By on August 8, 2013

cmax

TTAC’s making the big time now! Sure, the dweebs over at Motor Trend are currently driving a free Kia Optima, Nissan Frontier, Nissan Altima, MINI Cooper Coupe, Chrysler 300S, Acura ILX, VW Passat, Kia Rio, Subaru BRZ, Acura RDX, BMW 328i and a 650i Gran Coupe, but we’ve finally managed to snag a totally free hybrid wagon to run our “gophers” and our “YouTube engineers” and our “guys who submitted to violations of the most personal kind so they could attend overseas press launches for certain German sedans” to all the finest restaurants and yoga centers.

Just kidding.

Of course we had to pay for the f**king thing.

“We” in this case is also a somewhat tenuous concept. Your humble E-I-C’s babymomma* decided to step out of her Ford Edge SEL AWD lease a little early due to a certain ennui and some considerable annoyance with the egg-shaped Ford’s amazing thirst for fuel. I could feel her pain. When driven on identical loops with my Town Car, the Edge continually returned worse mileage. So much for twin-cam progress and unibody construction, am I right? One of her employees is currently enjoying a Tuscon so she was on the way to the Hyundai dealer when my son and I stepped in to demand she keep it semi-Euro. I had the kid coached to refer to the Tuscon as “the fugly frog” but it never came to that. After a quick drive in the C-Max it was a done deal. She’s already very efficient at using MyFordTouch and likes the various Ford interfaces that are somewhat similar between the Edge and the Focus-based tall wagon.

She picked a “303 package” with the additional panoramic roof. For an MSRP of $33,235 the C-Max does everything beside park itself. No, wait, it parks itself. I thought that as a former owner of various high-speed hardware including three different turbo Volkswagens and a Mopar Stage 3 SRT-4 she’d find the hybrid drivetrain wayyyy too slow, but it turns out she is fascinated with the leaves that grow on the screen and the Prius-alike hybrid power display. She brought the C-Max home tonight and made the mistake of letting my son see her swipe her foot beneath the bumper to open and close the rear door. In a flash he’d popped the thing open, swung his foot a second time, and hopped in the cargo area ahead of the closing hatch “for hiding time”.

Full disclosure here: I asked Ford for employee pricing on this vehicle, citing my immense status in the business and the fact that I once stood next to Dutch Mandel while they were handing out ice cream at an auto show display, but I was told to go stuff myself, with particular reference to the Lincoln MKZ review recently penned by TTAC’s Lion of Judah, Derek Kreindler. Turns out the babymomma can cut a sharp deal without my help so her lease cost is well under $500 a month for a high-mileage, nothing-down three-year term.

Ford’s high-priced Prius competitor has come in for a lot of criticism since its introduction so I’ll be keeping close tabs on quality control issues, driveability, and that raison d’etre of hybrid fuel economy. Naturally, we’ll report all the news that’s fit to print, a task made easier by the fact that we aren’t indebted to a manufacturer for the car or anything having to do with it. Stay tuned!

* Okay, she’s not my babymomma. She’s my ex-wife. We’d been married for well over a decade when my son was born within the confines of legal wedlock and so on and so forth. All very conventional and boring. But I say “babymomma” because it upsets the guys who still live with their parents and read “The Car Lounge” all day and haven’t figured out how to inseminate anything more complex than a Hot Pocket. Come on, guys! At least step up to the Tenga EasyBeat! (Warning: link contains sexual situations that will be unfamiliar to the vast majority of Honda S2000 owners)

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

75 Comments on “Introducing Our Long-Term C-Max, Yo...”


  • avatar
    morbo

    And that last sentence is why I keep coming back to TTAC.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Will this C-Max have to go back to the dealership to reprogram the hybrid system or was it done already?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    So are the long term tests going to consist of you asking the boy; “How’s momma’s C-Max doing?” Or are you going to get lots of opportunities to drive it?

    If the later you have a much better relationship with your exwife than I. The last words we said to each other (not in an email anyway but face to face) were.

    Me: Via con dios.

    Her: Don’t let the door hit you in the a$$.

    Sigh. Second marriage is sooooooooooo much easier.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      The ex and I speak every day and we swap vehicles fairly often. I figure I’ll put a few thousand miles on the thing yet this year.

      The thousand injuries I have done her she has borne as best she could, and the annoyance of my misbehavior has long since been replaced with satisfaction that she can run her life exactly as she likes, with freedom from things like metal rack shelves with hundreds of books on them and coming home from a three week vacation to find the front door unlocked and a jug of milk in the fridge. :)

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      You had last words with the ex? Consider yourself blessed.

      Mine hassles me all the time…in between breaking court orders and not disclosing her income, getting herself evicted twice in six months and narrowly avoiding a three-peat in June, bouncing $1400 checks on the bank account she shares with my 16-year-old daughter (which means she’ll have no luck opening an account of her own when the time comes), getting the youngest child to rummage through my home looking for a Playboy magazine I got three years ago, threatening to sic “my lawyer” (who doesn’t exist, by the way) on me about once a week, and on and on and on…

      I WISH I’d had some last words with the you-know-what. And I wish those last words were “your $1200 monthly alimony is now ended.”

  • avatar
    Travis

    Yes. The answer is yes. Hot pockets are the best.

  • avatar
    Wraith

    Dumb question: Is there a way to easily attach/detach the rear footwell storage covers, or are they just junk? Just curious. I took a test drive, and it wasn’t intuitive how these things lock in. When I thought I had it, I still managed to dislodge it while climbing out of the back seat. Maybe Ford just assumed that most rear seat occupants’ feet won’t reach the floor, so why bother.

    It’s good that there are a few more non-Prius hybrids out there, with at least reasonable power at a not unreasonable price (C-MAX, Jetta, both start around $26k). But the C-MAX has no room for a spare tire, and Jetta needs premium fuel, so neither are for me.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I have found them useful and haven’t dislodged them. My wife usually drives the C-Max now, and she hasn’t complained about them, which means they are fine. We just store random small child stuff in them. The airplane style overhead bin that will be on the new Transit Connect Wagon is much more useful though.

      Does the Prius have a spare tire? I’ve only had the Prius as a rental car or taxi, so I have no idea.

      • 0 avatar
        Wraith

        Looks like the Prius, V, and C have temporary spares, the plug-in does not.

        • 0 avatar
          mnm4ever

          In 25+ yrs of driving I can count the number of times I have used a spare tire on 3 fingers, and two of those times were my own fault. Why is that so important to you? Its become common for cars not to have spares these days…

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            Out in the beartooth mountains, my 07 GTI had a sidewall rip. Considering we were over 100 miles from the nearest tire shop that could get tires for me, a spare is pretty important. That is why I think the no spare tire thing is complete nonsense. You best be sticking to heavily populated areas or have a tire size that is extremely common that your mom and pop joints in the sticks will have available. I have the same complaint against runflats. If I get a flat in our MINI coming back from a concert in Columbus, OH to my home near Charleston, WV at 10PM, I’m going to have to rent a car or something to even get home because a run flat only gets me 50 miles. What if you have no phone signal? Do you hitchhike? I bought a spare that I keep in the MINI and went to traditional tires because runflats ride terrible, wear out quickly, and are expensive. Basically, my case against no spare tire/run flats is that it switches a flat tire from being categorized as a delay to a breakdown.

            Maybe it is the fact that I like to do things away from the city in the great outdoors. Considering you buy a hybrid, 5 door hatch for a practical little runabout that you can take for weekend trips and travel at low cost, no spare is a huge negative… especially when buying your own donut spare will eat up precious cargo space (which the c-max is already less than impressive behind the 2nd row seats).

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            My wife is from Charleston, and agreed, in your situation, I could see the need for it. Many times out in the mountains you get zero cell signal, so even finding a working phone to call AAA would be a hassle. Of course it’s still really low risk, I am not even remotely careful about checking my tires and I have had a flat twice in 25 yrs, I am pretty sure I could find a phone or flag down a car in the really rare scenario you presented.

            Plus, since you have apparently left West Virginia on occasion, surely you can understand that the vast majority of hybrid buyers are not going to experience the scenarios you presented. Heck, just being a hybrid driver in WV would put you in an extreme minority compared to pickups and SUVs.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            I actually am a hybrid owner, haha. I do have the mandatory SUV, though. What is amusing is that our Prius v is a much better kid carrier than the SUV. It is much nicer lifting my 1 year old daughter into the car seat in the Prius than the 4Runner because I don’t have to lift her up into the vehicle.

            The SUV wasn’t purchased as a status vehicle or family hauler, though. I replaced my GTI with the 4Runner after I determined that despite the GTI being an absolute riot on road, it wasn’t really cut out for the things I like to do. It didn’t allow for a hitch mount bike rack, the interior was always getting scratched by bike parts, camping gear, etc, I was limited to where I could take it because of ground clearance (see the Beartooth debacle above), and it was strictly a 2 seater when it came to vacations and such (4 people + luggage not OK). The 4Runner mostly sleeps in the driveway while we drive the MINI and the Prius. The big guy only comes out when we’re crossing the mountains in the winter or I’m heading past where the pavement stops.

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            So that explains the blown out sidewall on the GTI! I have a GTI, it is not meant for any roads that are not glassy smooth. I also have all the same complaints as you as far as daily use, travel, pets, etc.

            I did briefly consider a Subaru Crosstrek as an alternative to my GTI for more active usage, but in the end couldn’t justify the loss of an almost paid for and mint condition GTI over a non-turbo Impreza wagon with a mild liftkit. So we have an old CRV for dog/family/beach/runaround duty, and my wife and I have two “fun” cars, kind of like your situation.

            Ever since I found out about the VW-sponsored Summit Point track day I have been trying to figure out a way to justify a last minute road trip up to your neck of the woods, but it doesn’t appear to be working out. I have never had a good car with me when we have visited her hometown, but you do have some amazing driving roads up there.

    • 0 avatar
      Conslaw

      I’ve had no issues with the footwell storage covers. They are under the floormats and have remained solidly in place. I don’t know how useful the footwell storage bins are. They’re pretty small. I’d rather have storage under the passenger seat cushion like on the Dodge Journey.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The lack of a spare tire really turned me off to the C-Max and 2013 Fusion Hybrid. I’ll take a spare tire, even a temporary one, please.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Tire slime kit plus a compressor is good for most flats. AAA and Belle Tire for the rest I suppose. A sidewall blowout will ruin your day though. When the time comes to replace the tires, I won’t be buying cheap Chinese tires though.

        • 0 avatar
          Conslaw

          I spent a couple hours looking for statistics on how common flat tires are these days, and any data on how many flats can be fixed with fix-a-flat. I didn’t find any. I haven’t had a flat for 10 years, and best of my recollection, all of the flats I’ve had could have been temporarily fixed with fix-a-flat. Still, if you buy a C-Max or other car without a spare, you better budget for AAA, CAA or whatever.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          The problem with the “tire mobility kit” is that once you’ve slimmed a tire most places won’t patch that tire. You also run the risk of harming the tire pressure sensor. The Slime also has a shelf life so it needs periodic replacement. So what could have been a $20 (or even free depending on where you buy your tires) repair can now cost you hundreds. On a car that is used exclusively around the local area I wouldn’t mind it so much, but on a road trip vehicle it is another story. I don’t even like the temporary spares for those vehicles.

          I did get a big cut in one of my tires on a road trip out in the middle of now where one time. I put the spare on and made it to our destination hundreds of miles away. Then had to go an order a tire and wait a day for it to come in as no one had a matching tire in stock and most places didn’t even have a tire in the proper size. If I didn’t have a full size spare I would have spent a couple of days of my vacation waiting around for a new tire at a hotel in the middle of no where since I doubt the free road side assistance would have towed it very far.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I have two cars with no spares. The BMW has run flats in the summer, and regular winter tires. The Abarth has regular tires and came with a slime compressor. The slime is water-soluable, so no worries there. Ill toss it in the BMW for the Winter. I’m not even remotely concerned, I have not had a flat on the road in more than 20 years. But I also live in the North East, where there is civilization. If I lived in Montana I would carry a spare.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I didn’t know about the 5 years of free roadside assistance and towing. Thanks for the heads up.

        • 0 avatar
          Wraith

          No experience with roadside assistance or AAA. I generally wonder what kind of service they offer out in the sticks / how long you’ll end up waiting for someone to show up.

          I’m just more comfortable having the mini spare, I guess.

          • 0 avatar
            otaku

            Sure, but what if you have more than one flat tire? Personally, I won’t even consider any new car that doesn’t come standard with at least four full size spares in the trunk…

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    As a happy C-Max owner, I want to congratulate her on her purchase and give some tips for getting close to the rated MPG. (I have a lifetime MPG just under 44.)

    1. Enable EV+ mode. This lets the car use more of its battery power as it approaches frequent destinations. Since the car usually runs the gas engine on start up, it will recharge the battery then. In my experience, EV+ mode alone is good for about 2 MPG.

    2. Use Pulse-Glide for cruising in town. If your battery is low, accelerate to just over your target speed at “two bars” on the IC engine (using the “engage” mode on the display) then coast to your target speed and lightly press the accelerator to maintain your speed on electric power. You will generally be able to either coast or go electric for twice as long as you go on gas.

    3. On the highway you can have 40+ MPG or high speed cruising. You can’t have both. If you want a 40+ MPG car to drive long distance at 75-80 MPH, I suggest you get a Volkswagen Passat or Jetta GDI. The egg shape of the C-Max makes it a great city car, but makes it hard to get superb MPG on the highway. The pending software update might improve this a little bit.

    4 Accept the fact that the C-Max is not a Prius. the Prius is much more aerodynamic, and it has a much less powerful powertrain, so it gets better fuel economy than the C-Max. On the other hand, the C-Max has a better driving position, better rearward visibility better handling, much better acceleration, and better gadgets.

    5. Accept the fact that cold weather cuts MPG. On cold days, the car runs the IC engine until the battery and the emissions reach a certain temperature. This means that, especially for short trips, you will see a noticeable drop in MPG.

    4. RTFM. The C-MAX has lots of great features and gadgets, but you have to read the manual to learn how to make the most of things.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The C-Max is my wife’s favorite car she’s ever owned. She would take it over the MKV GTI or 2011 V6 Mustang that have been in our garage. She does covet her parent’s Flex ecoboost though.

    • 0 avatar
      carr1on

      Great tips Conslaw.

      We leased our C-MAX SE a month ago.

      We just returned from a 2,300 mile road trip over 8 days. I was quite impressed with the C-MAX. I’m a big guy and was quite comfortable driving the entire trip. The MySync-Ford-Touch-Infotainment-thingie worked very well. I especially like the Bluetooth audio streaming. In addition, the NAV system is quite an improvement over our previous Nissan NAV.

      On our trip I drove 80 MPH for long stretches between Dallas and Knoxville. I averaged 36.1 MPG for the entire trip, which I felt was pretty good since I my driving style can probably be called “anti-hybrid.”

      So far we are quite happy with our selection.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      You definitely have to learn how to drive one to get the best MPG. When we got our 2010 Fusion we were only getting 36~37 in mixed driving which granted was in the winter. With a month or so of learning to drive it most efficiently that average was brought up to about 40 still in colder weather. Now that summer is here it is doing 42 in mixed driving. Unfortunately there is no EV+ mode on it and it won’t shut off the engine above 47mph.

      • 0 avatar
        Conslaw

        Supposedly with the upcoming software fix, the C-Max and Fusion hybrids will be able to go 80 MPH on electric power (as opposed to 62 MPH now). That’s a welcome change, because right around 62 MPH the hand-off between the electric motor and the IC engine gets a little – what’s the scientific term? wanky.

        By the way, regarding my list. Add this one:

        6. Use cruise control on the highway. The computer tries to guess why you are increasing, decreasing throttle. When in cruise control, the computer is deciding the throttle speeds based upon your setting, and other factors, and those factors appear to include the upcoming elevation changes. (I’m told that even the non-navigation models actually have GPS.)

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I’m taking my C-Max in next week for the software fix. I probably should write about the process.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            I’m not sure what there is to write about the process you hand them the keys they pull the car into the shop plug into the OBD-II port and download the new program, they pull it out of the shop and hand you back the keys.

            On the other hand I’d certainly be interested to hear about any difference in MPG or driving characteristics after the re-flash.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Scottdude, thats what I meant. I am very interested to see what the MPG change is and if the car behaves differently.

            The 47/47/47 rating has been a hot button around the web. I want to see if Ford really has an answer to the critics that haven’t seen close to 47 MPG in real world driving.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Yup our Fusion Hybrid is the only car that I’ve ever had where the cruise control consistently improved MPG vs what I could do on my own.

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          “… those factors appear to include the upcoming elevation changes.”

          If true, awesome.

          I’d like to see that improved with a speed range allowance parameter. Then, I set the speed and the car can go under/over by X. I expect this would be good for at least a couple MPG in hilly country. It would be even more effective, I think, in a more aerodynamic car.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            With the Hybrid that doesn’t really help that much. With the cruise on when it senses that you are going up a grade it provides the extra power from the battery and then recharges it on the way down the other side.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            By the display, the Prius seems to sort of randomly charge and discharge the battery up or down hill. A cruise that could plan that activity would make a lot of sense.

            I still think also allowing a range would improve fuel economy. Moving juice back and forth from the battery involves losses. Simply letting a very aerodynamic car pick up more kinetic energy on the way down a hill and avoid that conversion loss would seem to be a helpful strategy.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @ Kix, I was referring to my Fusion Hybrid where I’ve tried letting it slow down a bit on up the upside and gain speed on the down with or without trying to gain a little momentum before going up the hill. The cruise beat me either way, while on the non-hybrid cars I could always beat the cruise. Though to be fair those were cars with conventional 4 or 5 sp automatics which if left to cruise often seemed to end up down shifting and then holding that lower gear much longer than it really needed. With a non-hybird CVT it might be different or with a car with a lot of excess power at the cruising rpm.

            What really makes me mad though is when going through mountain passes. The battery will be at the optimum 50% SOC at the start of climbing the grade and it will use that down to the minimum pretty early on and then start charging it up will still climbing. By the time I get to the top of the pass the battery will be back up to that 50% SOC and I’ll get it up to max pretty quick on the down side and loose the regen braking before I reach the bottom of the grade. I so wish there was a hold button that would prevent it from charging while still climbing so it wouldn’t waste fuel charging the battery that could be completely recharged on the down slope with the stored energy from climbing. It would also be nice to be able to manually select EV mode so I could park it with a fairly drained battery because it will charge it on the cold restart trying to get the engine up to temp. It never fails that by the time I get to a nice down hill section not too far from my house that the battery has been fully charged and I don’t get any regen going down that hill.

        • 0 avatar
          papaj1

          That’s 85 MPH max EV speed with the new software.

          You get 2 benefits at higher speeds — 1) if you’re coasting up to 85 MPH downhill, the gas engine stays off and 2) running up to 85 on a flat road you’ll spend more time in EV mode vs. gasoline-only. My unscientific guess is it will add about 2-3 MPG to highway trips which in our case would be in the 45 MPG range.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            The battery in the standard hybrid Fusion/C Max doesn’t have the power to push the car at 85 mph on a level surface. But there is definitely some advantage that will be gained while going down hill at speeds greater than 62mph, which is most everywhere on the freeway outside of rush hour in a metro area and you might pickup some with the pulse and glide technique.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        The last gen Fusion Hybrid is a really underrated car. It gets business done while being extremely reliable/efficient.

      • 0 avatar
        papaj1

        I wonder if Ford could reprogram the older Fusions like yours along with the newer ones — doubtful

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Yeah I don’t think so since the owner’s manual specifically states not to shut the engine off or it may damage the transmission. So I’m assuming that the motor/generator that controls the transmission range is not designed to spin that fast.

          On the gauge where you can see the source of power there are conditions where I can cruise at 60 MPH while the engine bar is at zero and the EV bar is up at one or so but the EV mode is not showing. That however is limited to cases where there is a slight down hill and the battery is at a higher SOC.

          I do know that there are a lot of cases in our regular driving where it would get better MPG if the engine could be shut off at a higher speed. As it is there are a number of places where I diligently watch my speed down a hill and try to limit my braking to regen in an effort to keep the engine off. There are lots of hills around here some quite long where engine off at up to even the original 2013 programming of 62 mph would be helpful.

          I believe the only reason that they are able to switch the regular 2013s to be able to shut the engine off at up to 85 MPH is the fact that the Energi versions use the same transmission and are capable of that 85 mph EV mode thanks to their larger battery.

    • 0 avatar
      babymomma

      Thanks for the tips! My dealership had hired a technical specialist who sat in the car with me for a while, showed me all of the settings and helped me set some preferences. EV+ is set (sooo cool!), and I am using the coach right now to watch my acceleration, braking and cruising. My first 50 miles I have averaged 34 mpg, and that is before break-in. My first trip to work today was 43.5 mpg, so I am pretty pleased :) I think I already drive the way it wants me to, and I am so easily influenced by the threat of losing leaves. I will read the manual when I have some time and have learned a bit just from experimenting.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    This will be excellent reading if Alex writes them.

    JB’s schtick is great entertainment but this is serious.

  • avatar

    Soooo buying an S2000 in 2017. Put the old engine into it from before it was nerfed…

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Not a hybrid fan, but the C-Max has this oddball appeal to me…

  • avatar
    papaj1

    We paid less than $26,000 out the door for our 2013 C-Max SE with the 201 package (power liftgate & recessed lighting) then added aftermarket leather seats, all-in cost right at $27,000 — a screaming deal compared to you-know-who’s hybrid appliance.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Aftermarket leather is that affordable? How’s the quality? Thats the only thing I wish my C-Max SE had. The 201A and 203A packages are both a great deal.

      • 0 avatar
        papaj1

        Identical to Ford factory leather — $1,000 installed. We preferred the base SYNC system in the SE to the buggy MFT in the SEL, so the aftermarket leather option was great. Ask your local dealer about it.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I like MFT, I know I’m in the minority. In order to get the power liftgate and nav on an SEL, you have to get the 303A package like Jack’s ex-wife. It is $5000 above the 203A package, which is the SE with nav/power liftgate/MFT. I didn’t want to pay that much more for leather, fog lights, the sony stereo, and a few other things.

          I ordered mine at the begining of 2012 as soon as pricing was annouced. I was hooked after driving a preproduction version.

          • 0 avatar
            carr1on

            I couldn’t justify the additional $$$$ for the SEL 303 versus SE 203 package. The only option I wish the SE 203 had is keyless ignition. We had keyless ignition for several years with our previous Nissans, and it’s a hard habit to break to flop into the drivers seat and poke the dash. What?!?!? No button?!? Damnit, now I have to dig in my pocket for a key….

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            My wife wants a keyless entry house with a proximity sensor, just like our Focus. I don’t blame her as her dungeon master key ring filled with shopping rewards cards, mase, a swiss army knife, and around 44 keys must be a PITA to get out of her 70 lb purse that is as big as a medium sized farm animal.

          • 0 avatar
            Willyam

            Dungeon-master key ring. You guys are awesome.

            Mine has about 14 empty purses and one overstuffed small one. The keyless won’t lock if a fob is left in the car, and digging for a lozenge that doesn’t rattle takes longer than the errand we’re on.

    • 0 avatar
      Conslaw

      Did you get the heated seats? The C-Max is in the minority of models where heated seats are available without leather.

  • avatar
    babymomma

    Did you forget when we were married, when your son was born, or are you just bad at math? It was FOURTEEN YEARS, not 10! :)

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Hmmm, the Escape is getting long in the tooth.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    My only problem with the C-Max is that Ford touts it as a replacement for the Escape Hybrid, which they no longer make. The problem was that half the 2005-2012 Escape Hybrids were awd, which means you can no longer buy a smallish hybrid suv that has a traditional drivetrain. The other modest-sized hybrid suv’s use an electric motor for the rear wheels, and it’s subject to going on strike when it overheats.

    With Toyota apparently poised to offer a Rav4 hybrid, Ford may want to reissue an Escape Hybrid, or offer awd on the C-Max.

    With respect to general myths about hybrids, many people suggest running them in electric mode as much as possible, to save gas. Well, energy doesn’t come from thin air. Any charge used out of the traction battery has to be replaced, one way or another, by running the gas engine. Forcing a hybrid to operate in electric mode more than it wants to can actually harm mileage by conversion losses as you charge/discharge the main battery using the gas engine, rather than using the gas engine directly itself.

    There was speculation about whether the Prius has a spare. It does, but only a compact one. The plug-in Prius, as someone said above, does not have a spare.

    • 0 avatar
      papaj1

      “Any charge used out of the traction battery has to be replaced, one way or another, by running the gas engine.” — not quite correct.

      The C-Max’ battery is recharged in 3 ways:
      1- As you noted, when the battery gets low the ICE ENGINE works a little harder to recharge it.

      2- Battery regens when car is COASTING/rolling downhill

      3- Battery regens during BRAKING; in my experience this is key to getting top mileage. You coast up to stoplights and gently ride the brakes; when you stop the C-Max gives you a readout on how much energy has been recaptured. (This has the added benefit of not wearing out brake pads)

      So at least in the case of the C-Max, staying in EV mode as much as possible is indeed the key to superior MPGs. We can get 55 MPH+ in around-town stop & go driving when the ICE engine rarely fires up.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    I’ve driven the spectacular seven seater, 6 speed, diesel C-Max and yes, it was metallic chocolate-brown!, through the winding expanse of the Ardennes a couple of years ago. Such a good car and of course, the States can’t get a 6 spd, CRD, seven passenger OR metallic choco-brown C-Max. That thought always chokes me up whilst contemplating it over the sink with my half-nuked, half-frozen pepperoni-broccoli hot pocket and luke-warm Schlitz dribbling ‘cheese’ and cheap malted hops over my stained wife beater onto my black socks and sandals. Sad, sad, sad.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Don’t be hitting me with those negative waves so early in the morning, delorean.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Speaking of chocolate brown! The Escape is available in a dark brown with gold metallic flakes. Why don’t they offer the C-Max in that color? Brown is, after all, the appropriate color for a car shaped like a potato. If I had stupid money, I’d totally repaint my C-Max brown…

  • avatar
    DanielCTA

    So JB, where’s the three month status update. I’m sure MotorTrend would have provided two updates by now but I’m expecting yours will have more value than two of theirs.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States