Air Max 2013 Review
After watching Toyota build itself a solid business with the Prius—more than 136, 000 sold last year in the U.S.—Ford is one Detroit automaker finally getting serious about hybrids. It has plucked the C-Max people mover from its European lineup, given it the twice-over to meet the U.S.’s strangely unique crash standards, and endowed it with a revamped version of the powertrain from the now-defunct Ford Escape hybrid. Two models are headed to dealerships: the C-Max hybrid in September and, a few months later, the plug-in C-Max Energi with a larger battery pack for more electric-only driving.
In Europe, Ford sells the C-Max—it’s basically a tall wagon version of the Ford Focus—with a choice of two gasoline engines and two diesels. But Ford wants Americans to associate the C-Max exclusively with hybrid technology, so the C-Max will come to these shores only as a hybrid, with fuel-economy ratings of 47 mpg in the city and 47 mpg on the highway. Senior engineer John Davis says it’s about building a brand, similar to what Toyota has with Prius (recall that three cars are sold under the Prius name: the familiar Prius hatchback, the wagonlike Prius V, and the compact Prius C.
C-Max Is to Hybrid as Prius Is to, Well, Hybrid
The C-Max’s base pricing is aggressive; the SE starts at $25, 995. The trimmed-up SEL with leather, keyless start, and the MyFord Touch system leaves the blocks at $28, 995. Those prices slot the C-Max between the base Prius and Prius V in an apparent strategy to divide and conquer. Stand-alone options include a bunch of entertainment and convenience packages ranging from $570 to $3080—the latter of which is available only on the SEL and includes a hands-free, motorized liftgate; active parking; a rear camera; and a nine-speaker Sony audio system—an $1195 panoramic glass roof, and a few special colors. Go heavy on the C-Max order sheet, and you can get the price up past $33, 000.