2014 Ford CMAX Hybrid – Test Drive, Specs, Rating, Price

2014 Ford C-MAX Hybrid

A more practical approach to a hybrid hatchback

Without a doubt, the Prius reigns supreme when it comes to the bare bone hybrid hatchback.  And for  the more luxury inclined, Lexus also offers the up-scaled CT200h.  The Ford C-MAX Hybrid aims to fill in the gap with a more granular set of purchase options at a more relaxed price point.  Even with its lower asking price compared to the Lexus CT200h, you can still expect excellent fuel economy, sports-like handling, an an overall practical car for everyday use.

On the visual perspective, the Ford C-MAX shares some of the design philosophy as the Focus/Fiesta hatchback family tree.  But unlike the more stream-lined Ford Focus hatchback, the C-MAX looks slightly more compressed with a more bubbled roof top.  Up front entails Ford’s signature polygon grille accompanied by another slimmer rectangular grille on top.  Given the shapes and dimensions of the window layout, you can pretty much expect the inside of the C-MAX to feel like a miniature mini-van, or what I would call… a micro-van.

2014 Ford C-Max Hybrid

Ford continues to preserve its quality interior with its interior cabin space.  Although nothing much has changed on the inside for the past few model years, the C-MAX hybrid still offers a premium looks and feel with its quality material and up to date gadgetry.

Powertrain and Performance

Ford is definitely not new to the hybrid game, and you can generally expect good results with the Ford C-MAX hybrid.  Under the hood lies the proven 4 cylinder Atkinson cycle engine coupled to an electric motor producing a combined power output of 195 horsepower.  In terms of fuel economy, the Ford C-MAX hybrid EPA is rated at a combined 40 mpg, which is in the upper scale of what you’d expect from a Hybrid vehicle.  This falls slightly short compared to the Prius at 42 MPG.  Overall, our recorded fuel consumption from normal driving with a mixture of city and highway mileage scored in at 35 MPG.

C-Max Hybrid Powertrain

Coupled to the power output is Ford’s Electronic Continuous Variable Transmission (e-CVT).  CVT transmissions is generally a thrill killer.  One of the more obnoxious features of any CVT transmission is the linear dependency between vehicle speed and engine RPM.  But an exception can be made for hybrid applications.  In the case of the Ford C-MAX hybrid, the electronic CVT transmission is tuned to keep engine RPM’s in the lower range and kicks in only when you need it for lane merges, and climbing steep hills.  The result is a improved ride quality with minimized engine noise and vibration within the cabin space.

Quality and Features

If you’ve ever driven a rental Ford vehicle, you’ll know about the salvaged clothe material used for their seats.  Well worth the extra 400$ purchase option is the upgraded black leather seats that makes a world of difference in both durability and quality.  The Ford C-MAX hybrid makes excellent use of its interior real-estate. Thanks to its bubbled chassis, you get an exceptional amount of head room.

Ford C-Max Lether Inteerior

Driving position offers a sports-like rally-inspired cockpit layout with its elevated steering wheel, and and lowered bucket seats. On the same note, the seats attenuates lateral support in favor of added comfort, which was a good design choice since the Ford C-MAX hybrid never pulls enough lateral G’s to throw you out.  The rear seats still offer adequate seating area, but the height offset and slightly sloping roof in the back does reduce the amount of head room slightly.  And an unfortunate cause to the placement of the on-board battery, trunk cargo space is also compromised with a worsened effect on the plugin Ford C-MAX Hybrid Energi.

Driving Impressions and Final Thoughts

The Ford C-MAX hybrid advertises itself as more of a standard compact hatch back.  But its rally-inspired driving position fools you into thinking the performance in the Ford C-MAX hybrid is more capable than it realy isis.  Unfortunately, its longer wheel base of 104.3 inches and a chassis weight of 3607 lbs usually results in under-steer when throwing the C-MAX Hybrid into a corner.

Ford C-Max Instrument Cluster

But put performance aside, the Ford C-MAX hybrid is an excellent car.  Acceleration is smooth and engine assist is predictable with an overall linear and constant torque response.  We especially liked the Ford EcoGuide user interface system that displays a report of your regenerative braking performance to help you maximize your hybrid performance.

2014 Ford C-Max HybridThe Ford C-MAX hybrid is quite a bang for the buck.  In contrast to the Lexus CT200h, the seating position is much more performance oriented with low and tight bucket seats and an overall, more stream-lined design.  But the CT200h doesn’t offer much more performance than the Ford C-MAX hybrid in terms of acceleration and handling – even with the performance F-Sport model.  Minus the eye-candy, the C-MAX hybrid, gets you more interior freedom with near equal capability in both performance and features.

Our tested model with its purchase options is priced in at $36,414.

 

Specifications

  • Vehicle Type : 5 door hatchback
  • Powertrain Configuration : FWD
  • Seating Capacity : 5
  • Engine : 2.0L Atkinson 4 Cylinder + Electric Motor
  • Transmission : Ford eCVT
  • Horsepower :  141 Horsepower at 6000 RPM (Combined at 196 Horsepower with Electric Motor assist
  • Torque: 129 lb.ft at 4000 RPM
  • Wheelbase : 104.3″
  • Height: 63.9″
  • Additional Features : Fixed panoramic sunroof, remote key start, keyless entry, premium audio & navigation package, power liftgate, parking technology package
  • Price as Tested : $36,414