos, pricing, specs – Autoweek

ASSOCIATE EDITOR GRAHAM KOZAK: To the people-hauling, errand-running masses, the Ford C-Max’s form and function make a lot of sense. It’s more like an oversized car — or a tall wagon — than a minivan or crossover, and it retains a bit of that high-up driving position that consumers seem to crave.

There’s plenty of room for a family of four plus luggage or groceries. Or at least it seems that way — I don’t have a family of four, or a pressing need to buy a family of four’s groceries, so I couldn’t put the C-Max through that particular test. Handling was decent; if I stepped from a minivan to a C-Max as a daily driver, I’d consider it a pleasant upgrade.

So the C-Max is eminently sensible. But what about the C-Max Energi? Buyers are paying a substantial premium for the privilege of plugging their car in every night and every morning (assuming their workplaces have charging ports). If the stated combined fuel economy of 100 mpg was attainable, it might be worth the extra cost. I don’t think any of our testers achieved a result anywhere near that, as most of us have commutes that are in the range of the average American’s.

I did enjoy the eerily quiet, smooth and linear feel of the C-Max Energi in all-EV mode. The caveat: A full plug in charge got me a stated 10 miles of range — a number that proved to be pretty accurate on my commute home via surface streets. If EVs are the future, then I guess the C-Max Energi gives you a taste — in 10-mile bursts, at least.

For grocery runs and errands, this limited range will work quite nicely. The thing that buyers have to consider, though, is whether the C-Max Energi’s batteries (which take up about a third of the trunk) displace too many grocery bags, defeating the purpose. If frequent bouts of long-distance luggage-hauling are in the prospective buyer’s future, a conventional C-Max would be a better choice.

The interior is better laid out than some of Ford’s offerings, like the (allegedly) Blackberry-circa-2003-inspired console on the Fiesta. The multitude of flashing screens could be distracting, however: The regenerative braking coach that popped up to the left of the speedometer was mesmerizing. So mesmerizing, in fact, that I was almost too busy trying to maximize efficiency by braking skillfully to, you know, drive.

Also, the “Thanks for driving a hybrid!” send-off you see after turning was nice, but do we need to give insufferable eco-drivers any more encouragement?

I haven’t driven a regular hybrid C-Max, so many of my observations are directed toward the vehicle’s layout and functionality. That said, the C-Max — whether in plug-in or regular hybrid guise — is probably the vehicle that most crossover drivers should be buying. It has the ease of entry and vantage point that many transportation pod-purchasers crave without the stigma associated with wagons.



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