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Ford C-MAX Hybrid EPA-rated at 47 mpg city, 47 mpg highway; plug-in Energi version offers 85 mph top electric speed

The Ford C-MAX Hybrid (earlier post) is now officially EPA-certified at 47 mpg city, 47 mpg highway and 47 mpg combined (5.0L/100km), bettering the fuel economy of the Toyota Prius v by 3 mpg on the city cycle and 7 mpg on the highway (5 mpg combined).

Ford also announced that the plug-in hybrid version of the C-MAX, the Ford C-MAX Energi, features the a top electric-only speed among all plug-in of 85 mph (137 km/h)—more than 20 mph more than the Prius plug-in, and sufficient easily to keep pace with the flow of high-speed highway traffic even when the EV mode button is engaged and the gasoline engine is off.

C-MAX Hybrid. Ford, which had earlier anticipated receiving a 44 mpg rating for the C-MAX Hybrid on the highway, noted that the certification was significant because it makes C-MAX Hybrid the first hybrid vehicle to offer 47 mpg across the board. Hybrids traditionally have been more economical in city driving than on the highway, unlike conventional vehicles.

C-MAX Hybrid, however, returns the same fuel economy whether driving cross-country or across the city—resulting mostly from a growing list of Ford innovations that have helped the vehicle to deliver metrics such as a top speed of up to 62 mph (100 km/h) in EV mode.

We’ve done this with innovation—represented by nearly 500 hybrid patents—while driving costs down 30 percent so we can bring these fuel-saving vehicles to more customers.

—Ford Vice President of Powertrain Engineering Joe Bakaj

Among the Ford innovations helping C-MAX Hybrid drivers enjoy maximum fuel economy are the patented SmartGauge with EcoGuide that coaches for top fuel efficiency and ECO Cruise, a feature that helps optimize powertrain elements for economical highway travel.

Ford is offering the C-MAX Hybrid with a base price of $25,995, including destination and delivery—$1,300 less than Toyota Prius v. C-MAX Hybrid is currently available for order at select dealerships.

C-MAX Energi. The C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid is equipped with a button that enables drivers to choose an electric-only driving mode. The EV mode button—mounted in the center stack—allows a driver to switch vehicle operation between three modes.

Drivers can opt for electric-only driving without gasoline engine power; normal hybrid mode where the powertrain melds electric and gasoline engine power as appropriate; or a battery-saving mode that reserves the pack power for later use.

  • EV: Auto. In EV: Auto mode, the vehicle automatically takes advantage of plug-in charge, said Kevin Layden, Ford director of Electrification Programs and Engineering. When the charge is depleted, C-MAX Energi operates as a full hybrid. The powertrain computer automatically selects the appropriate blend of battery usage and engine usage based on demand and the state of battery charge.

  • EV: Now. In EV: Now mode, the vehicle operates in EV mode using plug-in power. The gasoline engine will not operate unless an override setting is selected or certain conditions are present such as the accelerator pedal being fully depressed and the driver enabling the gas engine. EV: Now also activates a special Manage EV screen to monitor functionality.

    To achieve the EV range estimate shown on the corresponding gauge, drivers are given coaching cues to maximize EV mode. Additionally, use of climate power and energy gauges will further help drivers manage vehicle energy use.

  • EV: Later. The EV: Later setting saves plug-in power for later use, such as transitioning from highway to lower-speed residential neighborhood use. C-MAX Energi operates in normal hybrid mode, using both gas engine and electric motor. Plug-in power is reserved until the driver switches to the EV: Now or EV: Auto setting.

With a fully charged battery, C-MAX Energi is rated at 195 hp, versus 188 hp for Toyota Prius. C-MAX Energi’s EV mode range is 20-plus miles. Built at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid begins arriving this fall at EV Certified Ford dealers in 19 markets, followed by nationwide rollout in all 50 states in early 2013.



If this is true and reliable, it sounds like a new standard.


Ford may very well have two (2) winners here, if the built in quality and rust resistance is high enough.


It's nice to see the US start catching up with the rest of the world on technology finally. I guess that's the advantage of waiting and not being first though, you can just let someone else do the hard work and reverse engineer their stuff. Very smart to not be first by our American car companies. Those motorheads in Detroit really got it goin' on.

HarveyD America tired of leading or did it just happened with the economic down slide?


I wouldn't be surprised if some of it is the shift from bond sales abroad to "quantitative easing"; QE forces the dollar down and makes US goods more competitive.  Ford saw the writing on the wall and positioned itself to make hay.

I am going to have to test-drive a C-MAX just to see what the fuss is about.

The C-Max has considerably smaller interior volume than the Prius-V. 52 cf vs 62. I think it should rather be compared to the Prius.


Jobe.. Yes, the c-Max has larger external dimensions but smaller interior space than the Prius V. Even the Prius III has more useful internal cab space. So, it would be fair to compare it with the Prius III. If you do, Toyota would be the fuel miser winner 3 to 4 mpg.


It surprises me that the c-max gets as good of mileage as it does with an additional 600 pounds over Prius.


Ford has more efficient engines and drive trains than Toyota.

Henry Gibson

The first automobile with a built in nuclear electric source has now been put in service by its makers within the last few days, It is not known how many miles it will travel on this energy, but half the energy will be gone in 80 years. It will not be found on any US highway or any motorway in any other country. It is an ATV; the new mars explorer. The old explorers had some nuclear heat. ..HG..


On a more earthly note, the Prius V has 7 seats while the C-Max has only 5.

You have to give Toyota credit for that - the two are not really comparable.

On a happier note, it is great to see car manufacturers competing on mpg and electric miles, rather than bph and 0-60.

It is a lot better use of an engineer's time to work on these factors rather than (already excessive) performance.


Toyota will have to combine better smaller engines with lighter weight (body, power train and batteries etc ) vehicles to keep up with Ford. There's a rumor that the new more efficient Mazda engines may be used. Otherwise, Toyota will have to develop their own.

Yes, it is surprising that a 3600+ lbs vehicle gets 47 mpg. Imagine what a 2000 lbs vehicle could do?


The Prius v may be great, but it does not seat seven. Let's give credit to Toyota (and Ford) where it's due, for making some great, fuel efficient vehicles, but let's not give credit where it's not due and exaggerate the differences between the Prius v and the C-max.

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