2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid: Family Checklist


The 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid just might be a near-perfect car for small families of three or four.

This hybrid hatchback makes efficient use of its available space, and it's packed with handy features and storage options galore. I particularly loved its ability to squeeze into countless parking spaces while never feeling compact inside. As a car, the C-Max Hybrid impressed me in many ways, but as a hybrid — not so much.


Gripes can certainly be made about the fuel-economy numbers the C-Max Hybrid delivered (or rather, didn't). It gets an EPA-estimated 47/47 mpg city/highway, but I averaged 34.3 mpg during my test drive. The SmartGauge with EcoGuide has leaves that grow as you drive efficiently and multiple information screens with eco-friendly information, which all come off as rather gimmicky. But because of the many ways the C-Max Hybrid jelled with my family, the underwhelming fuel economy wasn't a deal breaker. After a week with the car, I didn't have to fill up at the gas station and that was enough for me. I'm not a hypermiler, so higher fuel-economy averages can likely be achieved with the C-Max Hybrid's 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that's paired to an electric motor.


2013 Ford C-Max Car Seat Check

Removing hybrid expectations, this hatchback is enchanting. There's something magical about its low floor height and high roofline combo. There's plenty of headroom and great visibility to all sides, and most importantly, it's easy to get the kids strapped into their car seats without straining your back or banging your head on the roof. My 2-year-old was a big fan as well. She loved climbing into the C-Max Hybrid independently, but what was even better for her was the low belt line and high seating position. She was perched so high that she could see out the window at all times.


The C-Max Hybrid proved to be quite the workhorse. I packed into it three folding tables, six folding chairs, a menagerie of serving ware and a box of decorations for a baby shower I hosted. On the way home, I added the mother-to-be and all of her loot. Not only did we have room to spare, but I loaded the car all by myself without breaking a sweat thanks to the C-Max Hybrid's optional power liftgate and the low cargo floor. Disclosure: I did remove my daughter's child-safety seat to fold the rear seats and use the entire cargo area. With as much as I was able to pack in, a jaunt to the local warehouse store will pose no problems for the C-Max Hybrid either.


Hidden storage compartments found under the backseat's floormats and cutouts in the cargo area's sides were clever storage solutions that squelched most opportunities for in-car clutter. My inner neat freak couldn't have been happier.


My daughter has been asking about the C-Max Hybrid since the test drive ended, and I've been catching myself talking it up with my friends and family. It may not be the best hybrid out there, but not many cars have proven to be as family friendly as the C-Max Hybrid was for us.


2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid Review
2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid: Car Seat Check
More Family News


Ronald Kramer

An open letter to Ford from a customer

I thought my 2013 C-MAX would be a Prius Killer? NOT! As a returning Ford buyer I feel deceived. I want to support US companies and US jobs. What was Ford thinking when they published 47/47/47 estimates? Based on the advertised EPA estimates, I would have been OK with low 40’s...but 28-33 mpg is not even in the ballpark.

This is not an issue about EPA testing standards, but rather an issue about setting false customer expectations in order to promote sales. Ford’s “47MPG” marketing campaign tarnished what should have been the roll-out of a truly remarkable vehicle, the CMAX.

Real-world MPG estimates should have been promoted in the mid-30’s. No one would have questioned those numbers and the CMAX would have received the accolades it deserves. How these MPG estimates made it through Ford corporate is beyond me! Maybe it was the rush to go to market?

I have been accused of not knowing how to drive hybrid. For the record, during the last three years I have leased both a 2010 Prius and 2010 Honda Insight Hybrid, and consider myself an experienced hyper-miler.

My mileage in the Prius is 50-plus, the Insight is 40-plus. The C-MAX is a well-built car, with extremely inflated EPA estimates. I respectfully request that this matter be investigated as soon as possible.

My efforts to deal with this locally and through Ford customer service have frustrated me to no end. The constant response? “You need to learn to how to drive a hybrid type of vehicle.” Is there a difference how I drive Prius Hybrid vs. the CMAX hybrid? I think we all know the answer to that. I need someone at Ford to reach out to me and assist in a proactive manner so we can put this matter to rest.

Ronald Kramer Yankee Ford Customer
South Portland, Maine

J Waldo

Mr. Kramer is simply wrong. This IS an issue with EPA testing standards. For the most part, EPA does not conduct the mileage tests. Manufacturers do, to EPA specifications or protocols. (The EPA conducts spot checks every year.) The EPA-spec tests take place inside, on dynamometers, under conditions intended to replicate both highway and city driving. There's no snow, no rain, no cold, etc. In short, all the driving conditions are simulated. Ford, like all manufacturers, followed the EPA protocols in testing the C-MAX and the EPA accepted their results -- as the agency does with all other manufacturers.

Mr. Kramer also seems unaware that the EPA mileage figures are the ONLY ones car makers are permitted to use in their advertising, strongly suggesting that this is not a case of Ford deliberately misleading the public.

EPA figures should only be used for comparison purposes. Why? Because, as the EPA itself indicates -- your mileage will vary.


Mr. Kramer has posted this very same “open letter” to Ford on every Internet site discussing the C Max that he can find.
I would argue that ANYONE who truly cares to get great gas mileage in their Ford hybrid will be able to do so, but you do have to use the right driving techniques; this does not mean you need to hold up normal traffic in any way what-so-ever. No one would ever accuse me of being a slow driver.
I have driven (2) 2010 fusion hybrids and (1) 2013 C Max for thousands of miles, I have NEVER averaged under 37 mpg on any trip and mid 40s are more the norm.

Roy Cole

I bought one this week. You have to drive VERY conservatively to get high mpg. It's not something that one knows how to do on the first test drive--the problem with the review above. Happily, the car can teach you how to drive correctly :).

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