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#8

in Wagons

MSRP: $32,920 - $32,920
Invoice: $30,699 - $30,699
MPG: 44 City / 41 Hwy
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Ford C-Max Energi Performance

While some test drivers think the driving experience in the 2014 Ford C-Max Energi isn’t very engaging, most agree that it has athletic handling for a hybrid, a firm, but comfortable, ride and strong acceleration. A few reviewers criticize the C-Max Energi’s electric motor for struggling at highway speeds when the car is in EV mode.

  • "The C-MAX Energi drives almost exactly like a normal car. The only real clue that you're in something extraordinary comes in full EV mode, when all you can hear is the wind whooshing past." -- AutoTrader
  • "The C-Max's added weight - nearly 600 pounds - over the Prius should work against it, but we found the car accelerates briskly, loves to play in the curves and delivers a surprisingly comfortable and quiet driving experience." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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 (2013)
  • "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." -- Car and Driver (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Ford C-Max Energi has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that combine to produce 188 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard.

Reviewers say the Ford C-Max Energi has strong acceleration, although some note that the electric motor struggles at highway speeds when the car is in electric-only mode. Some critics point out that the gas engine is noisy when pushed hard.

  • "As for power, the Energi can definitely get out of its own way. That's true even in full EV mode, but the gas engine adds a palpable jolt for passing maneuvers. Our only objection is to the intrusive drone of the gas engine during acceleration." -- AutoTrader
  • "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 (2013)
  • "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 (2013)
  • "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 (2013)

Alternative Fuels/Charging

The 2014 Ford C-Max Energi’s battery pack can be recharged in seven hours using a standard household outlet, or in two and a half hours using a 240-volt outlet. When fully charged, the C-Max Energi can travel up to 21 miles on electric power alone, with a top speed of 85 mph. The car’s regenerative brakes also help charge the battery.

Handling and Braking

Most test drivers agree the Ford C-Max Energi has well-controlled handling and precise, communicative steering. Though critics think the C-Max Energi has a firm ride, they like that it is still comfortable. Automotive journalists think the C-Max Energi has strong brakes with plenty of stopping power.

  • "The ride quality is better [than the Toyota Prius Plug-in], as well, and the confident C-MAX Energi gives the surprisingly athletic Volt a run for its money in handling." -- AutoTrader
  • "We found the C-Max brakes to be quite good, but the brake pedal's position relative to the driver is a bit awkward." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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 (2013)
  • "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 (2013)
Review Last Updated: 1/3/14

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