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Ford C-MAX

Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
Ford's newest minivan is scheduled for a US release in Fall of 2011, but you most likely will see it at auto shows soon. Talk about the C-MAX here!

Detroit 2011: Ford CMAX Seven-Passenger Wagon Coming to America

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  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    It looks pretty similar to the Mazda5, except with the flip-n-fold 2nd row 3rd seat (like they've had in Japan on the Mazda5 for years). Hopefully the C-Max will have better MPG than the Mazda5. One thing I noticed in a Car and Driver review was the fact that with the 3rd row folded there was only 25CuFt of cargo space behind the 2nd row, while in the current Mazda5 there's 35CuFt behind the 2nd row. One problem with most Ford cars is that they're not very space efficient as compared to other vehicles of similar size.
  • Ford C-MAX are the perfect combination of style and flexibility.It's good comfort and advanced technology.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    I like the technology improvement over the Mazda5, but not the reduced cargo space. And it sounds like the MPG won't be that much of an improvement over the Mazda5.
  • Any one knows when Ford is going to launch this and when its going to be at dealerships?
  • squintysquinty Posts: 1
    Because we are used to the extreme comfort and versatility of our 1996 short-body Dodge Caravan we are excited about seeing both this vehicle and the new Prius wagon, BUT, IF THE DRIVER'S COCKPIT LIMITS THE RIGHT KNEE SPREAD BY A HIGH-WALL SHIFT HOUSING, IT WILL BE NO MORE COMFORTABLE THAN THE MAZDA5!! The available pictures make it look like it's too late for this comfort issue. We'll be deciding on a replacement vehicle within the year, and the winner will be the one of this size and flexibilty that provides mpg+driver comfort!! VW SportWagen maybe?? We'll see. FORD DESIGNERS, HELP!!!
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    I had hoped that the C-Max would come with a 3-row option (I wished the Prius V did too!), but I guess there's little US demand for it. As two row vehicles, both the Prius V and C-Max have greater cargo and passenger space as compared to a regular Prius, but both cost more. A lot of the extra passenger space in the C-Max is in height, so unless you're really tall, having a lot of extra space above your head may/may not be significant to you.

    More importantly may be the hip and legroom, so that's why you really need to test drive, as well as test drive to really compare the driving differences. Then to me there's the reliability issue with the C-Max as being a first model year, as compared to a Prius whose line has been around for ages.

    Personally I'd wait a year before buying a C-Max and let others work out the bugs. I bought a used Prius for about $13K that I've had for a few years now without problems.

    If either the C-Max or Prius V came out with a third row option I might be interested, plus I'd like to see the next generation Prius that will be out in 2015. My Prius is Gen II, as I never liked the dash "flying buttress" center console of the Gen III, plus the Gen II seemed more solid inside. I consistently average in the upper 40s MPG with the Gen II Prius and space-wise it fits my needs 95% of the time (the other 5% of the time I wish I had a little more space and a third row)
  • I sat in a C-Max yesterday. I didn't have time for a test drive but at 6'4" I was very comfortable. Looking forward to driving one.
  • nklbnklb Posts: 1
    I test drove a base model SE the other day. Overall impression was positive, but there were a significant number of little quirks.

    Some distinct likes and dislikes:


    -lots of acceleration power; feels almost sporty

    -less road noise than prius (and the prius is pretty good on that front)

    -analog speed gauge!

    -seating is incredibly comfortable; slightly more-so than the prius

    -hidden storage compartments under passenger floormats are pretty nifty

    -built-in 115V house-style power outlet

    -ability to restrict a 2nd key to, for example, not be able to use the radio or limit max speed; great for teenage drivers


    -braking was EXTREMELY touchy. Some of this may be due to it being brand new, but having driven equally new Prius models that didn't feel that touchy, I'm not so sure. So touchy that it was almost difficult to do a smooth stop.

    -Rear compartment has a large carpet "hump." Kinda awkward to imagine loading heavy/large cargo in this vehicle due to this, but it is definitely VERY roomy. (There is a storage compartment hidden under this, but I personally would rather see the bumper up at the same level as this like in the prius)

    -on base model, right screen can only display leaves or compass. Almost useless. (Other package options add more functionality)

    -not on the model I tested, but apparently the sunroof DOES NOT OPEN!

    -lack of places to set items down. Sure, the glovebox is roomy, but sometimes it's nice to have a place to just set some paperwork or whatever small purchases down. The base model has a very tiny area in front of the radio screen, but adding ANY options to the car and this is replaced with controls.

    -hybrid system gauges are somewhat difficult to interpret and not NEARLY as intuitive as the prius. With some getting used to, they display even more information, but it definitely takes more effort to interpret.

    -Mainly an aesthetic issue, but why did they put gear indicators next to the shifter that are just painted on and don't indicate the gear? You have to look below the speed gauge to see what gear you are in; will be easy to get use do with some time, but I kept finding myself looking at the painted letters next to the shifter itself and being annoyed that they were non-functional (they don't even line up with the driving mode you are in!)

    -When I asked about how easy it is to get at the spark plugs to change them, the salesperson said "good luck with that" and indicated that Ford does not recommend self-service due to the high-voltage cables running throughout the engine. I don't know how much truth there is to that, but it was something of a turn-off for the sales guy to be saying. The engine compartment was in fact rather busy looking, and at a quick look I was not sure how to do basic servicing that is usually pretty obvious, other than changing fluids which appeared to be all easily accessible. (The Prius' engine compartment is simple by comparison)
  • rcizmercizme Posts: 16
    As for braking .. If you've been driving a Prius, you've not had anything close to performance braking (not that tha C-MAX has performance braking, either) but Toyota has yet to nicely bring together Hybrid technology and solid feeling brakes.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited October 2012
    No FWD hybrid will EVER had anything close to performance braking. Find yourself a RWD hybrid (Infinity?) if you want traditional braking feel and functionality.

    Plus...RWD hybrid braking ONLY would add substantially to wintertime stability.
  • I test drove the next model up, an SEL with Navi and the MyFordTouch as well as the pano sunroof (you're correct it doesn't open but we have that also on an '08 smart fortwo coupe and you would be surprised how much more opne the cabin feels with it. We also own a '12 Nissan LEAF and are used to regen brakes; they do get some getting use to but with the energy they recapture it's worth it. The C-Max rides very quietly as well as some acceleration (spun the tires a bit too easily but it was wet pavement with leaves). We liked it a lot but will wait for the plug-in version (Energi) to see how much extra space is lost to the extra capacity battery (Ford says that can get you 21 miles on pure electric)
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    With the price difference being about $4,000 between the Energi & Hybrid C-Max, do you know if the math will add up, if you're already getting 47MPG with the hybrid.

    Also, since you have a LEAF, can you estimate your dollar per mile cost for driving the LEAF? Is there some sort of energy counter on the charger, so you can tell how many KWHs are being used per month to charge the LEAF, and then can extrapolate that amount from your electric bill to see the true electric cost.

    From what I've read online, $.04 per mile is about the cost per mile for the LEAF, but I wonder if people are prorating their entire electric bill to determine that cost? So if the total KWH used for a month was 1500 and 500 KWHs was from the LEAF, if the total electric bill was $150, then you'd have to say $50 was for the LEAF, since that includes the taxes, transmission costs, etc... for the LEAF's 1/3 of the electric bill. You couldn't just look at a $0.07 per KWH cost and say the LEAF only cost $35 for that month instead of $50. So that's what I mean about the total electricity cost.
  • On the extra cost for the plug-in C-Max Energi; also remember that it's eligible for a $3,750 fed tax credit (the LEAF and Volt had $7,500 fed tax credits due to their larger batteries) so using your math it's 'only' $250 more but it's actually more than that if you want to add back in a few more options that some folks would want, the Energi does start out mostly as the higher end SEL but some things are still extra. I did do some calculations based on my split driving between two ICE cars, a Miata and a Routan minivan that the Energi could replace and to recoup the savings would take about 4 years unless gas prices exceeded $5/gal.

    On the LEAF, your listing of the $.04 per mile translates to a $.12 utility charge per kWh (national average) as well as the car getting only 3 miles per kWh. For me, living in a 4 season climate, I've averaged 4.7 kWh (has been as high as 5.7) per mile (the LEAF shows this on the dash as well as you can access it online) and my fixed electricity rate (through next April) is only $.066 per kWh so it's only $.014 per mile so my daily 30 mile commute costs me $.42 per day versus $7.875 for something that gets 16 MPG on $4.20/gal mid-grade gas (required for the minivan) or $4.285 for the 28 MPG Miata on regular $4/gal gas. As far as the other costs for electricity, the distribution, administration fees, etc. are not variable in our area so I can look at just the incremental costs and have used prior bills to get ballparks figures on how much extra the LEAF costs me and it's not much -- some folks have separate meters from the utility as well as devices that will measure how much the 'charger' takes but these are such small amounts I haven't bothered. As my commute is more than the 21 mile electric only range for the Energi it would be a mix of EV and gas use so makes the calculations more difficult.

    I'm a bit more concerned over how much storage space the Energi loses; it's stated at 5 cu. ft. but from one photo it looked like the liftover under the hatch would be much higher so we'll see when it comes out. I also should mention that our family has 4 cars and 3 drivers so my calculations for the Energi assumes dropping two gas only cars and using the Energi just myself which wouldn't necessarily be the case as my wife has a shorter commute and uses our LEAF the most (at least currently) and may switch her over to the Energi as her commute could be full under electric power. Many LEAF owners have a Prius or Volt as well and I would think that some could add/trade for a C-Max as it offers more utility -- which model depends on your driving patterns, etc. but if you already have an L2 charger (which we do) it does make it more convenient to go for the Energi.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    The C-Max Energi MSRP price is $29,200 after the $3,750 rebate as compared to the $25,200 C-Max Hybrid or $4,000 difference in price after tax incentives.

    And I'm still a little confused on how you're calculating the cost of electricity for charging the LEAF. You said, "as well as the car getting only 3 miles per kWh. For me, living in a 4 season climate, I've averaged 4.7 kWh (has been as high as 5.7) per mile."

    You used 3 miles per kwh and then said you averaged about 4.7-5.7 kwh per mile, so is it miles/kwh or kwh/mile? It can't be both. I'm assuming it's miles/kwh because 5 kwh/mile for 30 miles at $0.066 = $9.9, but then if you're saying the car's computer calculated that the 30 mile trip used 6 kwh that would be $0.396 for the 30 mile trip, which makes more sense.

    Also, are you just using the car's estimate of a kwh per mile and then just multiplying that by the kwh generation charge on your electric bill? If so, then to me that's really underestimating the true cost. The car is only estimating the kwh usage per mile, as it's based on driving conditions, driving style, etc... Sort of like using a car's MPG computer estimate, it probably reads higher. That's why with a gas car, you reset your trip odd, fill up, and then calculate MPG manually, not based on the trip computer.

    Then if you're only using the cost per kwh as a multiplier that seems off too. So you're saying that no matter how much electricity you use, the distribution cost is the same. So if you use 2000 kwh one month and the next month go on vacation and use 100 kwh for the month, the distribution cost, taxes, fees, etc would all be identical?

    In our area of Ohio, distribution costs are about 25% of the electric bill and then when you add in the fees, taxes, etc, so about 2/3 of the cost is generation and the rest is distribution, taxes and fees based on the usage. That's why to me, the only way to accurately determine the cost of charging the LEAF would be to have some sort of meter on the inverter going into the LEAF adding up all the kwh flowing into the LEAF. Plus even if the LEAF's computer indicates it only used (for example) 20 kwh to drive 100 miles, when you plug the LEAF into your house it probably will take more than 20 kwh of electricity to fully recharge the LEAF's battery.

    So to me that's why I think a $0.04/mile is a more accurate cost of the amount of electricity versus the $0.014 that you're using because you have to not only prorate (for most people at least) the cost of transmission, taxes, fees, as well as the true kwh used to recharge the LEAF, as compared to the LEAF's computer calculated usage. It's still probably costing you less than the average person to charge your LEAF, but I just think it's more than $0.014 per mile.

    A LEAF after tax credits still costs about $5,000 more than a Prius, so even if we split the difference between $0.04 and $0.014 per mile and say it costs $0.027 per mile that would be a cost of $270 for 10,000 miles driven for the LEAF as compared to $800 to the Prius (at 50mpg & $4.00/gal gas) or $1,250 for a Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, Focus, etc averaging 32mpg at $4.00/gal.

    So a LEAF will save $530/year compared to a Prius and $980/year compared to a Fit/Versa/Etc. The MSRP of a LEAF is $35,500 ($28,000 after tax incentive), the Prius $24,500 and Fit/Versa/Etc about $16,500, or about $3,500 more than the Prius or $11,500 more than a Fit/Versa/Etc.

    You'd save about $1,000 per year on gas as compared to a Fit/Versa/Etc, or about an 11 year payback, or about $530 per year as compared to a Prius, or about a 6.6 year payback, but considering the size and capability of the LEAF, it would compare more closely to a Fit/Versa/etc sized vehicle.

    You're right in that every situation is different and it depends on the vehicle you're replacing or if you're deciding to buy or not to buy. For me, I already own a Honda Fit (commuter/around town car) and Prius (family road trip car), both about 5 years old, so in comparing a Fit to the LEAF. If I were to replace my older Prius, the C-Max while an option, doesn't have significantly more cargo room (25CuFt vs 21CuFt) and costs more than a regular (not "V") Prius. The calculation between a plug-in or regular Prius or C-Max gets more complicated because it's hard to measure the plug-in home charging savings vs the thousands of dollars in up front cost.

    There's a lot of factors when comparing cars, but electric cars and especially plug-ins have made the comparison much more difficult. I've been thinking about this a lot, so sorry for the long post of me trying to wrap my arms around all this.
  • Whoa ... lots here so let me qualify a bit.

    It is 4.7 miles/kWh @ $0.066 rate so $0.014 per mile, some folks out west have solar on their roofs so they actually sell back electricity to the utility but that's a whole 'nother calculation based on solar panel costs, etc. My utility (as most others) will show you a comparison of what you used the same time prior year but of course with temps, etc. being different things can vary a bit. I've checked a few months and I've averaged about 750 miles driven per month and the extra electric cost fluctuates between $10 and $12 (so between $0.0133 an $0.016 per mile driven) depending on the weather (cooler months you get better mileage); trying to detail that any further, some states will give you a separate meter (at homeowner expense) but with the low rates and usage its not worth it for me --- remember mine is fixed no matter what time of day I charge it (although I typically would have it timed to turn on during off peak hours); I've heard some off-peak rates much lower than $0.066 -- some as low as $0.015!! so as always, just like gas mileage it will vary.

    Also, in the case of IL, our IL EPA has a 10% MSRP cash rebate on EV's so it was another $3,750 off as well as a 50% rebate for the L2 charger in our garage -- with a trade-in of a 6 year old Mazda3 hatch my out of pocket (before taxes, license fees) was about $17K. Plus remember, the LEAF is a full EV so no gas engine related maintenance (my first 6 months was just a free tire rotation, at 1 year they inspect the battery and another tire rotation).

    By the way, not sure if you knew it but Honda is offering a lease only Fit EV as well ... small numbers but they've chosen to test the waters on full EV's that way versus others like Nissan and Ford who will offer them nationwide.

    We love our LEAF and driving a second car capable of going a full commute in EV mode (some speculate that Ford's estimate for the C-Max Energi plug-is very conservative at 21 miles) would mean driving M-F without ANY gas required as well as having the range with one of these cars to go much further -- the caveat being the reduced cargo room for the extra batteries (in the C-Max Energi) so we'll see.

    Right now, just like the early cell phones, full EV's as well as plug-in hybrids ARE more expensive so some will wait for early adopters. After taking into account that my state was offering incentives I took the plunge and plan that when my '12 is 10 years old all I'll need to do is refresh the battery pack and drive it for another 10 years without ever needing a drop of gas (at much less cost and hassle than replacing an engine in an ICE car)! As long as I can keep the road salt off it we should be fine --
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    Thanks for the info. I'll probably wait a few more years to get a better idea of the reliability. Most ICE cars can go well over 100,000 without any major engine problems. Of course with any car you may need to repair electrical, AC, transmission, etc...issues. I know people at my work who drive 20 year old Corollas or Civics as commuter cars because they're so reliable that even after 20 years they're on the same engine/transmission. After 20 years they've spend $20,000 in gas commuting as compared to zero with the LEAF, but if the LEAF costs $10,000 more up front then you're down to $10,000 in savings and I'd still wonder about the total maintenance/repair costs of the LEAF vs a Corolla/Civic or Fit over the same 20 year period. I guess I'm just not an early adopter! Maybe when the price goes down some more, we get "smart" meters that charge you less at night and I get more comfortable with the reliability, then I might take the plunge.

    On another is the LEAF in the winter with respect to heating the cabin? Does this suck up a lot of kwh? Also, are you a "hypermiler" or do you just drive pretty much like normal?
    To me something like the LEAF would be good for the long term...
  • Agree that getting a used car avoids the depreciation, etc. but unless its a classic, etc. I confess I usually buy new. As far as winter, my '12 model has heated seats, front and rear as well as a heated steering wheel so we try to use that to supplement the heater (they draw next to nothing off the battery). The main heater will use a fair amount of 'juice' if you leave it on too much but as the car warms quickly you can cycle it ... remember that an EV has no 'waste' heat like a gas car so they work a bit harder; interestly enough, running the A/C uses less energy than heating it. We keep it comfortable but I do monitor the range when it gets real cold ... last winter was fairly mild where we are so didn't have to do that much. We can also 'preheat' the car (via an iPhone or the web) so you start off with a warm car and end up using the main heater even less.
  • hofhof Posts: 15
    As far as I can tell, Ford doesn't offer a back-up camera on the C-Max Hybrid SE model. It is part of an option package on the SEL and the Energi though. It looks like both of those cars use the same Sony head unit/Display that is the MyFordTouch upgrade stereo on the SE. Is it possible to add a Backup camera to this stereo? If so, how would you order it, and what would it cost?
  • and someone who may try to do exactly that.

    1 - Camera (19G490) $379.92
    1 - Camera Mount Bracket (19H421) $ 31.80
    1 - Camera Module (19H405) $257.58
    1 - Nut (HN1) $ 4.00
    1 - Screw (HS1) $ 8.00

    link title
  • hofhof Posts: 15
    Thanks, Early
  • dweiserdweiser Posts: 288
    Only had my C-Max SE two days now but so far I LOVE it!! It's a very comfortable ride, visibility is very good, everything (including doors closing) seems to be of good to high quality. I traded in my 2009 Honda Fit Sport which I liked a lot and which gave me 33 to 34 m.p.g. for 3 years. The C-Max seems much more refined and even the SE comes with things like Bluetooth. I like Hondas and once owned their Insight which I HATED! This C-Max is my first American car in 30 or 40 years.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    I have an '07 Fit right now. Does the cargo area behind the 2nd row of the C-Max seem much bigger than that of the Fit behind the 2nd row? The Fit is rated at 21CuFt and the C-Max at 24CuFt. Also, how much more roomy do the rear seats seem in the C-Max? I won't ask about MPG because you just bought it. Fuel Economy .gov has 5 drivers reporting an average of 39mpg vs the EPA average of 47mpg, but it will be a year before accurate "real-world" mpg figures come out.
  • dweiserdweiser Posts: 288
    The cargo area behind the upright rear seats seems about the same to me in the C-Max as in my 09 Fit but it may be a bit larger/wider. I'm waiting for the rear tray to come in to haul some things to the dump/recycling center. I'll have a better idea when I do that. Sorry but I haven't even sat in the rear seats yet but looking in at the rear bench seat it doesn't look bigger than the Fit but it must be because the Fit seats 4 and the C-Max seats 5. Sorry I wasn't able to help more. I'd say the ride is the biggest difference I've noticed. Low scores for the long braking distances and the turning radius is truly HUGE after the Fit. I owned a Honda Insight and I HATED it but I'm liking this C-Max a lot!
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    It would be even better of Ford would spend the extra $20 for the valve set that would allow you to run the "A/C" as a heat pump. CHILL the OUTSIDE, not the INSIDE.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    If you are a parent of young children (at least one under 12 years old) who owns the latest model Subaru Impreza or Ford C-Max, a reporter would like for you to fill out a survey, due by December 1, 2012, for use in a print publication. Please email no later than Friday, November 30, 2012 for a copy of the survey.


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  • Just took delivery this week of c max energi w/ all bells 'n whistles. Very impressed w/ handling, performance, build quality etc. Ford seems to have a real winner with this one. Mileage is running about 40 - 42 MPG, and I really don't drive it in the most efficient manner.
    One post mentioned the sensitivity of the brakes, they are excellent in my opinion, good linear pedal travel and a nice firm pedal, easy and very smooth transition from regen to conventional. I got used to them in a few hours of city driving and this is the first EV I've ever owned or driven. Another was concerned about lost space due to the larger battery, it really doesn't amount to much unless you want to stuff it full from from floor to ceiling. I'll run it for a few months to give it a good breaking in and report back on mileage etc.
  • 204meca204meca Posts: 370
    As the owner of a 2011 Honda Fit base the CMax sounds like a winner & I am partially wishing I had waited for the CMax. I appreciate these early posts, especially comparing the CMax to the ICE Fit & also the Leaf. Some of you are quite the math pros!

    Regarding real world mileage I noticed that the Edmunds testers said their CMax Hybrid mileage was about 10 mpg less that that the EPA 44. I assume the car was not fully broken in so that may not be true real world mileage. (from my memory, not sure how accurate that is).

    In my Fit I consistently get 36-38 mpg in mix driving.(driven conservatively but not a true hypermiler style). I will be closely following this forum to see how the CMax stacks up as owners get more miles & experience with their new CMaxes.

    Thanks & please keep the information coming!
  • dweiserdweiser Posts: 288
    I don't think you should have any regrets owning a Honda Fit. I had mine for 3 trouble-free years and averaged 33 m.p.g. all on short trips to town in the mountains of western, NC. The Fit has better brakes (shorter stopping distances) and tighter turning circles. Having said that I really like my C-Max SE. More later as I gather more miles & experience with it but the other day I got up to 52.5 m.p.h. on battery alone on a straight country road doing the speed limit. Combined mileage on these short drives (lifetime) I make is 37 m.p.g. but I have seen 50+ m.p.g. Outside temps seem to make a difference; cooler weather keeps the C-Max from going to 100% battery sooner. Even if I don't ever get (and may not) the claimed 47 m.p.g. it's still a very nice riding and driving vehicle with many tech extras (Bluetooth) the Fit didn't have. Loved my Fit so will try to be objective.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    A reporter is looking for people who have shopped or bought either a Prius V or a Ford C-Max hybrid as an "alternative family car." If you'd like to share your experience, please send and e-mail to by December 10, 2012.


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  • Davemco3, how much you paid for your fully loaded C-Max Energi?
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