2016 Ford C-Max Review

C-Max

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2016 Ford C-Max Overview

Perhaps Ford is trying a little too hard with the C-Max. Its 2016 C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi compact wagons appear to be aimed directly at Toyota’s Prius V and Prius Plug-In duo, and while the C-Max is a handsome and capable car, Toyota has it beat in both cargo capacity and fuel efficiency.

At any rate, the 5-passenger, 5-door C-Max will see some cosmetic upgrades for the 2016 model year. Both the Hybrid and the Energi receive a new grille bordered by sleeker headlights, a smoother tailgate design complemented by a set of slinkier taillights, and slightly tweaked alloy wheels. Inside, there’s a reworked center stack with friendlier knobs and buttons, a slightly larger glovebox, and some improvements in accent materials.

The 2016 C-Max Hybrid comes in the entry-level SE and the up-featured SEL, with the Energi available in a single separate trim. Both wagons are offered in front-wheel drive (FWD) only, and should you be planning to carry much cargo, the C-Max Hybrid returns with 52.6 cubic feet of load space with the rear seatbacks folded and the Energi with a leaner 42.8 cubic feet due to its plus-size battery pack.

Powering the C-Max Hybrid for 2016 will be a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4) that mates with an electric motor to produce 188 hp. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) manages the hybrid electric powertrain’s 129 lb-ft of torque, and the electric motor is powered by both a 1.4 kilowatt-per-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery and regenerative braking. But Ford’s claim that the current C-Max Hybrid is good for 42 mpg city/37 highway/40 combined is under dispute.

The 2016 C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid returns with its 2.0-liter gasoline-fired I4 powerplant, along with the CVT and a more elaborate electric motor powered by a 7.6 kWh lithium-ion battery that Ford claims is capable of carrying the Energi up to 19 miles on electric power alone. The Energi comes with a standard 120-volt charger that will fully recharge the battery in approximately 5 hours, while an optional 240-volt charger will recharge the battery in about 2.5 hours. Once the battery’s charge is exhausted, the Energi operates just like the C-Max Hybrid.

The 2016 C-Max Hybrid trims include new exterior refinements and restyled 17-inch alloy wheels, a standard rear spoiler, and heated power-adjustable mirrors on the SEL. Inside, the hybrid SE offers standard cloth upholstery, full power accessories, cruise control, telescoping tilt-wheel steering, and dual-zone automatic climate control, while the SEL adds leather upholstery, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, rear parking sensors, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

Both C-Max trims feature the next-generation SmartGauge hybrid-dedicated driver information system with an LCD monitor that displays the Engage and Empower modes, allowing drivers to monitor engine and battery power levels, gasoline engine on/off power shut-off thresholds, and regenerative braking efficiency. They also incorporate Ford’s Bluetooth-integrated SYNC infotainment feature and a single-CD/MP3 player with 6 speakers. The Hybrid SEL adds standard MyFord Touch, with an upgraded touchscreen display and enhanced SYNC functions. Features in the C-Max Energi will mirror those of the Hybrid SEL.

Options in the 2016 C-Max are expected to include GPS navigation, a fixed-glass sunroof, remote engine start, a 9-speaker Sony premium audio setup, front parking sensors, and, in the Hybrid SE and SEL only, an auto parallel-parking feature. No significant option upgrades are expected.

Standard safety equipment aboard the 2016 C-Max includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head-protection airbags, turn-signal-integrated mirrors, daytime running lights, and a post-collision safety system. Both the 2016 C-Max Hybrid SEL and the Energi also boast standard front fog/driving lights, SYNC-generated emergency telematics, and a remote antitheft alarm.

Aside from unreliable fuel-efficiency figures, current owners knock the C-max for its meager cargo space and oversized turning radius. But owners tend to like the current editions' eco-friendliness, quiet cabins, and silky ride. Look for the 2016 C-Max to appear in dealer showrooms this fall, competing with Toyota’s well-wrought Prius and Chevy’s nifty Volt, which again boasts about twice the C-Max Energi’s range in all-electric mode.

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Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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