2013 Ford C-Max Energi Review

Jerry Reynolds | December 19, 2012
2013 Ford C-Max Energi Review
Some of you remember that in the later 1960s and much of 1970s, car companies were spending all their time and efforts on more horsepower. Today, the battle is for fuel economy. There are also a lot of car companies trying to come out with a hybrid that can take away sales from the king of hybrids, the Toyota Prius. Ford is aiming directly at Prius with the C-Max hybrid, my review car of the week. My 2013 tester is the Energi model, which is the plug-in version of the regular hybrid C-Max. The Energi will recharge completely in two and half hours if you have a 240-volt supply and it takes seven hours from a regular outlet. On a full charge, the C-Max Energi will go 21 to 22 miles on pure battery power, using no gas at all. Overall range between fill-ups is 620 miles.

Once the battery power is completely depleted, the C-Max goes to hybrid mode, switching between electric power and a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. The Energi comes with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that is smooth and has good acceleration. This combo produces 195-horses.

The 2013 Ford C-Max Energi is a very comfortable car to drive with massive amounts of headroom. Someone 6’5” would fit just fine in either front seat. I have the SEL model which comes with an impressive list of standard features, like leather heated seats, keyless entry, pushbutton start, Sync, and My Ford Touch. You also get reverse sensing system, blind spot monitoring, and ambient lighting. Option-wise, this one has remote start, power liftgate, and rear view camera.

This car drives great, has exceptional visibility, and like all Fords, it is super quiet inside. It handles and corners well, and unlike many small cars, you don’t feel every bump in the road. Now let’s talk fuel economy, since hybrid and electric car owners are most interested in that subject. I can’t recall ever testing a car for gas mileage as extensively as I did this one. The reason is that Ford rated the car at 47 city and 47 highway, numbers which Consumer Reports disputed. I knew I had to get this one right. Their dispute was with the regular C-Max, not the Energi version, so I tested fuel economy two different ways.

First, I checked the full-battery version, coming off a full charge. I drove the car hard, was running the heat, heated seats, radio, and headlights. I got just over the equivalent of 80 miles per gallon. The car would have done 95-100 with no issues, but this was not of great interest to me. From that point, I never plugged it in again, wanting instead to have a true comparison to the Consumer Reports findings. Over six days, I ended up at 44.9 miles per gallon in city and highway driving, and that spans just over 400 miles of driving. In the interest of full disclosure, I never went more than five miles per hour over or under the posted speed limit. I admit too, I was trying to maximize the fuel economy which is easy using Ford’s terrific gauges. I also believe most hybrid owners drive to maximize fuel economy.

Bottom line, it’s a great hybrid, and an overall great car. I could not get the 47 miles per gallon out of it, but it’s a far cry from the 37 stated by Consumer Reports.

What I liked most: The smoothness of the car, and quiet interior.

What I would change: C-Max could use more cargo space, the batteries take up a lot of room.

MSRP: $25,200 on base model, Energi as equipped $35,440.

Fuel Economy: 44.9 overall in hybrid mode, see explanation above.

Warranty: 3 years/36000 miles bumper to bumper, 5 years/60,000 miles on the powertrain, 5 years/60,000 mile roadside assistance, 8 years/100,000 miles on the hybrid equipment and batteries.

2013 C-Max Energi in a few words: Great car first, and even better as a hybrid.


William M.
I am now in my second Cmax. Is it the prettiest car...NO...but it is as good a car as I have ever owned. I had the regular 2014 hybrid first and was going to buy it out of my lease I liked it so much. BUT, when I went to do that, I found I could get the new 2016 Energi after credits and rebates for 21500 instead of the 35000. I did it. I LOVE it. The improvements on the navigation system is worth it plus if we only drive 21 miles each day, I am getting 999 miles to gallion. On trips at 85 miles per hour I am getting nearly 40. Quiet, quick, comfortable. You should update your review from 2013. I think it is the most under rated car on the market...period
Arnie .
I wonder if this explains why dealers seem to have so many used 2013 C-Max cars on hand ?
Jerry .
It was good to talk to you on the air last Saturday. As I stated, I am confident you had a dealer problem, not a vehicle problem. I've not heard anything like this from any other C-Max owners.

You did great getting the Lexus! You'll love the RX, it's awesome. THANKS for listening to the show.

Jerry Reynolds, President
Car Pro Radio Network
Stoddart S.
I had a 2013 Ford C-Max Energi for some two months, and like your review, it performed very well. However, as I understand it, the car has no alternator, and hence depends on the lithium ion battery to charge the 12 volt, which, of course, cranks up the car. So if you only drive the Energi a few miles a day, eventually the 12 volt will drain to the point when it can't initially crank up the car. I had to call AAA twice to get the 12 volt recharged, one time to get it towed to a dealer. The dealer said the lithium ion batter doesn't begin to charge the 12 volt until you drive the car at least 19 miles or so, and that's only to BEGIN to charge the 12 volt. So I sold the car back to AAA at a $8,000 loss. So its't that a soft ware issue where if you plug in the Energi it should also trickle charge the 12 volt? Another dealer really didn't know much of anything about the car. I'm retired and just don't drive that much, so maybe I'm the kind of driver who shouldn't have that car. This is just one person's feedback on the Energi. So the heck with the battery stuff, I bought a Lexus RX350.