2014 Ford C-MAX


By Steve Kursar –

2014 Ford C-MAX

2014 Ford C-MAX

The 2014 Ford C-Max is a new alternative to the compact crossover that’s popular with small families looking for an economical way to haul everyone around town.  Smaller than typical minivan, the C-Max is available in either a hybrid configuration or as a plug-in electric model. Either way, this mini-minivan will save you time and money at the gas pump.

Ford stopped selling minivans here about ten years ago when they abandoned the Windstar nameplate.  But around the same time that Ford was saying goodbye to the minivan in the U.S., they were introducing a smaller version in Europe that they called the C-MAX.  Known as “people movers” in Europe, these vehicles are smaller but more fuel-efficient than their larger American counterparts. And as gas prices continue to rise, American consumers look for ways to bus around the kids and the dog without burning a hole in the family gas budget.  Maybe the C-Max is the answer.

At a glance, the Ford C-Max looks pretty similar in shape to your run-of-the-mill minivan.  But park it next to a new Toyota Sienna or a Honda Odyssey, and you immediately see the difference. The C-Max looks like a kid’s size version of Mom’s car.  But you’ll be surprised just how roomy and comfortable the C-Max can be.  It doesn’t have a third row, but the second row is spacious and it folds flat when you need the space.  The instrument panel has something Ford calls SmartGauge with EcoGuide, which can actually teach the driver how to maximize fuel economy on every trip.

The C-Max comes in two models, both using battery power as a way to enhance fuel economy.  The C-Max Hybrid, with a base MSRP of $28,485, is powered by a gas-fueled 141 hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that combined with both an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack delivers almost 190 horsepower.  Fuel economy is expected to top 45 mpg in both city and highway when the new EPA estimates are released shortly.

For about $4,500 more, you can step up to the C-Max Energi, which has a larger battery pack plus a plug-in feature that allows you to recharge the car’s batteries either at home or at an increasingly larger number of electric car charging stations scattered throughout metro Houston and beyond. Depending on your daily commute, you could drive using little or no gas.  It might just be the way we all drive in the future.