Ford started taking customer orders for its upcoming 2013 C-MAX Hybrid last week. The C-MAX goes on sale this fall and is Ford’s first dedicated hybrid car. Ford classifies it as a hybrid utility vehicle and it is similar in size to the Toyota Prius V and Mazda5.

In a press release, Ford claims the 2013 C-MAX will have better fuel economy, performance and functionality than the Prius V. The 2013 C-MAX Hybrid starts at $25,995, which is about $555 less than the 2012 Prius V. Fuel economy figures for the 2013 C-MAX have yet to be released, but the 2012 Prius V earns EPA fuel economy estimates of 44/40 mpg city/highway.

The C-MAX is powered by a gasoline engine and an electric motor tied to a lithium-ion battery that stores the electric energy. A plug-in hybrid version of the C-MAX, called the C-MAX Energi, will be released later this year. The EPA hasn’t rated the C-MAX Energi’s fuel economy yet, but by comparison, the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid gets 35/40 mpg on gasoline and 95/93 mpg-e on electricity.

Ford hasn’t gone into a lot detail about trim levels or standard equipment, but the C-MAX will be available with Ford’s SYNC infotainment system with MyFord Touch that will also display driving efficiency information. It will also be available with a hands-free liftgate that opens by waving your foot under the rear bumper, in addition to active park assist, where the car parallel parks itself with minimal input from the driver. Utility-wise, the C-MAX has in-floor storage compartments and second-row seats that fold flat, allowing for up to 54.3 cubic feet of cargo space. With the rear seats in use, there is 24.5 cubic feet of cargo room available. Safety features include seven standard airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag, as well as standard traction control and roll stability control.

As with the 2012 Ford Focus Electric, the C-MAX Energi will likely be initially launched in select markets only. Car and Driver says, “Ford will ship the Energi only to its electric vehicle–certified dealers—the same ones trained up on the Focus Electric.” More information about the 2013 C-MAX Hybrid and Energi can be found on Ford’s website.

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