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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid

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Expert's Rating


MPG 42 City / 37 Highway
  • Excellent fuel efficiency
  • Quicker than most hybrids in its class
  • Good handling
  • Smooth ride
  • High-quality interior
  • Limited cargo space
, Automotive Editor -
Ford now has an all-new compact hybrid in its lineup that's fiercely competitive with the best in its class.


An all-new addition to Ford's lineup, the 2013 C-Max is a hybrid-only compact aimed at delivering efficient operation without sacrificing passenger room. At 47 mpg in both city and highway driving, the C-Max certainly lives up to its aspirations of economy. It's spacious too, with generous headroom and chair-like seats that give it the feel of a compact SUV. Even with the rear seat up, the hatchback bodystyle provides more cargo space than a large sedan, so there's no problem with luggage and other family gear. But it's not to be confused with a small crossover or even a wagon, despite its tallish appearance. The C-Max is simply a passenger car that makes the most of every available inch.

At the heart of the C-Max is a hybrid powerplant with a 2-liter four-cylinder gas engine combined with an electric motor. It's the same setup used in the heavier (and more expensive) Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ hybrids. With 188 horsepower on tap, the C-max is one of the fastest hybrid you can buy at any price. Zero to 60 mph takes about 8 seconds. That might not sound all that impressive, but it's about 2 seconds quicker that most of its competitors, a significant difference that really shows in daily driving.

The interior of the C-Max looks smart and modern, as you would expect in a new-for-2013 model. The quality and fit of materials shows a major effort by Ford to match or exceed the best interiors in this class. The tall cabin really opens up with optional panoramic sunroof, which looks and operates like it belongs on a much more expensive car.

Buyers have a choice between standard-issue SE and upscale SEL trim levels. The SE is equipped with most popular comfort and convenience features, plus some goodies you might not expect on a base model such dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and Ford's Sync voice-activated electronics interface. Moving up to the SEL gets you heated leather seats (front only), a power driver seat, fog lamps, heated side-view mirrors and more. SEL models can also be equipped with luxuries such as a nine-speaker Sony sound system, a rearview camera and an automatic-opening tailgate. Parking your SEL is a breeze with the optional front parking sensor and automatic parallel parking system.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid
Starting price

2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid SE

Recommended for: Buyers seeking economy of operation and price

The C-Max lineup starts with the SE model, which can hardly be considered base in this class of car. Standard equipment includes 17-inch machined aluminum wheels, power windows and locks, a height-adjustable driver seat, automatic dual-zone climate control, integrated blindspot mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a six-speaker sound system with CD player and iPod/USB connectivity. The C-Max SE also comes with Ford's Sync voice-activated electronics control system with Bluetooth phone compatibility. Major options include a panoramic power sunroof, remote start, a power lightgate with rear parking assist, and a Winter Package consisting of puddle lamps, heated seats and heated power sideview mirrors.

2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid
Starting price

2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid SEL

Recommended for: Buyers who want some luxury and technology with their efficiency

Stepping up to the SEL gets you a range of extra features: leather seats, heated up front; a power driver's seat; keyless entry and push-button start; fog lamps; heated mirrors; ambient lighting; and Ford's MyTouch customizable touchscreen display. The MyTouch interface includes hybrid-specific gauges, additional Sync services and satellite radio.

What really sets the SEL apart is the availability of several features that might surprise you in a car of this size and price point. The Premium Audio and Navigation Package adds a nine-speaker Sony sound system with HD radio and a navigation system. There's also a Hands-Free Technology Package with rear backup camera and power tailgate that opens automatically when you swipe your foot under the rear bumper. If you order those two packages, you can also add the Parking Technology Package, which includes front parking sensors and an automatic parallel parking system.

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