The US market is not very accommodating to mini-minivans vehicles as is the case in Europe. However, in 2012, Ford decided to test waters back home with two small hybrid people haulers. In Europe, the models are also offered in conventional gasoline and diesel engines.
However, we don’t expect the conventional engines to set foot in the US. Ford is using these hybrids to halt the Toyota Prius in its tracks as they prepare a more direct and better onslaught with a dedicated hybrid which will debut in 2019. We also don’t expect Ford to bring over the 7-passenger Grand C-Max in the US but expect the mid-cycle refresh on the European models to be carried over to the US models.
2016 Ford C-Max Exterior
The C-Max is built on the same platform as the Focus but it’s taller by a whole 8 inches. Many enthusiasts think that the model looks disproportionate which together with its overall exterior styling are responsible for its poor sales in the US.
Although its competitors are not so much different, they don’t look as weird as the C-Max does. In terms of dimensions, the C-Max is 173.6 inches long, 82.1 inches wide including the mirrors and 63.8 inches tall. At the front, the C-Max looks sleeker and more stylish with its inverted, trapezoid-shaped grille. Flanking it are more chiseled and slimmer headlights and rectangular-shaped fog lights that look bolder compared to those on the outgoing model.
We are not yet sure whether the bi-xenon headlights featured on European models will carry over to the US versions. These headlights offer auto-correcting adaptive lighting. At the back, the tailgate is more refined and will be operated via hands-free “kick-gestures” similar to the Ford Escape SUV. The sides come unchanged compared to the outgoing models.
2016 Ford C-Max Interior
The interior is offered in only two trims i.e. SE and SEL. This is a huge disadvantage since its interior will always be lacking compared to its competitors.
However, the upside is that the cabin is more spacious allowing more room for passengers. The roomy cabin derives its styling from the Focus. It features cleaner and user-friendly controls. Its console and glove box have been redesigned so as to offer more utility.
The most notable features in the cabin include the automaker’s new SYNC system featuring voice-activated 3D navigation system. Other features include an 8.0-inch touch-screen display with a high-resolution and a 10-speaker Sony premium sound system.
Engine Specs and Performance
Under the hood, the 2016 Ford C-Max will have two slightly different drive-trains, a conventional hybrid engine and a plug-in hybrid also known as the Ford C-Max Hybrid Energi.
The conventional hybrid C-Max will feature a 2.0 L, 4-cylinder engine which combine with an electric motor to produce 188 hp and 129 lb-ft of torque. Power is channeled via a CVT system. The electric motor derives its power from a 1.4 kWh lithium-ion battery and from regenerative braking. On the other hand, the plug-in hybrid also features the 2.0 L, inline 4 engine and is mated to a CVT transmission.
The plug-in has a more elaborate motor which derives its power from a 7.6 kWh lithium-ion battery which the automaker claims can power the car for 19 miles on electric power alone. Further, the Energi features a 120 V charger that recharges the battery in around 5 hours. There is an option for a 240 V charger that can recharge the battery in only 2.5 hours. Once its battery is depleted, the Energi operates like a regular C-Max Hybrid.
Things take a dreadful turn when it comes to fuel economy numbers. Already, Ford has been sued for inflating fuel economy ratings. Previously, the automaker had estimated the C-Max hybrid to return 47 mpg on both city and highway drives but this has been downgraded to 45 mpg city and 40 mpg on highway.
Price and release date
The price of the 2016 Ford C-Max is not particularly exceptional. The base model’s price is close to that of the base model of the Prius. But since the C-Max is only offered in two trims, the price does not rise as high as that of the Prius.
We believe Ford should consider offering a more luxurious hybrid as there is a group of buyers who look for something more in a hybrid beyond the fuel savings. Specifically, the SE trim has an MSRP of $ 24,545 while the SEL starts at $ 27,545.
The most obvious competitor is the Toyota Prius V; the Honda CR-Z will also pose some threats to the 2016 Ford C-Max.