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Is the Ford C-Max the ‘ideal commuter car’?
Cramped, foreign-made trapezoids with little aesthetic appeal might be the image conjured in the mind of one who thinks of a hybrid automobile. But Ford might just change the minds of traditional car buyers, with the American introduction of its 2013 C-Max 5-door.
The C-Max first came onto the automotive scene in 2003, when Ford began manufacturing the vehicle in Germany for the European market. An updated C-Max hybrid, complete with a fuel-sipping 2.0-liter 4-cylinder EcoBoost gas/electric engine, is now available for American buyers. According to Ford, the vehicle is capable of achieving a combined 47 miles per gallon (mpg). A plug-in electric hybrid -- known as the C-Max Energi, which Ford reports can achieve a combined 100 mpg -- is set to arrive in showrooms soon.
“Wilson County residents would want the C-Max for the fuel mileage,” said Sales Manager Brandon Wood of Ancira Ford in Floresville. “It’s the ideal commuter car.”
The C-Max hybrid posts better fuel-economy figures than the 2013 models of both the Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius V. Manufacturers of those vehicles both report a combined 42 mpg.
Not only is the compact C-Max big on fuel economy, it also is big on passenger room. Its interior is as roomy and as comfortable as Ford’s mid-sized Fusion. Entry and egress for the average-sized adult male is simple, thanks in part to generous door openings and ample headroom in both front and rear.
Drivers will enjoy the C-Max’s large, easy-to-read gauges and center-console-mounted shifter. Also worthy of note is the vehicle’s plethora of standard features, including its seven airbags -- including a driver’s knee airbag -- and AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control. Microsoft’s SYNC with MyFord Touch, which helps drivers achieve voice-operation of the driver’s cellular telephone, along with the vehicle’s navigation, climate, and entertainment functions, also comes standard.
The Wilson County News test drove a C-Max Nov. 29. Handling is nimble and surefooted, thanks in part to stabilizer bars at both the front and rear and standard P225/50R-17 radial tires all around. The C-Max’s unitized steel body and gas-pressurized shocks make even the bumpiest of Wilson County roadways much more comfortable to navigate. Little body lean is evident in even the sharpest of turns.
Acceleration is confident and smooth. Ford says the C-Max’s engine has 141 horsepower with 129 foot-pounds of torque. The top speed of the hybrid version is rated at 115 mph.
Braking is smooth and sure, as the C-Max comes standard with four-wheel, ventilated, anti-lock disc brakes. The regenerative braking system transfers heat displaced from the rotors into electricity, which recharges the hybrid’s battery.
All of this efficiency and technology comes at a price comparable to the Prius. The C-Max’s manufacturer-suggested retail price (MSRP) starts at $25,200. Our test vehicle, which came loaded with a slew of factory options, had a total MSRP of $31,490 after discounts.
2013 Ford C-Max hybrid
•Base price: $25,200
•Price as tested: $31,490, after discounts
•Engine: 2.0-liter DOHC inline 4-cylinder EcoBoost gas/electric hybrid
•EPA fuel economy: 47 mpg city, 47 mpg highway (47 mpg combined)
•Where to buy: Ancira Ford, 501 10th St. (U.S. 181), Floresville; www.fordfloresville.com; phone 866-460-5985.
Caraway Ford, 100 U.S. 87, Nixon; www.carawayford.com; phone 800-650-5586.
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