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Comparison Test: 2013 Ford C-Max Energi vs 2013 Toyota Prius PHEV

Read about the Autos.ca Comparison Test: 2013 Ford C-Max Energi vs 2013 Toyota Prius PHEV

Read More: Comparison tests and reviews, Ford, Hybrid, Toyota
Comparison Test: 2013 Ford C-Max Energi vs 2013 Toyota Prius PHEV
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August 15, 2013

Review and photos by Brendan McAleer

If the automobile is an appliance, then choosing the right one is all about application – you’d have a sad time of it trying to make toast in the microwave. Thus, perhaps a long-legged turbodiesel best suits the daily highway warrior. Those frequently crammed in short-range gridlock might be able to make something like an all-electric Nissan Leaf work – especially if they’ve got free juice on offer at their place of work.
Comparison Test: 2013 Ford C Max Energi vs 2013 Toyota Prius PHEV car comparisons Comparison Test: 2013 Ford C Max Energi vs 2013 Toyota Prius PHEV car comparisons
2013 Ford C-Max Energi vs 2013 Toyota Prius PHEV. Click image to enlarge

Mid-range users could well prefer the flexibility of a hybrid option, with great stop-and-go mileage combined with longer range when you need it. Now the decision gets a bit harder as the manufacturers move the goal posts with the simple addition of plug-in capabilities.

Where’s the Volt? Well, for the purposes of this head-to-head, I instead picked two five-seater family cars that have had an electric umbilicus installed, leaving the longer-range, small-trunked Chevy to duke it out with the Leaf and iMiEV. In the real world, you’re probably best to at least check out the Chevy extended-range electric vehicle poster boy.

Here though, we have the guppy-faced Ford C-Max Energi and the ergonomic mouse of the Prius PHEV. They both have cords and battery packs. They both have ordinary gasoline engines and regenerative brakes. In essence, they’re both a sort of hybrid-hybrid: neither a full electric vehicle nor a hybrid, but a split between the two.

In a way, both these machines are the electric car for dummies; you can forget to plug them in, you don’t have to plan ahead, you need never experience that mid-trip sinking feeling when projected range turns out to be dwindling faster than expected because of a series of hills. On paper, they’re both quite similar. In reality, one is good and the other – so to speak – is a warm, soggy slice of whole wheat bread.

Electric range

The primary reason to consider a plug-in over the readily available and much cheaper ordinary hybrid versions of the same cars is electric-only range. Of course it is – why else would you consider spending a premium of around $6,000 for the Prius PHEV over a similarly equipped Touring model? It’s the same situation with the Ford, and both lines also have even cheaper base models where the gap grows closer to $10K. (Worth noting: both Ford and Toyota receive a $2500 point of sale rebate in BC, but not all provinces have cash on the table for EV adopters.)
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