For all the economist assurances in the world, there’s no denying that most of the US is still feeling a rather painful pinch in the pocket. As such, buying a car is one of those things that has become more a case of careful balance and calculation than of pleasure, as everyone tries to work out which models deliver the most bang for their buck.
Hybrids are of course top-picks when it comes to fuel economy, but then again they also cost far more to buy in the first place…thus creating quite the conundrum.
However, the new 2013 Ford C-Max has the very real potential to present the answer to a thousand and one problems and is about as functional as it gets for those not obsessed with form. Which is a good thing really, as the C-Max is certainly not out to win over anyone by looks alone. In essence, what you’re looking at is a Ford Focus that’s been on steroids for a few months and then had a hybrid powertrain transplanted under the hood.
It’s pretty obvious that from nose to tail, the inspiration behind the new Ford C-Max was the Toyota Prius. And understandably so, as Toyota has to date managed to shift well over a million units of the Prius in the US alone and double that figure across the world. Even today, the Prius is still the yardstick for this segment of the auto-industry and therefore a touch of the green-eyed monster from Ford and others is to be expected.
There are two version of the 2013 C-Max on offer in the US – the standard C-Max Hybrid and the plug-in hybrid known as the C-Max Energi. Base prices come in from just over $28,000, but if you want to lavish it with premium audio, power tailgate, GPS and so on you’ll be knocking more on the door of $31,000.
So, is it worth the extra money for good gas mileage?
Debatable – EPA figures for the Ford C-Max come out at 47MPG, though reviews have in many instances argued that in reality it’s closer to the 37MPG mark. And this is a car that’s a good $6,000 more expensive than a top-end Ford Focus with all the trimmings. By Contrast, the gas Ford Focus comes out with as near as makes no difference 30MPG.
As such, it’s a case of whether $6,000 in initial savings makes up for a paltry 7MPG poorer fuel-economy.
It’s worth a thought, but chances are it’s going to prove a pretty hard sell.