By on August 7, 2012

Ford is attacking Toyota’s miserly image. The blue oval announced today that its 2013 C-Max Hybrid crossover gets better mileage than Toyota’s Prius V, Reuters says.

Ford’s C-Max Hybrid, to go on sales this fall, delivers an EPA rating of 47 miles per gallon, city, Highway and combined.

Fueleconomy.gov shows the 2012 Prius V with 44 mpg city, 40 highway and 42 combined. Once the C-Max goes on sale, it would topple the Prius V from its 4th place ranking, even take the 3rd ranked Honda Civic Hybrid down a notch.

The top spots in the hybrid ranking currently go to the Prius c with a 53/46/50 ranking, followed by the Toyota Prius (51/48/50) and the Honda Civic Hybrid (44/44/44), all for their 2012 models.

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36 Comments on “Ford C-Max Kicks Honda Civic Hybrid From 3rd Place...”


  • avatar
    mike978

    Wouldn`t the C-Max also beat the Civic hybrid (47 vs 44) and move up to third place?

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      Good Eye. I hope that it shows up real world though.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        I’m not certain it will in the real world. The Cmax is 500lbs heavier (more rolling resistance drag) and has a bigger crosssectional area (more aero drag). I think that the drag coefficent is also higher in the Cmax. Plus, the Cmax has a bigger, more powerful engine. Just looking at it from a physics perspective, I wouldn’t expect the Cmax to be substantially better than the Prius v.

        Where the Cmax really trumps the Prius is that it can run the electric motor up to ~60mph instead of just 40mph. The EPA tests run up to that speed. That means that when the cars start the test with a full battery, the Cmax can run a larger portion of that 11 mile EPA test on the battery than the Prius can. (Once the speeds break 42mph, the Prius must run the engine… rather than continuing to run on the battery.) At some point, the piper must be paid, though, because the Cmax isn’t a plug-in hybrid. The engine and/or “brakes” must recharge those batteries. Basically, the EPA test is short enough that front loading the test run with battery power is to the advantage.

        I think, much like the last gen Fusion hybrid and Camry hybrid, the EPA numbers will imply there is some huge difference that doesn’t appear in the real world.

        Disclaimer: I bought a Prius v 2 weeks ago. First tank was 42.5mpg. Returning 44.5mpg on the second tank (mostly 55mph highway, 65mph freeway). The regular Prius is just too small, IMO. Same with the Cmax. The v is the perfect size for a couple of DINKs waiting on their first child.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Wait for the recommended tow rating comparison.. Oh wait the Prius doesn’t have one.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Wait! Quentin, your beating EPA highway for a V by ~10%? You must be hypermiling or following large vehicles wake!

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        Nag, just driving normal. Now, if I were claiming 40mpg out of something rated for 30mpg, you’d be right.

    • 0 avatar

      Where you are right, you are right. Corrected.

  • avatar
    gman37

    Not sure that is a fair comparison if you base the two cars on cargo capacity. The Cmax has 24.5 cargo capacity and Prius V has 34.3 capacities with the seats up. The Cmax capacity is more in line with the standard Gen 3 Prius. For most shoppers looking for an upsized hybrid this makes a huge difference and would probably take the Cmax out of the running.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I’ve ordered one, and the 25 cu ft is good enough. I did consider both the V and the Jetta Sportwagen. My wife currently drives a vehicle with MFT, and not having it, or something similar, is almost a dealbreaker. Some of the other options are very nice as well (hands free liftgate, ecoguide screen, etc). The C-Max already has a $1000 rebate as well.

      Full Disclosure: I get Ford A-plan (wife’s father) and $3000 from work for the purchase of a hybrid.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Just comparing the C-Max with the Prius and Prius v on Edmunds. The C-Max is bigger in every passenger dimension (leg, head an hip room) than either Prius, except for rear hip room where is it in between the two Prii.
        Cargo space with seats up is only a little greater than the Prius, but with seats down it gets closer to (but still a bit away) from the v.
        So it can come down to what is more important – passenger or cargo space.

        It is also around 330lb heavier than the v. I would be surprised if it got the actual EPA figures claimed but even if it is 10% out that is well into the 40′s city and highway. Not many cars get that.

      • 0 avatar
        Herm

        Ford is using lithium-ion batteries in the C-Max, vs nimh for the Prius V.. lithium-ion can be 99% efficient in cycling energy in and out, while nimh do about 90% efficiency (generating more heat).. that probably accounts for the increased mileage. Of course you can brick a lithium-ion pack if you park the car un-attended for a while.. but not so with nimh.

      • 0 avatar
        spw

        C-Max is actually a Prius competitor not Prius v… it is a tiny big bigger in spec than Prius because it is taller car… actual wheelbase (interior), is smaller in lenght… on the other side, Prius v has 40% bigger trunk.

        Obviously Ford compares it to Prius v because it works in their favour, however the car itself doesnt really compete with the v, it is one size smaller.

        Other than that, car looks good… I hope they sell lot of them.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Crossover? I’m sorry but this looks far more like a station wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Sounds good to me!

      My grandparents drove wagons, because that’s what was available.
      My parents generation drove minivans, because wagons are “uncool”.
      The next batch drove SUVs, because minivans and wagons are “uncool”.
      The next batch drove CUVs, because SUVs, minivans, and wagons are “uncool”.

      But I don’t care about cool, and I’m willing to bet that there are a lot of practical people out there who don’t either. Those the Euro-sized van/wagon/people-mover/thingies look ideal for my situation — and the near 50MPG efficiencies mean that I don’t have to work as hard to justify a new vehicle over a used car. A minivan is the next size up, and I’ll drive one when I need to (I’m practical), but I don’t need all that much vehicle anymore. And with the C-Max and Prius V getting roughly twice the MPG of a typical minivan, the argument that you don’t save anything by buying the smaller vehicle no longer holds water.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    It’s really an MPV. It’s too short to be a wagon. The C-Max is just under three inches longer than a Focus hatch. It does have a much higher roofline though, about twelve inches.

    • 0 avatar
      Off a Cliff

      Agreed. Kind of a mini-minivan (when compared the current minivans, which are HUGE!), like the Mazda5 and discontinued Kia Rondo.

      • 0 avatar
        icemilkcoffee

        Too bad it doesn’t have 3 rows of seats though.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        It would be nice if they brought over the Grand C-Max. Ford certainly won’t ship it over from Valencia though. It would have to be built at Wayne, unless they retool a NAFTA factory for the C-Max. They volume isn’t there to retool a factory for a C-Max and Grand C-Max line. Based on the market and the manufacturing contraints, the Focus RS has a better chance of being here than the Grand C-Max. I wouldn’t bet on either mythical Euro Ford vehicle to appear in US showrooms.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Yeah, let’s wait for the real world figures, Hyundai has been bragging 40 mpg for a year now but I have not seen one single independent tester achieve this in ANY of their non-hybrid cars.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    I still think it’s a shame Ford is only bringing over the smaller C-Max in hybrid and plug-in versions only, and not the larger, conventionally-powered, 7-passenger, sliding-doored Grand C-Max. It’s one cool mini-minivan.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      It was reported last year that they were going to bring it over. But after some more consideration they decided to expand the C-Max range with the hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions. On balance I can see why they choose this approach – the Mazda 5 is the only successful “mini” mini-van. Kia left the market with the Rondo and no-one else has entered even though all the main manufacturers have a comparable car in the European ranges (such as Toyota Verso and Opel Zafira).
      Also it lets them build up their fuel economy credibility which improved with the original Fusion hybrid and this builds upon that foundation.

      • 0 avatar
        Chicago Dude

        The Mazda5 would be a lot more successful if the rated MPG were higher. When looking at the window sticker, there just isn’t a big enough difference compared to the big vans.

        Once it gets the Skyactiv treatment, I would bet sales increase a lot.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      mike is right, Ford sees the success of a hybrid only line, and is attempting to get some of that market. I’m guessing it’s a larger and more profitable market in the US than mini-minivans.

      The US C-Max is also made in Wayne. Unlike Europe, Focus and C-max production are on the same line. Starting the C-Max model with the most shared parts in the US is smart. Its very similar to the Focus and has the same drivetrain as the Fusion Hybrid/Energi.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        “The US C-Max is also made in Wayne. Unlike Europe, Focus and C-max production are on the same line.”

        Definitely the smart way to do hybrids and low volume plug-ins. Building them along with the Focus allows them to adjust production more easily if the volumes aren’t there. Parts sharing keeps the costs down.

        This also puts them in a good position to build Focus hybrids and plug-ins if they decide there’s a market for them.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        I agree that Ford has figured out that for some customers a vehicle that is only available as a hybrid is more desirable. Some people want to make the “I am saving the world” statement clearly apparent. Making the general public have to look for a small badge or other small variations to convey that message just isn’t as desirable to those people. They also want to avoid potential model overlap which is why the new Escape isn’t available as a Hybrid.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        scottdude, I ordered a C-Max, and I don’t fit in with the “save the crunchy groove” crowd. I do however, like technology and not paying for gas. For me, A-plan, a $1000 Ford rebate, and a $3000 cash incentive from work for purchasing a hybrid, allows me to purchase this vehicle for less than an equivilent Focus or Escape. Even if I didn’t have the cash from my employer, the C-Max has 85% of the storage space of the Escape. It also gets 62% better gas milage.

      • 0 avatar
        Herm

        A vehicle line that is only available as a hybrid is more desirable.. that way people dont do comparisons to their lower price conventional models. Toyota is taking a big risk with the Prius-C and the Yaris.. at least they called it something else and not a Yaris Hybrid.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    Drove a C-Max diesel while on a Staff-Ride in Belgium in 2010. Was a fantastic car; smooth running efficient diesel motor, engaging 6 spd manual, considerable handling prowess for a people mover hauling 5 Soldiers and their gear all over the Ardennes following KampfgruppePiper. Fortunately I was the only one among us who knew how to drive a clutch and was unhappy to give it up to go home to my ’08 Grand Caravan.

    The spouse and I waited eagerly upon hearing the C-Max was coming to America only to be disappointed in Ford’s decision to not bring the diesel or the even sweeter 6 spd, instead opting for the hybird/plugin with CVT/auto.

    So we bought a Mazda 5 GT.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    My wife and I (very happy Prius owners) went and test-drove the Prius V the other day. We were nonplussed by it. In particular, the back seat design didn’t really make sense for a two-row vehicle, and the rear-center seatbelt design looked like it interfere with the rear-right passenger. In addition, we accidentally disabled the TCS by mashing the brake pedal at a stoplight, and were put off by the center-rmount speedometer. Our carseat fit well, though, and the cargo area looked very useful. My wife decided that, despite the extra space, it was not at all better than our existing Prius.

    I liked the extra space, and the wagon-like form factor and didn’t care about the speedometer, but the TCS and the rear-center seatbelt both strike me as safety and usability fails.

    We have a young child, and some extra space might be very useful in the next couple of years. We value efficiency and reliability and we’re thrilled with our existing Prius and with Toyota’s customer service; we’re just bummed that even Toyota couldn’t best their own car. We will be giving the C-Max and C-Max Energi a very close look before buying another family daily-driver. Especially since Ford made an effort to be just a little bit better than Toyota on two numbers that we care about a lot (both MPGs and Dollars), they’re finally waving a flag that says “we want your business”!

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    What Ford says and reality are two very different things.

    Remember when Ford lied and said Egoboost was going to get 20% better fuel economy than a V8? Yet the reality is, that a 5.0 V8 powered F-150…will get BETTER MPG than an identical Egoboost truck (even the same 3.73 gears).

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    I just test-drove a Ford C-MAX this Saturday. My first impression: It drives well. Workmanship seems good; BUT the cargo room in the back has to be the smallest 25 cu-ft that I’ve ever seen. In a rental Chevrolet Impala, I could put two large and two medium suitcases in the Impala’s 18.6 cu-ft trunk. I could only put one large and one medium suitcase in cargo hold of the C-Max, and even if I folded down the small half of the back seat, it would have been a close call for getting in the two large and two medium sized suitcases. The luggage space reminded me more of a Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix than a minivan or even a true station wagon.

    Driving fairly gently in a loop that included light city and freeway driving,the trip computer showed 41+ MPG and climbing. (The battery was 2/3 depleted when I started.) The only other negative that came to light was that I couldn’t find a comfortable place to put my left elbow. Like many cars, the natural place for me is right where the steel protection beam is inside the door. If I drove with my left hand on top of the steering wheel, then it was comfortable.

    My overall impression is that the C-Max is a good car and a good value, but it is more of a competitor to the standard Prius than the Prius V. It gets slightly worse gase mileage than the regular Prius, but it is also significantly quicker with a better main cabin.

  • avatar
    papaj1

    We have about 2,000 miles on our C-Max. On our last tank of 50% local grocery-getting and 50% highway it returned 43.5 MPG.

    Our lifetime average started out at about 37 MPG and as we learned how to drive it properly the average climbed to 41.5 MPG, pretty darn good for a 3,600 pound vehicle.

    Kudos to Ford for this terrific little CUV/minivan/wagon thingy.


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