No wonder Ford wants buyers to compare the C-Max to Toyota’s Prius v. That gas-electric hybrid may have more cargo space, but it “drives almost robotically” and is homely to boot. The C-Max isn’t quick, but it’s quicker. More importantly, “it’s a very pleasant car to sit in, to drive, or just to lean on.” We wouldn’t call its looks glamorous, but this little Ford is “a camisole top and pencil skirt compared with the chintz housedress of the Prius.”
A challenger to the Prius has to “put up big mileage numbers,” and the C-Max Hybrid does that, too. Its “stellar” 47 city/47 highway mpg ratings easily top those of the Prius v, and a plug-in version due to arrive next month—the C-Max Energi—should be stingier still. While we can’t predict how the plug-in will perform out on the road, this first C-Max is “the only hybrid in this price range that we would recommend to someone who genuinely enjoys driving.”
The Detroit Bureau
The price leaps past $30,000 if you add such options as Ford’s touch-screen navigation system and hands-free power liftgate. But even the base-model C-Max “doesn’t feel like a cut-rate package.” Ford should be proud. This car is “a rolling billboard” for the automaker’s savvy approach to going green.