Ford C-Max Hybrid is a mileage champ

by Ernie Hernandez on August 21, 2012

2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid

47 mpg city, 47 mpg highway, 47 mpg combined

The facts are that in the real world not everyone can live with the restrictions required of an electric vehicle (EV) such as the Nissan LEAF. In keeping with the idea that better fuel economy is more desirable, assuming that all of your other driving needs are met, we think that it is important to bring you other alternatives that may suit your needs. The 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid could be one such vehicle with its just announced EPA certified 47 miles per gallon (mpg) overall mileage.

C-Max Hybrid will also be available as a plug-in hybrid, though fuel economy numbers have not yet been released for that version. Both vehicles will be powered by a combination electric motor/gasoline engine powerplant mated to an electronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). The plug-in hybrid will get a larger battery pack (7.6 kilowatt hours (kWh) vs 1.4 kWh for the non plug-in). Either vehicle can be propelled by electricity alone, gasoline alone, or a combination of the two.

The C-Max Hybrid can be ordered now, while the plug-in model is called C-Max Energi and will be available later this year. Pricing for these 5-passenger hatchbacks will start at just under $26,000 including destination for the Hybrid. The Energi will be priced at just under $33,000 plus destination fees, bringing it closer to $34,000 before incentives. The Energi is expected to provide up to 20 miles of range in electric only mode. For many, this could be more than enough for around town errands and dropping the kids off at school, without ever using an ounce of gasoline. The advantage comes on those days when greater range is needed, it can be accommodated by the gasoline engine. Vehicles such as these could prove to be attractive alternatives for those seeking improved fuel economy while maintaining range autonomy.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Deb Love August 28, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I’ve been reading this afternoon your multi-article Nissan Leaf thread about loss of charging capacity bar(s). And following it up with this article on the Ford C-Max Hybrid/Plugin. I’m curious to how you see the two combined topics’ outcome.
Specifically, if you are starting with an all-electric range of 20mi. And then subject to a best practices guideline of only charging to 80% and not fully discharging it also – though I see the low end of the range as battery management system responsibility and perhaps also the high-end. But how much is it the manufacturer’s responsibility to manage the ‘dim-witted owners’, and if so they are how are they able to tout their best numbers vs. reality when we’re only starting with a number as low as 20. As opposed to Nissan’s 100 range estimates vs. 75 reality .. yielding a minimum 20% loss applied to 20 gets us down to 16mi/day(charge) never mind aged degradation.

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Deb Love August 28, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Premature submit …

Mind you I did start with a supposition of same technology .. and I must also say I love my Leaf but find the charging issues worrisome as they develop. In order for EVs to succeed in the market we need to interest buyers beyond the pool of early adopters of which I surely include myself. I just hope to be part of this bandwagon without taking a bath in a money pit.

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Ernie Hernandez (LEAFguy) August 29, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Deb – Welcome to Living LEAF. The opening of your second comment is actually the answer to the first portion of your comment. Plug-in hybrids are a different beast, be they Volt or Energi or Prius. They start out with smaller batteries as the battery was never designed to carry the bulk of the load, and the manufacturer typically makes a smaller percentage of the battery available to the owner. Many of the battery management issues discussed in the “Care and feeding” article don’t really apply to a hybrid because they have an alternate powerplant to rely on as needed.

As I mention in the last article of the series that you mention, I believe that Nissan will ultimately do right by their customers. They have shown a history of doing that in the past – a history of which plainly many LEAF owners were unaware. Will we endure some financial impact? Perhaps. Will it be fatal to the LEAF long term? I hope not.

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Ron Kramer March 21, 2013 at 5:06 am

Open letter to Ford:

I thought my 2013 C-MAX would be a Prius Killer? NOT! As a returning Ford buyer I feel deceived. I want to support US companies and US jobs. What was Ford thinking when they published 47/ 47/47 estimates? Based on the advertised EPA estimates, I would have been ok with low 40’s but 28-33 mpg is not even in the ballpark. This is not an issue about EPA testing standards, but rather an issue about setting false customer expectations in order to promote sales. Ford’s “47MPG” marketing campaign tarnished what should have been the roll out of a truly remarkable vehicle, the CMAX. Real world MPG estimates should have been promoted in the mid-30’s. No one would have questioned those numbers and the CMAX would have received the accolades it deserves. How these MPG estimates made it through Ford corporate is beyond me! Maybe it was the rush to go to market? I have been accused of not knowing how to drive hybrid. For the record, during the last three years I have leased both a 2010 Prius and 2010 Honda Insight Hybrid, and consider myself an experienced hyper-miler. My mileage in the Prius is 50 plus, the Insight is 40 plus. The C-MAX is a well-built car, with extremely inflated EPA estimates. I respectfully request that this matter be investigated as soon as possible. My efforts to deal with this locally and through Ford customer service have frustrated me to no end. The constant response? “You need to learn to how to drive hybrid type of vehicle “. Is there a difference how I drive Prius Hybrid vs. the CMAX hybrid? I think we all know the answer to that. I need someone at Ford to reach out to me and assist in a proactive manner so we can put this matter to rest.

Ronald Kramer Yankee Ford Customer
South Portland, Maine

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