Ford C-Max Makes a Crowd of Compact Minivans
Soon you can choose from 3: the Mazda5, Toyota Prius V and the new Ford hybrid.
In the U.S., the Mazda5 had been the only car to offer sliding doors and 6-passenger seating in a low-riding, elongated body. Then the 5-passenger Toyota Prius V came out last year, offering a 44 mpg city rating and traditional rear doors. Now, Ford is bringing over the popular European-market C-Max -- but only as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid. The goal, of course, is to create a hybrid-only model line, just as Toyota is doing with its new Prius c subcompact and Prius Plug-in.
Ford wants you to know that the C-Max Hybrid, which will retail for $25,995, is priced about $500 less than the Prius V. The C-Max Hybrid will use higher-performance lithium-ion batteries and put out 188 horsepower, compared with the Prius V's 134 horsepower and nickel-metal-hydride cells. Ford's hybrid will also operate at up to 62 mph in electric mode, similar to the Kia Optima Hybrid. (Toyota hybrids cannot drive much faster than 25 mph on their batteries alone.) The plug-in C-Max Energi will go on sale after the hybrid, for a price closer to the Prius Plug-in's $32,000 sticker.
While it may seem like a stretch to call these cars minivans, their high grilles, long windshields and tall roof lines certainly stick out from average crossover territory, much like the outgoing Mercedes R-Class. In Europe, the Prius V -- renamed the Prius+ -- seats a minivan-worthy seven passengers, while the slightly larger Grand C-Max also seats seven.
Among the fun features are Ford's automatic parking system, a power liftgate that can be opened with a kick under the bumper, and an improved MyFord Touch infotainment display.
Ford has not released EPA estimates or specific details about the hybrid system other than a Brake Coach, a dashboard helper that probably will encourage more drivers to ride the brakes for no reason. The Focus Electric, Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid are also scheduled to debut this year.
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