2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid Performance

#6 out of 9 in 2013 Wagons

$9,006 - $9,778

2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid was new.


Performance: 7.8

Though reviewers are generally positive about the performance of the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid, especially its acceleration, a few complain that its ride can be harsh and that its brakes are grabby and tough to modulate. On the other hand, they say that the C-Max Hybrid has good handling and drives more like a conventional car than a hybrid.

  • "Because it starts with superior underpinnings derived from the Focus, the C-Max Hybrid offers a reasonably satisfying driving experience, too, although exhilarating isn't the superlative we would use in describing acceleration." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "If you're considering a Prius or Prius V but are dreading a driving experience marked by ersatz steering, an ATM-like dashboard, and a spongy throttle, the C-Max has arrived just in the nick of time." -- Car and Driver
  • "Your grandmother, still tooling around in a 2002 Mercury Topaz, could drive the C-Max Hybrid without instruction (try that with a Prius)." -- Autoblog

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid combines a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor for a combined power output of 188 horsepower. An electronically-controlled continuously variable transmission (CVT) sends power to the front wheels. Most reviewers say that the C-Max Hybrid, unlike most hybrids, has good acceleration, though none call it particularly powerful. They say the CVT works well and the transition between gas and electric modes is smooth. A few wish that the C-Max Hybrid allowed the driver to force the vehicle to stay in electric mode for as long as possible, like the Prius v does.

  • "Moreover, the 188-hp combined output of the system produces a lively throttle response and a distinct kittenish growl from up front." -- Car and Driver
  • "From the driver's seat it's easy to forget the C-MAX's hybrid status. Yes, there's a healthy hit of electrically-assisted torque off the line, and with the throttle on the mat the 2.0-liter and CVT transmission combination quickly hits a high note and stays there, but mainly the C-MAX simply goes." -- Road and Track
  • "When traffic opened up, I was able to give the accelerator a good squeeze and found that it wasn't lacking in the power department. Now, 188 combined horsepower isn't a ton, but it's more than enough to get the little MPV up to speed." -- CNET
  • "Another issues is that the C-MAX has no button to engage an electric-only mode. While the car can use its electric motor to go up to 62 mph, there is no way to enforce that propulsion system, like in the Prius." -- AutoGuide.com
  • "Motoring up steep, prolonged inclines, the C-MAX certainly wasn't a rocket ship, but it also never wanted for power or sounded uncouth. In comparison, the Prius V that Ford had on hand droned harshly up the same hills, feeling out breath for much of the way." -- Left Lane News

Alternative Fuels/Charging

Ford says the 2013 C-Max Hybrid can travel at speeds up to 62 miles per hour on electric power alone, though most reviewers say they weren't able to achieve that feat in their tests. The C-Max Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 42/37 mpg city/highway, which is better than what the Prius v gets. The C-Max Hybrid has a range of 540 miles on a single tank of gas, which is 90 miles more than the range in the Pirus v.

  • "While Ford says the vehicle will do more than 60 mph in pure EV mode, our right foot must have been simply too heavy - each time we'd give a bit more throttle, the combustion powerplant would kick-in to lend assistance (while there was nothing particularly wrong with the engine's near-seamless involvement, we'd like a demonstration of 55-plus mph pure EV highway travel to see what we were doing incorrectly)." -- Autoblog
  • "There's nothing extraordinary in the spec box to explain the C-MAX's responsiveness, save for the combined power rating of 188 bhp. The 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle DOHC 4-cylinder wings out 141 bhp on it's own with the electro-machinery doing the rest." -- Road and Track
  • "In electric mode 62 mph is possible, although we imagine the car heading from west to east across the downward sloping plain of Kansas with a mighty Chinook tailwind." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "With the SmartGauge set to its Empower mode (displaying the fuel economy, power output of the hybrid system, and cutoff point where accelerator pressure would cause the C-Max to switch out of EV mode), I found it easy to keep the hybrid in its EV mode for the first few miles as I dodged tourists on bicycles and overly aggressive pedestrians." -- CNET

Handling and Braking

When it comes to handling, most reviewers say the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid does better than the Toyota Prius v. The say the C-Max Hybrid is stable through turns, with limited body roll and a slightly firm ride. However, a few reviewers say that the ride may be too firm for some buyers, especially over rough urban pavement. Test drivers are divided on the C-Max Hybrid's brakes, with some calling them overly grabby and others saying they're just fine.

  • "The steering is firm and connected with a strong on-center feel, and the body stiffness is outstanding. Bumps get soaked up and dissipated in the stout structure, the rolling and pitching by the tall body are tightly damped, and the brakes are activated via a firm pedal." -- Car and Driver
  • "The C-Max Hybrid's worst trait is the stilted way it took bumps on the Ventura Freeway. At speed, the car's corpulence is too evident. We wish it could weigh 1250 pounds less, but it doesn't. Never mind that the Prius v drives almost robotically." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Extra ballast is rarely cause to celebrate, but there's no denying the Ford has a more substantial feel as we're going down the road. It's a quiet, respectably smooth ride, too, though alongside the Prius, which floats along in compliant bliss, you might find the C-Max choppy at times." -- Edmunds
  • "Around town, the brakes were a bit touchy and awkward." -- Autoblog

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