Ford C-Max: A Review

Last year, just before Thanksgiving, I ordered a brand spankin new Ford C-Max Hybrid. Fresh outta the gate, it’s offering 47 mpg, city AND highway, with 47mpg combined.

I test drove a Chevy Sonic (loved it), a Hyundai Elantra (looks great, interior great, but powered by an anemic hamster with COPD), a Ford Focus (drives great, but cramped inside), and a Ford Fusion (AWE-SOME car)… and Ford C-Max Hybrid.

The C-Max wowed me the most. The promise of gas mileage, an engaging ride, a really nice interior, plenty of room, and what I think are just totally unique looks. The Ford Sync as well. I considered the Sync Touch, but it’s not worth the extra $2,000.

So I ordered mine on Nov 19, 2012. I was told 4 weeks to ship, so I should have gotten it just before Christmas… alas, no.

It didn’t ship till 2 days after Valentine’s Day in 2013. I ordered it in such a combination, no one else had one like me. So it had to be made from scratch, just down the road in Wayne. That’s cool. I’m sorry if you don’t understand that part, but to me, the idea that this car was built just 10 minutes down I-275 from me is just cool.

Mine’s blue. Like really, really blue. The interior is light great and dark grey/not quite black. It is quite fetching, with a strong, yet comfortable fiber. The seats are mushy, but stiff, and possibly a wee bit too short for my long legs, but still quite functional. Every surface I can reach from the driver’s seat is soft touch, except a faux chrome over the stereo bits.

Sync has a bit of a “bad” reputation, and I can see where it comes from. It requires you already have some manner of digital comprehension. You know how to use Windows, and an iPod or Android. The concepts are the same. if you understand these things, then Sync makes sense. if you don’t, then Sync is intimidating and foreign. That’s all. For me, it works perfectly. No real issues. My phone connected lickity split. It understands my voice, and the keys are easy to use, really. They just didn’t design it for those without basic digital literacy.

The ride quality is excellent. I prefer it greatly. It’s smooth, sharp, and only has a mild roll. The tires are not very grippy, so it’s not as good in the winter as an SUV would be. Speaking of the tires… there is no spare. This scares me a bit, but I’m powering through it, but you know I will be pissed to hell if I blow a tire, and cannot get back… and have to ‘call’ a phone number. Duh. Poor forethought on that to all automakers who don’t care if a deaf person get stranded with a blown tire. Be forewarned, Ford…

Now, how about that engine? The 2.0l works extremely well in combination with the electrical engine. It has more power than you’d expect. It does not drive like anything except a car. It merges well, it passes well… it’s extremely pleasant. before this, I drove a Nissan Rogue, with a CVT. The C-Max also has a CVT, and that CVT was excellent… but the C-Max actually is BETTER than the Rogue because it has MORE POWER. It accelerates faster and smoother. It drives like a really nice car. You don’t sense you’re in anything different.

Now, before I launch into  a spiel about the gas mileage… you’ll note this is a splendid review. I really like my C-Max. It was a great great choice. It fits me well. I love driving the thing.

But the gas mileage is no where NEAR the claim. I’m getting around 37.7mpg after almost 3 months of driving it, and 2500 miles. On some trips, you can get around 40… but the average is 37. Why so low?

Ford’s claiming “you have to learn how to drive it” to get 47 mpg. Well, no one has to learn how to drive the old Ford Fusion Hybrid to get it’s advertised mileage, or the advertised mileage on a Toyota Prius. I’m sorry Ford, but you guys made a spectacular car. I LOVE my C-Max… but it’s never, EVER going to average 47mpg to a tank of gas because it can’t do it. And if I have to learn how to drive to get that mileage… then where’s the training to do so?  MPG should match the “average” driver, not some hypermiling expert on a perfect 3 % negative grade test track.

So there you have it: I love my C-Max. I like the 37mpg I’m getting. But Ford, you lied. It ain’t gonna get 47 mpg.

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