Ford Motors developed the C-Car platform as a lightweight, inexpensive template for the automaker’s global fleet. This platform journeys into the hybrid market in the fall with the release of the 2013 C-MAX Hybrid. The C-MAX Hybrid draws heavily from the C-MAX five-seat SUV that recently reached its third generation. Ford has touted the 2013 C-MAX Hybrid as the centerpiece of a broader push for greener vehicles that will include the Focus Electric. The latest marketing blitz by Ford ahead of the vehicle’s fall release draws comparisons with small hybrids like the Toyota Prius.
The 2013 C-MAX Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that doubles as a generator. The engine recharges the battery while propelling the car. Ford incorporated a regenerative braking system in the C-MAX Hybrid capable of recovering 95% of kinetic energy. Drivers can also learn how to maximize regenerative braking by accessing the Brake Coach on the dashboard. The C-MAX Hybrid has been delivered to a handful of dealerships this summer as a preview for the fall release. Ford will produce the C-MAX Hybrid alongside the Focus Electric at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan.
Ford’s flagship hybrid model includes optional features that provide a more dynamic driving experience for consumers. A hands-free lift gate facilitates easier loading and unloading of cargo. An optional parking assist feature uses sensors and a rearview camera that simplify parking in confined spaces. The SmartGauge with EcoGuide is another optional feature that informs drivers about battery level, engine performance and proper driving technique. The 2013 C-MAX Hybrid goes beyond utilitarian design to stay competitive with the next generation of hybrid models.
Comparisons between the 2013 C-MAX Hybrid and the Toyota Prius v show significant advantages for the newcomer. Ford has established a base price of $25,995 for the C-MAX Hybrid, representing a $1,300 discount compared to the Prius v. The C-MAX Hybrid reaches fuel economy ratings of 47 MPG in city driving and 44 MPG on the highway. These ratings are superior to Toyota’s 44 MPG city and 40 MPG highway splits for the newest Prius. Ford also touts a 140kW output for the C-MAX Hybrid system compared to the 100kW output for the Prius v. Ford and Toyota are now engaged in a heated competition for the small hybrid market, which constitutes 65% of the overall hybrid market.
Ford has also unveiled more detail about target demographics for the 2013 C-MAX Hybrid. The automaker estimates that the income gap between hybrid buyers and traditional buyers has decreased from $30,000 to $15,000 since 2007. This statistic shows the intersection of more reasonable retail prices for hybrids and increased consumer interest in fuel-efficient vehicles. Buyers interested in the 2013 C-MAX Hybrid should expect payback on the premium price within two years according to Ford estimates. The payback timetable determines the point where fuel savings catches up with the model’s higher retail price. Ford also expects an even split between early adopters and consumers trading in their primary vehicles for the C-MAX Hybrid.