By on April 22, 2016

cmax

Thirty-three months ago, I announced the addition of a long-term C-Max to our “fleet” with much Sturn und Drang about how I’d be keeping you comprehensively updated on the ownership experience and whatnot.

Well, I’m sure none of you noticed, but I never wrote about the thing again. Why? Well, there wasn’t anything about which to write! My baby-momma got a steady 42 miles per gallon, never had a single mechanical issue, loved the car to death, and became a total Jonestown convert to the C-Max way of life.

It’s now time to replace that C-Max. I suggested an Accord Hybrid. My son suggested a used AMG SLS Black Series. Her new husband suggested keeping the C-Max and getting a faster motorcycle for him instead — possibly a Hayabusa, who knows. All of these were good ideas. But she decided she wanted another C-Max, so we started running the numbers … and as they say on Buzzfeed, you won’t believe what happened next!

There’s currently over $9,000 worth of combined incentives and federal tax credits on the C-Max Energi. This makes the post-incentives-and-rebates price of the Energi about three grand cheaper than the equivalent C-Max Hybrid SEL, and even a few bucks cheaper than the C-Max Hybrid SE, which is short quite a bit of equipment compared to the Energi.

The equivalent Prius Plug-In Advanced is $34,990, just to put it in perspective, and you only get 11 miles of range compared to the 21-mile range of the C-Max. It’s also out of production, and the new Prius Prime plug-in is only expected to match the Energi’s range, not exceed it. I should also note that based on my extensive time behind the wheel of both the C-Max and the racetrack-edition Prius, I’d expect the C-Max to continue to be quieter, better-riding, and more luxurious than the new Prius.

It’s possible to option a C-Max Energi up about $38,000 with the panoramic roof, the self-parking option, and the sound-system upgrades. Which is what baby-momma’s going to do. Which leads to a problem. Virtually all of the loaded C-Max Energis across the Midwest in dealer stock are refrigerator white. She wants an actual color. What to do? There’s a red one scheduled to be built in Michigan this week, but there’s no guarantee it will make it to the dealer by the time the incentives expire. It’s a tough call.

I’m looking forward to the arrival of the C-Max Energi. It has a super-fun LED ring around the plug-in port that progressively lights up as the car charges. Our cheap coal-fired electricity here in Ohio means that it will cost her well under a dollar to get that first 21 miles every day, no matter what happens to gasoline prices. I’m thinking we might stage a 0-50 mph drag race between the Energi in EV mode and my 7-year-old son on his Yamaha TTR-90. There’s really no end to the possibilities. But whatever happens, I promise updates will happen more regularly than once every 34 months.

Disclosure: You’d think that with all the stuff my brother writes about Ford that we’d get some kind of deal, right? Well, the last time I asked for one, Ford gave me the ‘California no’. So we didn’t even bother this time.

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63 Comments on “The Plug-In Deal Of the Millennium Expires In Eight Days...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Is it the Ford cash on the hood or the tax incentives that are going to expire soon? Just curious.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Ford incentives change on the first of everu month. They might continue but if stock is low enough (and it looks like it is, at least in Ohio) they won’t be as good.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Jack, I misunderstood the numbers you posted OR your explanation was wanting.

        (I saw the $18,500 OTD price mentioned on Riverside Green.)

        You are saying one can land, no games, a well equipped C-max Energi for $18,500 Out The Door?

        If so, I have a very eco-friendly sister that would be interested in this deal (while I’m decaying for the perfect 2010-201w C63).

    • 0 avatar
      vtnoah

      From what I remember it was a combo of both. I leased mine back in September of 15 and received the same amount off the MSRP.

      Also, when you file your federal taxes you get additional deductions for buying an electric. I received an extra 4k or so!

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    1) This is the hybrid Focus that really might get 18 miles on a full charge in electric mode (and less in extreme temperatures).

    2) Your son is by far the smartest one out of the lot.

    3) Ford should offer your entire, extended family actual (not just in marketing-speak) employee pricing plus Swag Bags full of goodies & junkets to Caribbean Islands thanks to Bark’s rabid Ford worship.

    4) The C-Max Energy battery takes up a YUUUGE amount of storage space.

    5) Meh.

    • 0 avatar
      vtnoah

      As an owner, I’ll followup on your points.

      1) I average between 18 and 21 miles of electric range on my daily commute. In the cold winter months here in Vermont, the lowest the range has dropped to is 15 miles. Still enough to cover the majority of my commute.

      2) No comment

      3) No comment

      4) The Energi’s battery pack takes up about 1/2 of the available space in the hatch. That said, the space available is still usable, I can fit my twin’s double stroller back there. The rear seat passenger space is also plenty spacious. I can fit both of their rear facing child seats back there with no affect on front seat passengers.

      5) It’s not the most exciting car and it’s not supposed to be. It’s a great commuter that beats the pants off the equivalent Prius. It handles well and has decent acceleration considering what it is. Due to the fact that my office has a plug in station and I have a sub 20 mile commute, I can easily stretch a tank of gas over 1500 miles by plugging in at home and at work.

      Would I get another? Depends… I got it as something reliable and cheap to get me to work while I also work on my Master’s degree. Once complete my plan is to step up to a GTI but it’ll be difficult to give up not having to pump gas.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Dee Dub, that boner you’ve got for Bark is way more than 4 hours, you need professional medical attention.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I still want a Prius R in a Jalop-never-gonna-buy-it-just-build-it-please way. Camry HSD in a regular Prius shell with the sport tires pls.

    I could get behind the C-Max if it didn’t look like my dachshund extruding a turd. Would it really have cost them anything to make this thing look decent?

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Ford still doesn’t realize that there are better EVs sold/leased at prices better than their “blow-out” promotional deals.

      Ford, with few exceptions, is in a price-blinder world, made possible by the F Series pickup (that floats the brand), whereby it thinks it can creep up to near-Audi prices on many of its vehicles (with many, but not all, of those vehicles being also-rans or average in their segment, at best).

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Do you ever get tired of making up dribble to justify your ill-informed opinions? I realize that it pisses you off that Ford is successful with damn near every entry (the C-Max being the biggest exception), but c’mon, for your own sake: take your meds, cry us a river, build a bridge and get the f over it.

        Best selling brand in the country year after year doesnt soley ride on the F-Series broad shoulders.

      • 0 avatar
        vtnoah

        It’s not a pure EV. It’s a plug in hybrid. Name another plug in hybrid that gets the same range.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Hey DeadWeight, let’s make a pact.

        I will stop calling you out on your desperate dollar store brand Pete DeLorenzo imitating attention whoring fallacy filled hyperbole, and you promise to never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever reply to one of my posts again.

        This post from you is so full of misinformation, it’s hard to tell if you’re serious, or going out of your way to be wrong just to get someone to acknowledge you in pointing out all the flat out lies in this post. Near Audi prices? A top of the line Focus is at most $40K, right in line with all the Focus RS’ competitors; the Audi S3 STARTS at $43K, and I’m seeing modestly equipped versions going for over $50K. The top Fusion costs $38K (and is a hybrid). The BASE A6 STARTS at $46K, and I’m sure an S6 can be equipped into the 6 figure realm. So what the hell are you talking about with this “near Audi pricing” nonsense? It’s like every time you post you think, “what is the most outrageous, hyperbolic, attention grabbing garbage I can spew THIS time?”

        For the love of all things B&B please stop!

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      “Distinctive” sells Hybrids and the Prius is the poster child for that, and they are taking it to the extreme with the current offering. There are a lot of people who want people to know that they are saving the planet by their choice of vehicle.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    If only the volt had come in cmax shape with volt range.

    I just cant see buying a plug in hybrid without 50 miles of electric range.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      I think the rav 4 hybrid and the prius V are is by far the best two hybrids on the road today. All of the others fail due to lack of USEABLE SPACE

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The C-Max ain’t bad looking at all to me, kind of like a bigger Focus hatchback or a slightly different Escape. Sounds like you may not be a fan of Ford’s styling language?

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        It looks like a pregnant Focus with a Dominican badonkadonk.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          All the European tall wagons look fundamentally the same. I prefer all of them to the CR-V/RAV4 fakey-doo off-roader shape.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            My main complaint with the C-Max was the overcomplicated front-fascia. Now that they’ve fixed that for MY2017, I think it’s quite handsome…far better looking than the Prius V with which it most directly completes.

            http://www.fordblogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/2017-Ford-C-Max-front-view.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The styling cues are fine but the overall shape has the same frumpy look as the Rondo and Encore.

        I’m sure it’s a fine family vehicle, but it doesn’t get any attractiveness points from me.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        I saw a new one on the road today, and it didn’t rub me nearly as raw as the earlier front fascia.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      You pay for that 50 miles of range with less interior space.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        Yes. That is why they need to upsize. To get back that space the battery took up.

      • 0 avatar
        rudiger

        It’s a trade-off. Right now, with gas prices low, it’s not worth it and the reason they’re not selling (and the big incentives). But if fuel prices spike, it will be a different story. Suddenly, sacrificing some interior cargo space for 18 electric-only miles will look a whole lot more appealing.

        FWIW, the C-Max was not designed for a big, plug-in battery and the reason for the big intrusion into the rear cargo space. The soon-to-be-released next generation should have the big battery better integrated and (theoretically, at least) not suck up so much interior room.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      I looked at the C-Max Energi before I bought my Volt last year – limited availability in PA, so no incentives offered – the $4k federal tax credit (and lack of Pennsylvania rebate) made it more expensive than the Volt.

      Though the Volt has less interior space (due to the sloping hatchback), it has a flat floor with the rear seats folded; the C-Max E has a battery “bump”.

      Right now, I’m getting 40+ miles of range per 10 hour charge (120V) – and am quite happy with the handling, quiet power, and even the gas mileage when the battery is depleted (36MPG). I’ve used about 15 gallons of gas since September, mainly because I wanted to get some hours on the engine to know that it’s working properly.

      Don’t get me wrong, the C-Max is a nice vehicle, and I applaud anyone who buys one – it’s a great intro to EV driving without the range anxiety.

  • avatar
    Fonzy

    Buy the white one and then get it vinyl wrapped. She can change the color out every year if she wanted.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Or Plastidip it for less.

      • 0 avatar
        Dingleberrypiez_Returns

        Something tells me a grown woman with kids isn’t going to plastidip her leased CMax.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          I’ve seen BMWs that have been dipped being driven by grown women. It is also much less likely to damage the paint and won’t leave a sticky mess like a wrap.

          But I agree that you won’t find many women willing to have their new car dipped but I doubt you’ll find many that would wanted it wrapped either. Those that do want it wrapped are probably doing it to advertise their business.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      Is Wrapify operating in mid-Ohio yet? You could turn this into a positive cashflow deal.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Damn, Jack, thanks for bringing this deal to our attention.

    We were getting discouraged on our hybrid/EV hunt by high prices and very poor vehicle availability on the options we were considering. This may be an answer. Kick the can down the road three more years and pay very low lease payments in the meantime.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Sturm und Drang…and I like the way your kid thinks!

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Jack…

    I looked at the C Max long ago, before the E came along. I wasn’t really happy with the battery in the cargo area as it looked funky as a raised floor lump when you lifted the hatch.
    Is the Energy even worse looking with an even higher floor?

  • avatar
    chaunceyjb

    I have a 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid which I still really like. My dissapointment was that the newer style Escape didn’t come in a plug-in hybrid (or any hybrid) configuration. I am pretty large framed and sat in a C-Max. I can fit in one ok, except for the damned console between the seats make sitting unacceptably uncomforatable against my right leg.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      There was recently an SNL parody commercial for a Mercedes that operated on thousands of AA-cell batteries. What was ironic is that the Escape Hybrid could (theoretically) do the same with D-cell batteries.

      I once read that the Escape’s traction battery is actually comprised of long tubes fill with D-cell size rechargeable cells. So, if it were possible to access the tubes and easily change out the rechargeable cells with equivalently-sized D-cells, well, there you go.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        A friend recently replaced a cell or two in his Prius battery for ~$50 each. He cleaned up a few connections too and all the warning lights went off on the dash, and his MPG returned.

        I can’t imagine that any of the hybrid batteries would be that different. There might be more or less aftermarket support depending on the popularity of your hybrid of course.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      the C-Max has the same dash and center console as the Escape :)

  • avatar
    JimZ

    road trip!

    http://www.inventory.ford.com/dealer/Fairlane-Ford-03050/model/2016-C-MAX/vin/1FADP5CU2GL105193?zipcode=48120&segment=Car&inventoryType=Radius&ownerPACode=05340&lang=en&branding=1

  • avatar
    z9

    I have one of these and it has run almost flawlessly for a couple of years. The only problem the Energi version of the C-Max seems to have is a penchant for killing its 12-volt battery, which is buried unbelievably deep within the back of the car, but our dead battery was happily replaced under warranty and there is a claim some revised software will fix the problem. We also had a big improvement in how the car drives by putting Michelin Premier tires on it. Unusual bonus storage space under the rear seat partially makes up for the small cargo area. The weirdly shaped cargo floor has never really been an issue for anything we’ve wanted to carry in it.

  • avatar
    ringomon

    I’d jump on this as my back of envelope math tells me this wouldn’t be too much different of an outlay than driving my current car for three more years before I’m ready to buy a new one on my normal 10 year cycle.

    BUT I can’t get the incentive in my zip code. I see it on the Ford site but when you go to actual vehicles none of them include it. It’s frustrating man. I wish these things weren’t so tricky. I thought it was just a Michigan thing but I changed to an Ohio zip code and same thing happens…

  • avatar

    Well that was a pleasant and even funny interlude in a day with moderate tsuris. Thanks!

  • avatar
    deanst

    In Ontario you can get an Energi for $32k less $8k in government rebates – $24,000 CDN or $19,000 US. Add in 1% financing for 84 months too.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    The C-Max way of life is a good way of life.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I have a 2013 C-Max fleet car available to use for business trips. The back hatch isn’t as roomy as other crossovers but it is a nice handling vehicle with plenty of interior room and good mpgs. I could easily live with one for my own vehicle.

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    If you think that’s a good deal, the Focus EV can be leased for free if you live in the right states because of incentive packages.

  • avatar
    Eyeflyistheeye

    I’d just take the white one. I didn’t have much color choice when Ford was having their Cinco De Mayo sale (aka if you have a pulse we’ll throw cash on the hood) for a stick Focus in 2014, but I lucked out and got a grey one which I love. White is also a good color for a Focus and Focus family derivatives like the C-Max.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    Ford should be able to issue a RDR card if there is a build date. Then you sign the contract as though delivery has been made and proceed to extract the incentives from whatever sources as of that date. This requires faith in your selling dealer and in the OEM, but it appears your group has this covered. In the early days of subvented interest this was a common tactic that many local offices actually encouraged their dealers to do, especially as prime in those days was much higher than the current lows.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    If I were buying a C-Max I would take the white one with the cash incentives. White is not my first choice but I could live with it.

  • avatar
    laserwizard

    I was looking at one of these Energi models myself – with $11k off the sticker when making the order online, I am so tempted.

    Then I have the days when my Escort is giving me over 50 mpgs on the highway and I forget about buying anything else.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Well, thanks, Jack. Picked a loaded one of these up today, with lease terms based on nearly 13k off sticker. It’s a full-featured and comfy little mini-minivan, that can drive without using gas for most of our normal errands, for the price of a stripper Honda Accord. Again, appreciate your pointing it out.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Really, a C-max to go with supreme Japanese luxury? Congrats.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Thanks! I couldn’t turn down the deal, but I’m also surprised by how much I genuinely like the car. The drive is super-refined, with comfortable seats, nice ride/handling balance and very quiet. The powertrain is better calibrated than that in the RAV4 Hybrid. The non-Energi drives slightly better than the Energi due to its lighter weight, but the difference isn’t worth forgoing the EV capability (or paying more, with the current deals on the Energi).

        • 0 avatar
          Wagon Of Fury

          Hey Dal – would you care to share the details of your lease including your state ? Seems the Ford website likes to play games confusing leasing and buying.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Missed this, but if you’re still paying attention… WA, $33900 cap cost before rebates ($37655 MSRP, fully loaded with 303A and sunroof), $9757 in rebates/incentives taken off the cap cost, 47% residual, 0.5 money factor (like 1% interest), 0 down, result after folding 10% tax and title/registration into the lease: $309/month.

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