Unlike most hybrids on the market, Ford’s compact C-Max hatchback is a “dedicated” hybrid. (So is the popular, long-lived Toyota Prius.) Rather than tucking a battery/gasoline powertrain into an existing conventional vehicle, the C-Max was designed from the beginning to operate on a combination of electricity and gasoline. Thus, no gasoline-engine equivalent is available, and no such powertrain is needed, though Ford does also offer an Energi plug-in hybrid.
What's New for 2016
Except for new color choices, the C-Max Hybrid carries over unchanged for the 2016 model year.
Choosing Your Ford C-Max Hybrid
The C-Max uses the same hybrid powertrain and continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) used in the more expensive Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans, so you need not worry about falling short on performance. The 2-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine is rated at 141 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of torque. Taken together, the gas engine and electric motor produce 188 horsepower, and deliver an estimated 40 mpg in combined driving.
Though its EPA estimates can't top those of its chief rival, the Toyota Prius, the C-Max is significantly swifter and more adept at tackling curves. A C-Max Hybrid can reach 62 mpg in electric-only mode. With its rear seat folded, the C-Max can handle up to 52.6 cubic feet of cargo.
The C-Max is offered in two trim levels:
A fixed panoramic sunroof and remote start are available as single options on any C-Max.
There's a $3,000 difference between the SE and SEL versions, which isn't all that much considering the latter's array of standard equipment. Unless grabbing the lowest price is your primary concern, we think an SEL is the sensible way to go C-Max; but either Hybrid delivers the same energetic performance and thrifty gas mileage.