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Newest C-Max the ultimate plug-in

The 2013 Ford C-Max Energi SEL delivers a choice of fuel or electric power plus fresh styling and a potential 620-mile range on one tank of fuel and one battery charge. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Ford’s newest C-Max is the ultimate plug-in gasoline-electric hatchback for fuel- and environmentally conscious drivers yearning for something new.

Introduced for 2013, the C-Max Energi is an electric plug-in, tall, five-seat car that has a four-cylinder gasoline engine as a backup. A driver can typically travel for up to 21 miles on all-electric power before the gas engine seamlessly takes over.

Or, the driver can push a button to select gas-engine propulsion only — say, if he or she is headed directly onto a freeway — and save the electric power stored in the onboard battery pack for later, in-city driving where lower speeds maximize the electric power range.

Note the C-Max Energi comes standard with features that can be extra on competitors such as leather-trimmed seats, dual-zone climate control, hands-free calling system, wireless Bluetooth audio for access to music on a smartphone, heated front seats and three years of free, personalized news, sports and business news.

The C-Max Energi’s tax credit is $3,751. This goes on income tax forms of the purchaser to help reduce that year’s overall federal tax.

A non-plug-in hybrid version of C-Max has a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $25,995, which is $8,145 lower in price than the Energi. No wonder, then, that so far in calendar 2013, the non-plug-in C-Max Hybrid is outselling the pricier C-Max Energi by a wide margin.

Still, the test C-Max Energi was a car that delighted with its styling, comfortable interior, sprightly power — both electric and gas engine — and agile handling.



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