Many drivers see the benefits of owning an electric car, and would happily take the plunge if they didn’t have to worry about limited range issues potentially leaving them stranded someplace far from the nearest electrical outlet. Another concern is facing an inordinate period of waiting before the car is sufficiently charged to get them going once again. A good compromise is a plug-in hybrid like the 2015 Ford C-Max Energi. Offering a range of 20 miles on electricity alone, but also having a gasoline engine on board to keep them going should the electricity run out, the Ford negates range anxiety while still offering the benefits of electric car ownership. For similar advantages at a lower price point, Ford also offers C-Max Hybrid.
2015 Ford C-Max Hybrid/ C-Max Energi Quick Spin Review
The truncated ovoid shape of Ford’s C Max is designed with maximum utility in mind. Unmistakably a contemporary Ford product, the car’s main grille identifies it a member of the Ford family of fine automobiles. The corners of the front of the car contain the lighting instruments swept back into the front fenders enabling them to provide forward illumination as well as side marking at night. The fast windshield, leads to a high roof, suggesting a spacious interior despite the relatively small overall size of the car. Four doors and a hatchback maximize the utility of the available space. Speaking of which, with the rear seat folded, C-Max is good for 52.6 cubic feet of cargo, 24.5 with the rear seat deployed.
The Ford C-Max Energi uses a hybrid powertrain consisting of a 2.0-liter normally aspirated inline four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable transmission paired with an electric motor to produce a total system output of 188 horsepower to feed the front wheels. The electric motor draws its power from 7.6 kWh battery pack. Because the plug-in C-Max Energi uses a larger battery pack than the C-Max Hybrid (1.4 kWh), it’s rated to be good for a range of up to 20 miles on electric power alone. According to Ford’s specifications, a full recharge from complete depletion takes 2.5-hours using a 240-volt charging station. If all you have is 120-volt outlet, you’ll be looking at five hours. The hybrid gets its battery pack recharged purely from regeneration. The plug-in C-Max Energi’s fuel economy is rated at 40 miles per gallon city, 36 highway, and 38 combined. C-Max Hybrid is rated at 42 city, 37 highway, and 40 combined.
Standard safety features include ABS, traction control, stability control, front airbags, front side airbags, a pair of full-length side curtain airbags, and a knee airbag for the driver. Ford’s 911 Assist will call for emergency assistance in the event of an airbag deployment—if paired to a compatible smartphone. Parking sensor arrays and a rearview camera can be had as options on upper trim level models. NHTSA gave C-Max four out of five stars for overall protection. IIHS ranked C-Max “Good” (its highest rating) in all tests except the small overlap frontal test—in which the model scored “Acceptable”.
Pricing and Features
For 2015, C-Max Hybrid starts at $24,170, while C-Max Energi starts at $31,770. Standard features include alloy wheels, keyless entry, automatic headlights, blind spot mirrors, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, Ford’s Sync voice command system, Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming, and smartphone application integration. Options include a rear parking sensor array, a self-opening power liftgate, navigation with traffic information, and self-parking (parallel only).