Ford Motor Company is releasing a new model to take on Toyota’s Prius. The new C-Max hybrid and C-Max Energi are dedicated hybrids that can match and exceed the Prius models that are now available. Although the C-Max is launching in the U.S. as a dedicated hybrid, it has been sold in Europe with conventional gasoline and diesel engines. The vehicle is an odd size, sort of a large hatchback. Ford puts it between the Focus and Escape for size and utility. The C-Max Hybrid uses a 2-liter four-cylinder engine complemented by an electric motor with a lithium ion battery pack. Similar to the Prius, the C-Max Hybrid can be driven for very short distances under electric power. Ford boasts a fuel economy of 47-mpg city and 44 mpg highway for the car, worse than the 51-mpg city and 48 mpg highway of the Toyota Prius. However, Ford cites the C-Max Hybrid’s interior space of 99.7 cubic feet to pit the car against the Toyota Prius v, and its 97 cubic feet. The Prius v only gets 44-mpg city and 40-mpg highway. The C-Max Energi is the plug-in version of the C-Max Hybrid. As such, it has a larger lithium ion battery pack that can be charged from a wall socket or electric-vehicle charging station. The C-Max Energi goes up against the new Prius Plug-in. Ford says that the C-Max Energi should achieve a range of over 20 miles on electric power, greater than the Prius Plug-in’s 13 miles. Ford also boasts fuel efficiency for the C-Max Energi of 95 mpg equivalent. Owners will experience widely ranging fuel economy depending on how often the car is plugged in. The reigning champ of the plug-in hybrid set remains the Chevrolet Volt, which can go approximately 40 miles under electric power. I had a chance to drive the C-Max diesel version in Europe a while ago, and can attest to the car’s robust European handling and acceleration. The car has a ton of cargo and passenger space for a family of five. This could be a winner from Ford.
Photo Credits – Ford Motor Company