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2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid Review

The 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid ranks in the middle of the wagon class. It has quick acceleration, a well-built cabin, and low total ownership costs, but it has less cargo space and fewer safety features than some rivals.

Pros & Cons

  • Refined cabin materials
  • Roomy seats
  • Peppy acceleration
  • Small cargo hold
  • Fewer safety features than some rivals
  • Worse fuel economy than other hybrids




Critics' Rating: 8.2
Performance: 8.3
Interior: 8.1
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.1
Safety: 9.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid Overview

Is the 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid a Good Used Wagon?

Yes, the Ford C-Max Hybrid is a good wagon that offers a nice mix of fun and practicality.

The 2018 C-Max Hybrid has several strengths:

  • Quick acceleration
  • Great fuel economy for a wagon
  • Roomy, handsome cabin

But it has a couple drawbacks:

  • Small cargo hold
  • Not as fuel-efficient as other hybrids

Check out the 2018 Toyota Prius and 2018 Ford Fusion Hybrid before you make your decision.

Compare the C-Max Hybrid, Prius, and Fusion Hybrid »

Why You Can Trust Us

Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to make car shopping a breeze. You'll find everything you need to know about this vehicle in our comprehensive Ford C-Max Hybrid review. It combines concrete data (like predicted reliability ratings, crash test results, and cargo space dimensions) with professional evaluations from 41 automotive sources.

U.S. News & World Report has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. We care about cars, but we care more about providing useful consumer advice. To ensure our impartiality, an independent party handles our advertising, and our editorial team doesn’t accept expensive gifts from automakers.

How Much Is the 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid?

Based on listings for the 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid on our site, the average price is $19,400, which is well below average for the class. Prices range from $14,000 to $25,000 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid Cost to Own?

The 2018 C-Max Hybrid’s five-year costs for fuel, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be around $19,180, or $3,836 per year. Those are some of the lowest costs in the wagon class.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New C-Max Hybrid?

Ford discontinued the C-Max Hybrid after the 2018 model year. Because of that, 2018 is the newest model year on the market.

Ford introduced this hybrid wagon for the 2013 model year. Most shoppers will want to stick with a 2016 C-Max or newer. For 2016, Ford replaced the much maligned MyFord Touch interface with the more straightforward SYNC 3 infotainment system. The C-Max Titanium trim replaced the SEL for 2017. Otherwise, there have been no major changes since 2016. You could save thousands of dollars with an older model.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 C-Max Hybrid »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 C-Max Hybrid?

J.D. Power gives the 2018 C-Max Hybrid a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Read more about C-Max Hybrid reliability »

2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid Recalls

At the time of writing, there are no recalls for the 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid.

See more information on Ford C-Max Hybrid safety recalls »

Which Used Ford C-Max Hybrid Trim Is Right for Me?

The C-Max Hybrid is available in two trim levels: SE and Titanium. Most shoppers will want to step up to the Titanium for the added tech and comfort features. A panoramic moonroof and navigation are available in both trims.

If you’re interested in a plug-in hybrid variant (PHEV), check out the Ford C-Max Energi. You’ll have to buy used, though, as Ford discontinued that model for 2018.

  • Ford C-Max Hybrid SE: The entry-level SE trim comes with a 4.2-inch display, a USB port, a six-speaker stereo, satellite radio, Bluetooth, cloth upholstery, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, and Ford’s MyKey. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, the SYNC 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, and another USB port are available, as are rear parking sensors, a power liftgate, leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats, and a 10-way power-adjustable front passenger seat.
  • Ford C-Max Hybrid Titanium: Titanium models come with all of the available features listed above, minus the power liftgate. It also has proximity keyless entry, push-button start, remote start, HD Radio, and a nine-speaker stereo. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, front parking sensors, parallel park assist, and a hands-free liftgate are available.

See 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid trims and specs »

What Does Ford's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Ford offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 80,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Ford extends the original new-car powertrain warranty to seven years from the original sale date or 100,000 miles. These vehicles also get a one-year/12,000-mile limited warranty after the original three-year/36,000-mile new-car warranty expires. Each Ford CPO vehicle must pass a 172-point inspection. Additional benefits like vehicle history reports, towing, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Ford warranty page carefully.

Ford does not have one of the better CPO programs among affordable carmakers. According to our analysis, Chevy, GMC, Honda, Kia, and Mazda all have better programs.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the C-Max Hybrid?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid the top rating of Good in four crash tests and the second-highest rating of Acceptable in the driver-side small overlap front test.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the C-Max Hybrid an overall safety rating of four out of five stars. It received five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover evaluations.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera
  • Ford MyKey (lets you do things like set limits on speed and audio volume for secondary drivers)

Available advanced safety features:

  • blind spot monitoring
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • front and rear parking sensors
  • parallel park assist
  • rain-sensing windshield wipers

See C-Max Hybrid safety scores »

2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid or 2018 Toyota Prius?

The 2018 Toyota Prius is a compact car. However, this hatchback is a more fuel-efficient hybrid than the C-Max. Both vehicles have similar cargo space with the rear seats up, but the Toyota has more room with the seats down. The Prius has more standard safety features too. On the other hand, the Ford has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto availability, more horsepower, and more rear-seat space for passengers. On average, buying the Ford costs around $4,500 less than the Toyota. Choosing between these two hybrids is a matter of preference. For a Toyota plug-in hybrid, or PHEV, look to the 2018 Toyota Prius Prime.

Which Is Better: 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid or 2018 Ford Fusion Hybrid?

The 2018 Ford Fusion Hybrid is a good midsize car. It’s a sedan rather than a wagon, but it has spacious seats, agile handling, a gentle ride, and more available safety features than the C-Max. Both cars have the same engine, but the Fusion Hybrid has slightly better safety and predicted reliability ratings, and it beats the C-Max Hybrid in fuel efficiency. The Fusion is the better pick.

Compare the C-Max Hybrid, Prius, and Fusion Hybrid »

2018 C-Max Hybrid Performance

How Does the 2018 C-Max Hybrid Drive?

The gas-electric powertrain and continuously variable automatic transmission provide brisk acceleration from a stop. Passing on the highway is a cinch too. However, the four-cylinder engine drones under heavy acceleration.

The C-Max Hybrid feels poised around corners, handling less like a wagon and more like the 2018 Ford Focus hatchback on which it is based. The ride is comfortable too. Like many hybrids, the C-Max uses regenerative brakes, and they can feel a little grabby or awkward to drivers new to these systems.

  • Powertrain: 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor with a combined 188 horsepower
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
  • Transmission: electronic continuously variable automatic (E-CVT)
Does the 2018 C-Max Hybrid Get Good Gas Mileage?

The C-Max gets phenomenal fuel economy for a wagon, though rival hybrids are thriftier.

  • 42/38 mpg city/highway

Read more about C-Max Hybrid performance »

2018 C-Max Hybrid Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 C-Max Hybrid Seat?

This wagon seats five people in two rows. The front and rear seats have gobs of head- and legroom, and even taller occupants should have a nice amount of space. The cabin features quality materials and handsome styling.

Standard seating features:

  • cloth upholstery
  • 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat
  • leather-wrapped steering wheel

Available seating features:

  • leather upholstery
  • 10-way power-adjustable front passenger seat
  • heated front seats
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid?

This vehicle has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the rear middle seat. The lower anchors are set deeply in the seats, and the ones behind the front passenger seat can be difficult to maneuver around. Because of that, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this setup the second-lowest rating of Marginal for ease of use.

2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid Features

The base infotainment system can be tricky to operate, but the available SYNC 3 interface is much more intuitive, and its touch screen can be controlled with smartphonelike gestures such as swiping and pinching.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 4.2-inch display, a USB port, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and a six-speaker sound system
  • Available infotainment features: the SYNC3 infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, dual USB ports, HD Radio, a nine-speaker stereo, and navigation
  • Additional standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Other available features: proximity keyless entry, push-button start, remote start, and a panoramic moonroof

See Ford C-Max Hybrid specs »

Read more about C-Max Hybrid interior »

2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid Dimensions

Ford C-Max Hybrid Cargo Space

The C-Max Hybrid has 24.5 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and a total of 52.6 cubic feet behind the front seats. Both figures are below average for the wagon class. A power liftgate and a hands-free liftgate are available.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid Length and Weight
  • Length: 15 feet, 6 inches
  • Curb weight: 3,640 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Ford C-Max Hybrid Built?

Ford built the 2018 C-Max Hybrid in Michigan.

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