2013 Ford C-Max Energi Performance
This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.
Most reviewers say the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi has decent performance. They report that the ride and handling are solid, and while the acceleration isn't great, it's certainly good enough for most drivers. Several reviewers complain that they were not able to match the advertised all-electric range in the C-Max Energi, or its fuel economy estimates.
- "The C-Max Energi feels like a real, normal car, yet still manages a decent amount of EV-only driving and respectable fuel economy." -- Automobile Magazine
- "But the C-Max never does anything more exciting than send out an instant message when its battery is charged. Driving it is like being the night watchman at a nuclear power plant. It's best to just sit back and leave it in automatic mode and let the Energi almost imperceptibly dance between electric drive, gas power, and whatever combination the computer thinks best. Since there's no tachometer, the driver must rely on audible cues to know when the engine is even running. At speed, the subdued wind noise and the substantial tire noise are enough to drown out any song sung by the four-cylinder." -- Car and Driver
- "Ford keeps the battery weight close to the ground, which enhances handling of the car. The steering is responsive, and the car feels exceptionally well balanced. This is no MINI Cooper, but it's not supposed to be. It's an extremely well-mannered family car, perhaps a second car for a family if not the first, with a lot of pop in the accelerator." -- AOL Autos
- "But that's where the positives end. In our testing, we simply couldn't come close to any of the EV range and fuel economy figures quoted on the vehicle's window sticker." -- Left Lane News
Acceleration and Power
The 2013 Ford C-Max Energi is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. Together, they make 188 horsepower. Power is routed to the wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Though reviewers appreciate the instant power the powertain provides when the C-Max Energi is in electric mode, a few say the instant power can make takeoffs a little jumpy. No reviewer calls the C-Max Energi powerful, though most agree it has sufficient power for town and highway driving. Many reviewers criticize the CVT for making the C-Max Energi feel slow and weak.
- "On the highway, however, the 118-hp electric motor was breathing hard. While it could sustain 75 mph-top speed in electric mode is listed as 85 mph-flooring the "gas" pedal above 70 mph gave only basically no indication of acceleration; we had to look at the speedometer needle to verify that we were, in fact, gaining speed." -- Car and Driver
- "I nicknamed the C-Max Energi "Lurch" after maneuvering out of a parking garage. The instant torque from the electric motor propelled the car harder than a gasoline engine would, and the brakes grabbed quickly, making the C-Max Energi wobble on its suspension. It was not graceful." -- CNET
- "As a result, the C-Max feels relatively sprightly, aided by a continuously variable transaxle that seemed to be on its best behavior during our evaluation by droning only a bit at higher rpms during highway merging. A rocket it is not, but the C-Max is more than adequate in terms of its ability to keep up with traffic." -- Left Lane News
- "There is a noticeable difference in performance when it switches to hybrid mode, and since it's primarily relying on the gasoline engine the power delivery is less linear and much noisier. Anything more than half-throttle turns up an unpleasant moan, but keep a light foot on the pedal and the C-Max Energy is one of the most refined hybrids you'll find." -- Fox News
- "In a later series of test drives, I wanted to gauge the performance of the electric motor by itself. I discovered that the electric motor, while delivering the electric equivalent of 100 miles per gallon (expressed as 100MPGe), was also quite slow on its own, especially after that initial surge of torque from a standing start. I was a little disappointed at its 0-to-60 time of 21.2 seconds, which seemed glacially slow. Unlike the Chevy Volt, which has startling acceleration - even at high speed - in electric-only mode, the C-Max Energi's all-electric mode will get you there - eventually." -- Mashable
The 2013 Ford C-Max Energi is a plug-in hybrid. That means its battery pack can be recharged by plugging it in to an electrical outlet. Using a standard household outlet, the C-Max Energi can be fully charged in seven hours. Using a 240-volt outlet, it can be fully charged in two and a half hours. When fully charged, the C-Max Energi can travel up to 21 miles on electric power alone, with a top speed of 83 mph when using electric power only. When the batteries are depleted, the C-Max Energi's gasoline engine kicks in.
Reviewers like the C-Max Energi's projected charging time, travel distance and speed using electric power, but not all of them were able to match those projections in real-world driving. Ford estimates that the C-Max Energi will get 108/92 city/highway MPGe, or mpg-equivalent, in a mix of electrified and gas-powered driving.
- "Just four miles into our trip up that road on a full charge, the Energi was begging off electric mode and engaging the engine. According to the Energi's display, at the top of the pass the battery was completely spent despite the gas engine's help, showing zero range left in reserve. The Energi reported that six miles of electric range was recovered on the trip back down the hill." -- Car and Driver
- "And charging was easy. Even a regular electrical outlet in a circa 1970s garage charged this car up, albeit over a slow seven hours for a full charge. It was much faster, though, at a dedicated, 240-volt charging station, where a full charge took just 2.5 hours." -- Associated Press
- "Plug it in - Ford says the Energi can get a full charge overnight on a household 120-volt outlet - and the C-Max Energi can putter around on electric power alone for substantially longer than a C-Max Hybrid. Encounter a highway on-ramp or merging situation and the engine will likely fire up to lend a hand. (That illustrates a key difference between a plug-in hybrid and an extended-range electric vehicle, like the Chevrolet Volt. The latter's EV range allows for full acceleration with minimal engine usage.)" -- Cars.com
- "These tests also showed my real-world electric range coming in around 18 miles, a little short of Ford's 21-mile figure." -- CNET
Handling and Braking
Several reviewers say the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi handles well. Though a few say it doesn't take curves like a sports car, most agree that for the majority of drivers, it handles just fine. The steering gets positive comments, though a few reviewers complain about the C-Max Energi's turning radius, which they think is too wide. Most reviewers don't mention the C-Max Energi's brakes. Braking systems on hybrid vehicles often get poor reviews, as reviewers say they can feel artificial and grabby.
- "Like nearly all current-generation Fords, the C-Max is very nice to drive. The body structure is tight and solid; the suspension has a European, well-damped feel; and the steering is accurate and nicely weighted, although without much feel in this case." -- Car and Driver
- "A wide turning radius makes maneuvering in tight spaces tough." -- CNET
- "Moreover, its steering is delightfully direct and nicely weighted, especially up against the sloppy Toyota Prius. Add to that terrific tiller a firm but compliant ride plus commendably strong brakes and the C-Max's European roots become clear." -- Left Lane News
- "Overall the C-Max Energi is a pleasant car to drive. The stiff, low rolling resistance tires can be a little crunchy at times, but it has a generally good ride and very tidy handling." -- Fox News