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2014 Ford C-Max Review

C-Max

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SE Hybrid
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Starting At: $20,975
SEL Energi
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Starting At: $26,238
SEL Hybrid
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Starting At: $19,875

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55 stars

Based on 1 review

I Love It! by gcoleman
 — I will drive for at least a decade! I love the C-max as much as I have any other vehicle that I've owned. I love saving gas and pollution, while still looking stylish and having power within a hybrid.... Read More

2014 Ford C-Max Overview

Overall User Score

5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars55

Based on 1 review

Taking another big leap forward for humankind by initiating a pair of electric C-Max wagons in 2013, Ford's rocky launch means the C-Max isn't yet in a stable orbit for 2014, but at least we have a firm idea on its true range. A spectacle nearing the shock and awe of an Apollo or Columbia launch, the most currently relevant complaint was an apparent difference between the “promise and production” of 10 mpg on the Hybrid and 5 miles of electric range for the plug-in Energi hybrid.

Even so, drivers adore its fun 8-second sprint to 60 mph, modernly solid construction with ample and supportive room for 5 complete with the promise of high technology—and having 43 maximum cubic feet behind its smallest Energi hatch is still very useful, even if comparatively small.

Most of all that debut mess is cleaned up for 2014, though. Ford followed suit with other makers embroiled in similar fueling failures, compensating 2013 drivers and revising economy estimates downward for 2014 alongside several modifications ranging from software updates to more slippery oil in order to bring the current estimates back up toward previous expectations. Otherwise, the C-Max is reportedly unchanged—and that should be just dandy by drivers if those software updates also cover its infotainment systems. No more equipment recalls would be nice, too.

The Energi's electric-only range stays firm at 21 miles thanks to these modifications and some direct collaboration with the EPA, but the Hybrid's economy sticker drops from 47 mpg city/47 highway to 45/40, though Ford admits driving in the sporting manner it is made to handle will result in worse figures. And that's exactly what drivers report—it's really fun to drive, but driving it like a rocket costs more fuel and drops the Energi's electric range to something more like 17 miles.

However, if you drive conservatively, more like say Earth's oldest satellite, Sputnik 1—no air conditioning and no throttle you didn't need—then some drivers report getting the Hybrid's original 47 mpg estimate and sometimes better. The Energi's range is likewise just as flexible with regenerative brakes and a 3-hour recharge on specialized charging stations, or about 8 hours on your standard household outlet. Once that electric range is spent, the Energi is basically your standard C-Max Hybrid, but with a foot-deep battery taking up 10 cubic feet in the back.

Space-age references aside, the C-Max is ample proof that an electric-assisted vehicle need not look and behave so futuristically as to be a stand-out weirdo. Ford promised driving dynamics and an overall experience in the C-Max just like any other of its gas-powered lineup, and by all driver reports, delivered. Unfortunately, that means Ford's troubles with infotainment and navigation systems also carried over—ironically mirroring the Mars Climate Orbiter's issues with accurate and timely GPS calculations. I'm really done with the space stuff, though, promise.

Although there's not much left to say now—everything else should look familiar to those already doing their research. And you should; the dealers got a bad wrap for this debut, too, reportedly being unable to explain pretty much anything. Is it just a great car with bad service? To judge by the droves of largely positive driver reviews and a bit of personal experience with one, very probably yes.

So, as for those carried-over details. The base SE is still offered only in Hybrid form, but the top-shelf SEL offers either setup. The very same 2-liter 4-cylinder engine good for 141 hp and 129 lb-ft of torque powers every trim with the help of an electric motor and a larger 7.6kWh lithium-ion battery in the Energi, which altogether pushes out 188 hp to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT). For the baseline SE entry fee you'll get features like dual-zone automatic climate control and Sync voice-activated infotainment with a 6-speaker sound system and all the usual non-satellite trimmings standard, making it one competitive value.

Updated

Your prototypical "Tom Girl" Patricia got her start digging into Ford engines before she aged into double digits. Gifted with a mechanical mind, her favorite pass-time in the summer is picking up a fixer-up'r at the local public auction and massaging its every ailment until it's primed for a new lover. From dirt bikes to land yachts, every partner offers something truly special in her love affair with the road - just don't tell her husband.

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