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2017 Ford C-Max Energi Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Ford C-Max Energi was new.


Performance: 7.6

The 2017 Ford C-Max Energi has a satisfactory drive for a hybrid that is similar to its gas-only competitors'. It has agile handling (though its heavy battery can somewhat affect that) and an engaging ride, thanks to its communicative steering. Its acceleration is strong, especially with electric power only, and its gas engine adds extra oomph when accelerating to highway and passing speeds.

  • "The C-Max feels solid and well-planted on the road despite its compact footprint." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Beyond the useful plug-in functionality, the Energi stands out for its driving personality. Like its separately reviewed stablemate, the standard C-Max hybrid, it offers respectable acceleration, a solid and composed ride and remarkably responsive steering. It simply feels better from the driver seat than most other hybrids." -- Edmunds (2016)
  • "The C-MAX Energi drives almost exactly like a regular car." -- Autotrader (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 Ford C-Max Energi has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that produce a combined 188 horsepower. A continuously variable automatic transmission is standard.

Fuel economy estimates for 2017 are not yet available. As a result, the following estimates are from 2016. On a full charge, the C-Max Energi can travel at speeds of up to 85 mph on electric-only power. It has a driving range of 19 miles, according to Ford. It gets a combined 88 mpg-e in electric-only mode. (Click here to learn more about mpg-e.) On a mix of gasoline and electric power, the C-Max Energi gets 40 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. This is less than many plug-in and conventional hybrids, such as the Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius v.

The C-Max Energi delivers quick acceleration, but passing moves will likely require the extra kick that the seamless transition to the gasoline engine delivers. Reviewers note the car's transmission generates a loud drone, which is a common malady of CVTs.

  • "In that frame as an electric vehicle, the Energi offers the kind of immediate acceleration and strong torque that make EVs surprisingly brisk." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Even in full EV mode, the Energi has sufficient power, but the gasoline engine adds a welcome push for passing maneuvers. The one objection here is the intrusive drone of the engine during these moments." -- Autotrader (2016)
  • "Acceleration is strong for a hybrid, and even highway passing isn't the painfully slow process normally associated with hybrids." -- Edmunds (2016)

Alternative Fuels/Charging

The 2017 Ford C-Max Energi can be recharged in seven hours using a standard household outlet. A 240-volt outlet – which can be found at public charging stations or installed in your home – can fully charge the battery in 2.5 hours. According to Ford, the C-Max Energi has an electric driving range of 19 miles on a full charge.

Handling and Braking

The 2017 Ford C-Max Energi has a comfortable, quiet ride. It has agile handling for a hybrid, but its heavy battery can take a toll on that at times. However, the sharp and responsive steering provides an engaging ride. Additionally, it has a regenerative braking system, which helps recharge the battery by utilizing the forward momentum to turn the electric motor and create an electric charge. A frequent criticism of these systems is that they can feel grabby compared to standard friction brakes. Unfortunately, the C-Max Energi is not immune to this criticism. Using the brakes will take some getting used to if you haven't driven a hybrid before.

  • "For a car that prioritizes fuel efficiency, we dare say the C-Max feels playful in corners, at least compared to a Prius. On straighter paths, the C-Max is quiet and comfortable, the latter trait all the more evident for C-Max Energi versions rolling as an EV on electrons only." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The cabin is also notably quiet. … and the communicative steering is another strong point. The Energi is stable through turns, though the weight of the bigger battery pack makes the vehicle a bit less nimble compared to the regular C-Max." -- Edmunds (2016)
  • "Concerning noise, there really isn't much of it at highway speeds. … The ride quality is better, as well, and the confident C-MAX Energi gives the surprisingly athletic Volt a run for its money in handling." -- Autotrader (2014)

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