Recall Alert: 2013-2014 Ford Fusion, Escape, C-Max, Lincoln MKZ

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Vehicles Affected: About 42,972 model-year 2013-2014 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans, and Ford Escape SUVs and C-Max Energi and Hybrid vehicles

The Problem:The vehicles' seatback frames do not comply with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards, according to the Detroit News. Certain driver and front passenger seatback assemblies may have been produced with substandard welds joining the seatback recliner mechanism to the seatback frame. This could increase the risk of injury in a collision, the newspaper reported. No crashes or injuries have been reported as a result of the faulty frames.

The Fix: Dealers will replace the seatback frames for free. Ford has not yet listed an owner notification schedule.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Ford at 866-436-7332 for more info.

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By Matt Schmitz | April 7, 2014 | Comments (0)

Ford C-Max Solar Energi Concept at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show

Front

Looks like: An accessorized C-Max Energi
Defining characteristics: Solar panels atop the roof
Ridiculous features: A solar-magnifying canopy the car has to sit under
Chances of being mass-produced: There's potential; Ford plans real-world feasibility testing

What's a petawatt? It's a unit of energy equivalent to 1 billion megawatts or 1 million gigawatts (yes, Doc Brown used real units). And Mike Tinskey, Ford's director of vehicle electrification, says 174 of them hit the Earth each day in the form of solar energy. Toward that end, Ford wants to collect some of that energy with 1.5 square meters of solar photovoltaic panels atop the C-Max Energi. Witness the solar-powered adaptation of the plug-in hybrid that went on sale in fall 2012: the C-Max Solar Energi Concept.

The concept's flexible, high-density silicone solar panels come courtesy of San Jose, Calif.-based SunPower Corp. — and those panels harvest 50 percent more density than conventional solar cells, Ford claims. Still, the cells alone won't charge the C-Max Energi to its full battery, which enables up to 21 miles of the electric vehicle's driving range.

By Kelsey Mays | January 2, 2014 | Comments (3)

How Can I Improve Fuel Economy in the 2013 Ford C-Max?

"I have had a 2013 Ford C-Max for four months and am getting about 37 mpg. How does one manage to get over 40 mpg? Use little brake? Keep heat low? Buy premium gasoline? I would appreciate any advice and convincing that I did not make huge mistake to not buy a Toyota Prius as originally planned."

Alina

By Rick Popely | November 3, 2013 | Comments (18)

Recall Alert: 2012-2013 Ford Focus EV, 2013 C-Max

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Vehicles Affected: Approximately 22,000 model-year 2012-2013 versions of the Ford Focus electric car and model-year 2013 versions of the Ford C-Max hybrid and C-Max Energi electric crossover.

The Problem: The Detroit News is reporting that Ford is recalling the above vehicles equipped with push-button start because they don't emit an alert when the driver's door is open. Not only is this functionality a federal safety requirement, it also prevents drivers from accidentally leaving their key fobs in the car.

The Fix: Ford dealers will modify the vehicles' software to ensure an audible door chime sounds if the driver's door is open.

What Owners Should Do: Ford has not provided an owner notification schedule. Owners can call Ford at 866-436-7332 for more information.

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By Jennifer Geiger | October 15, 2013 | Comments (1)

EPA to Update Procedures to Keep Up With Industry

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In the wake of Ford lowering the EPA combined city/highway mileage by 4 mpg for the 2013 C-Max Hybrid, the EPA plans to hire some 40% more employees to audit gas mileage and revamp its rules on what needs to be tested.

Amid Complaints, Ford to Drop C-Max Hybrid to 43 MPG

Chris Grundler, who directs the EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality, told USA Today the agency will "update general-labeling regulations" — the crux of the issue for the C-Max rerating.

The EPA elaborated Thursday in a press release: "Developed in 1977, EPA label regulations allow, but do not require, vehicles with the same engine, transmission and weight class to use the same fuel economy label value data, since, historically, such vehicle families achieve nearly identical fuel economy performance." As we reported in a 2012 investigation, carmakers can voluntarily rerate cars — which, for example, Toyota does with its Prius variants, according to USA Today. But they don't have to.

By Kelsey Mays | August 16, 2013 | Comments (0)

Ford to Reimburse C-Max Owners For MPG Discrepancy

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At a press conference this afternoon, Ford announced it would reimburse current owners of model-year 2013 C-Max vehicles $550 for a 4-mpg difference in its EPA combined city/highway mileage. Lessees will receive $325. Further updates for the 2014 C-Max could raise mileage beyond 43 mpg, which applies to the 2013 C-Max only.

Ford says it voluntarily rerated the 2013 model because the current car matches the Fusion Hybrid's mileage under the EPA's "general label rules." Raj Nair, Ford's group vice president of global product development, told reporters those rules date "back to the 1970s, and they were created by the EPA as a general means to provide fuel economy labels without having to test every single vehicle in the industry." Most cars are rated using this rule, Nair said.

As we reported in November 2012, that policy allows the EPA and automakers to rate cars with common weight and drivetrain characteristics under the same mileage label — but it can be problematic, as in this case where "combining sedans like the Fusion Hybrid with crossover utility vehicles like the C-Max hybrid under a single, general label could result in anomalies," Nair said.

By Kelsey Mays | August 15, 2013 | Comments (3)

Amid Complaints, Ford to Drop C-Max Hybrid to 43 MPG

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Ford will lower EPA mileage on the C-Max hybrid to 43 mpg in combined city/highway ratings — a drop of 4 mpg compared with today's 47-mpg rating. The automaker will announce full details at a press conference later this afternoon, and we'll update you as more information becomes available. Citing two unnamed sources, the Detroit News reported the matter minutes ago. EPA rules allowed Ford to issue the same rating for the C-Max as it did the Fusion Hybrid because the two cars had family similarities, the newspaper reports, but the decades-old procedure doesn't suit hybrids as well.

Loopholes and Fuzzy Math: The Tangled Science of MPG Ratings

The move comes amid a string of criticism. Consumer Reports said in December 2012 that its fuel-economy tests rendered mileage in the high 30s for both the Fusion Hybrid and C-Max. The same month, a California law firm filed a class-action lawsuit that claimed real-world hybrid mileage for the C-Max fell well below EPA numbers. However, one Cars.com editor achieved the stated EPA mileage on the C-Max in his commute, and we logged mileage in the low-40s over more than 100 miles of testing.

By Kelsey Mays | August 15, 2013 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid

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Ford is recalling 33,021 model-year 2013 versions of the C-Max Hybrid crossover due to a structural issue that poses a safety risk, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The affected vehicles were manufactured from Jan. 19, 2012, through June 25, 2013, (check your vehicle's build date on a sticker on the driver-side doorjamb) and are not equipped with a panoramic sunroof. During testing, it "exceeded a head injury criteria requirement set by the standard. Thus, these vehicles fail to conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 201, 'Occupant Protection in Interior Impact,'" NHTSA said in a statement. This increases the risk of an injury during a crash. "Ford is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to this non-compliance," the automaker said in a statement.

Ford will notify owners beginning Aug. 19, and dealers will install energy absorbers between the headliner and the roof for free. Owners can call Ford at 866-436-7332 or NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 for more info. 

Related
Research the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid
More Safety News
Check Out Other Recalls

By Jennifer Geiger | July 29, 2013 | Comments (4)

Ford Hopes Focus EV Price Cut Sparks Sales

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If you've noticed automakers like Nissan, Honda and GM reducing the prices of their electric vehicles in recent months, then Ford's plan to slash the 2014 Focus EV's price won't come as a shock. Despite Ford's insistence that it would not follow suit, the Detroit automaker is now wooing mainstream buyers with a $4,000 discount on the EV for 2014, according to the Detroit News.

The new base price for the Focus EV is $35,995, including a $795 destination charge. That's down more than 10% from the previous base price, though still more than $6,000 costlier than the Nissan Leaf, the newspaper noted. A $7,500 federal tax credit knocks the price down to $28,495, including destination; in California, an additional state tax credit takes the price down another $2,500.

By Matt Schmitz | July 11, 2013 | Comments (0)

Cars.com's Issues With MyFord Touch

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The news today that Ford is rethinking its capacitive touch-heavy MyFord Touch multimedia system isn't a shock to our team of editors. Since we first tested it in a 2011 Ford Edge there has been a nearly unanimous cascade of criticism from our team.

Ford to Add More Physical Buttons to MyFord Touch

"While there's plenty to like about the 2011 Ford Edge, its electronics remind me of my not-so-smart phone: bedazzling in theory, befuddling in practice," editor Kelsey Mays said in that first review. "A number of editors got behind the wheel, and the verdict among them was unanimous: MyFord Touch needs a lot of work, and it's worth sticking to an SE or lightly equipped SEL trim to avoid it."

That was in January 2011, a year after Ford introduced MyFord Touch to raves prior to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Our disdain has carried on to the most recently upgraded system found in the redesigned Ford Fusion. "The Sony system is busier with many more capacitive buttons — none of which feature an audible click or send a pulse of feedback through the panel to confirm you've actually achieved the desired result of your finger pressing," said Managing Editor David Thomas in his review.

By David Thomas | June 17, 2013 | Comments (1)

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