C-MAX and Fusion Hybrid starting to get bad press

Discussion in 'Ford' started by Paymaster, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    C-max will require less than $100 more on the annual fuel budget (vs Prius v) for the average driver -- not even worth factoring in, really.
  2. Prozac

    Prozac Well-Known Member

    Yes, but the average consumer is only going to look at the MPGs, not what it is truly costing them. They are going to feel slighted and want to take it out on someone.
  3. thunderstruck

    thunderstruck Super Moderator

    It's going to give all hybrids a black eye. People are going to assume all of them get worse that advertised economy. If I had a CMax and it was coming in 10 under, I'd tell my friends hybrids aren't worth the extra money.
  4. mikeb

    mikeb Member

    Interesting that you picked those numbers. The plug-in version of the C-Max, the Energi, was rated at 44/41/43 once it enters charge-sustaining mode. And my understanding is that the Energi was tested by the EPA themselves, since getting a number for a plug-in is a new thing (or maybe they just wanted to see the new tech in person).

    As an Energi owner, I was wondering why my car did so much worse than the regular Hybrid. Extra weight for the bigger battery pack is the biggest issue, as well as a different final gear ratio. But maybe most of the difference in the numbers is simply because the Hybrid got a higher rating than it should have, and the two vehicles are closer than they seem.

    Wayne, when you are done with the C-Max Hybrid, I'd like to see you hop in an Energi. I'm up to 68mpg on the current tank of fuel, and it'll probably be over 70 by the time I fill up. :D
  5. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    Actually, I didn't 'pick' the numbers.

    I interpolated using the data Wayne provided in the compo drives -- under the assumptions that the Liftback highway and the V city were "EPA accurate".

    /I did, however; 'pick' 40 to 42 mpg combined prior to the compo drives -- based on what I had read from various sources.
  6. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member


    IGNORE MPG- (yeah-tough to do-but as a moto journalist you can)
    Which do you like driving more CMAX or Prius V
    Which would your favor on a USA type road trip-assume wife and dog come along
    Or are they more or less a wash-equally good for USA 14 hr driving day road trip-
    biggish dog-wife-ice chest-luggage-maybe bike on hitch rack-prehaps sleeping in it enroute in which case guess that leaves out wife- but Pup would be fine with that.

    So which is better for Road trip??
    Carcus make a great point $100/yr-nothing to be concerned about-
    Now I would assume 12000 miles/yr
    Prius V-normal person- 42mpG- 286 GALLONS
    CMAX 38 MPG 316 gallons
    30 gallons-at $5/gal just $150/yr
    I'm a cheapskate-and even I wouldn't put much weight on $150-if the Cmax had other good qualities-which I suspect it does-
    Road Trip or Home Depot capabilities

    So Wayne-which would you road trip with-Home Depot with? or are they equal?
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013
  7. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi PriusCpilot:

    I would give the C-MAX a 40/37 mpgUS city/highway rating or score after the shootout.

    Carcus, regarding the annual difference, that is not the issue at all. It is the marketing for advantage with a “creative” certification that harms the C-MAXs credibility.

    Prozac, the C-MAX is a really nice vehicle for a number of reasons but the engineering EPA certifications and Marketing of the same reached to levels the average driver will never see. If it would have been rated at 40/37, it could be sold on its many positive merits instead of a negative one. That one being its EPA rating(s).

    Thunderstruck, you probably said it best in that it will give all hybrids a bad name :(

    Mikeb, the EPA does test some vehicles and pay particular attention to the electrified ones but the certifications were completed by Ford. I do not know if the EPA actually tested the C-MAX Energi or not yet? I would also like to drive the Energi as I suspect those with a short commutes will find the 100 mpg (not including the electricity) quite doable.

    Charlie, herein is where “rubber meets the road”. My testing partners actually liked the C-MAX better Prius liftback and v mainly due to the C-MAXs performance or “pick up”. The v in particular is underpowered for its size and weight.

    I prefer the v for its cargo capacity, simpler but directed displays and ease in which it achieved mpg.

    Here is my own rankings although this is not necessarily anyone else’s.

    Exterior Appearance
    1. Prius liftback with the 17 in. alloys. The dart like appearance and hard angles are tough to beat.
    2. Prius v. A wagon but with the aero silhouette.
    3. C-MAX. It’s a bit to “bubbly” for my liking. Now the Fusion Hybrid on the other hand ;)
    Interior Appearance
    1. C-MAX. Soft touch dash, modern headliner and piano black surround accents in the central bezel make it a winner. Chrome accents and higher quality plastic vents and controls are nicer too.
    2. Prius v. It still needs a lot of work however.
    3. Prius liftback. This should have been fixed with the third generation.
    Driver Comfort
    1. Prius liftback (pkg 5s Softex leather seats and wheel wrap are really good.) Ergonomics need a lot of work for a taller driver.
    2. C-MAX. The supportive yet comfortable seating surfaces were really good.
    3. Prius v. Synthetic wheel of v-2 and v-3 sucks. Leather wrapped v-5 is much better. Ergo also needs work for taller drivers.
    1. C-MAX. SmartGauge w/ EcoGuide is really really good. I would however like to configure them myself. High contrast with ease of understanding, high resolution and great colors even in direct sunlight.
    2. Prius v. Colorful aFCD/iFCD but not together except through the main display audio display. Central display washes out in the sun.
    3. Prius liftback. Bland instrumentation display. Central display was good but washed out completely in direct sun.
    1. Prius liftback. High quality plastics stalk controls and familiarity for ease of use.
    2. Prius v. Stalks felt slightly less robust than the liftback.
    3. C-MAX. The 4-way toggles for CC and radio control are hard cheap looking plastic. Wiper stalks are also a letdown.
    Straight line Performance
    1. C-MAX by a good margin and feels very normal with aggressive tip in.
    2. Prius liftback. It is just ok.
    3. Prius v. You need a lot of pedal with a lot of engine groaning to get it moving quickly in a hurry. ECO mode makes it worse.
    Ride and Handling Performance
    1. C-MAX and Prius (pkg. 5) liftback tie. The liftback's 17’s and tighter suspension made up for the regular Prius' limitations but its steering is still numb. The Liftback is compliant and feels planted down the mountains at speed. C-MAX is on top with a performance oriented steering ratio and suspension tuning making it fun to drive but at high speed coming down the mountains, it was not as stable.
    2. Prius v. Nicest highway ride but a lot of roll at higher speeds and in cross winds in particular make it an also ran in this category.
    Fuel Economy
    1. Prius v. It finished second but was so close to the regular Prius liftback with a much higher rating. In other words, it will provide its owners the most satisfaction at the pump.
    2. Prius liftback. The most fuel efficient car without a plug possibly in the world even when driven without a care.
    3. C-MAX. This new Hybrids most disappointing attribute :(
    Cargo Capacity
    1. Prius v by a long shot. Lots of useable storage space.
    2. Prius liftback. While the smallest cargo capacity of the group, its long load floor make it easy to handle the every day items.
    3. C-MAX. While it has a healthy cargo capacity rating, it is the upright nature and short load floor with the seats up that harm its every day utility.
    And again my choice with no fuel economy related attributes considered, the v, C-MAX and than the Prius liftback in that order. Co-drivers, C-MAX, liftback and v for one and C-MAX, v and liftback in that order for the other. Neither had any comments about or set foot into the rear seats or cargo area however.

    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013
  8. CmaxVsPrius

    CmaxVsPrius Moderator

    I own 2010 Prius hatch and a 2013 C-max. By far, of these two, the C-max is the one I would rather road trip AND Home Depot in. If mpg was not an issue, the Prius feels like a go-cart at 70 mph on rough freeway road construction, compared to the C-max ride. Scary with big trucks at your shoulder. The Prius drives like a minimalist car. The C-max drives like a car bigger than it is.

    But in that comparison, my Prius gets 50 mpg, uses 240 gallons = 76 gals difference x $5, so $380 per year. Or $1000 over three years. And I wonder (know) that the C-max will be worth less at resale.

    I've tested the Prius V a few times. The C-max still rides better than the longer V, and is easier to get into and out off. If an owner wasnt carrying an extreme amount of cargo all the time, the C- max is really nice. The V does have a foot more length of cargo room behind the back seat. And I got 50 mpg test driving the V in city.

    What I want is the C- max ride with the Prius mpg. I don't use the extra V length enough to care about that.

    BTW, if mpg was not considered, I'd rather drive a Suburban like I used to. That car made me feel safest.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013
  9. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member


    I guess the Prius V adequate acceleration explains why Toyota went to the Bigger 1.8 engine for the 2010 Prius.
    It would really be down if they had stayed with the 1.5-which seems pretty zippy in our 2006-at city speeds that is.

    Looks to me like I would go with the Prius V for a road trip-if I didn't have a more roomy-63 person mile per gallon vehicle-Arty certainly considers herself a "person" equivalent-as Pup certainly does!!

  10. all_about_the_glide

    all_about_the_glide Well-Known Member

    Nice job Wayne...

    How did you get the cmax to glide and keep regen at bay while you were going all out? Pulse then lots of neutral? Magic placement of the right pedal? Can you fas a power split if you don't own it? Your plus sixty trip was the unexpected part...more details please.
  11. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi CmaxVsPrius:

    Good overview. Regarding the Suburban, they are not all that safe until only recently.

    Charlie, the 1.5L was adequate for the second gen as many of us know but fortunately Toyota did have the 1.8L all ready to go for the v.

    All_about_the_glide, you cannot FAS an HSD/e-CVT effectively (it is a dead stick with the Gen II or prior in that condition and probably the same for Gen III forward) so it is glide with either the pedal or the stick. While there is still current flow into MG1 with the C-MAX, it is minor enough below 55 mph to glide rather than Regen or maintain speed off the pack. If there is a downhill no matter how small, get that engine shut down no matter where the SoC is at that point. If SoC moved up to 60% or so, time to stop its climb dead in its tracks and get some engine off distance out of it.

    This is an area the Toyota contingent has problems as Warp Neutral has to start below 45 to 47 mph depending on which Toyota/Lexus we are speaking of and rarely do you get the chance to set that up on an all-highway drive. Similarly, Warp Neutral disengages at 63 mph in the Ford e-CVTs so it is not perfect either.


  12. rhwinger

    rhwinger Well-Known Member

    I'm having difficulty gliding this thing. Guess I'm just so used to the HCHII. I did see 52 mpg Monday morning trying my hand with this, but a long way to go to 60, let alone 68.


    Thanks for the evaluations and comparisons Wayne. It's good to know that if I see 50 mpg on the display when I drive, but the tank refil comes out to 41 after others have helped me out, that I'm not totally dillusional.

  13. Paymaster

    Paymaster Well-Known Member

    Yes, thank you for all the great information. It has been in the teens and twenties here so right now even getting 50 mpg is just a dream for me. One question if I can. A good chunk of my drive is 65 mph freeway. What would you suggest to get the best mileage there? Besides slowing down of course:)

    Back to the comparison, I assume you will be talking with your contacts at Ford about what you found. Playing devils advocate for a minute if I am Fords PR I might say that you proved their point that 47 mpg is attainable for both highway and city driving.

    "2013 Ford C-MAX SEL – EPA rated at 47 mpgUS highway: 47.6 mpgUS" at 60 mph and of course much higher than that in the city. Granted many people won't see those numbers but it is doable. As for the Prius models, Ford is comparing to the EPA numbers which Toyota themselves submitted to the EPA. That is what I would say, if I worked for Ford that is.

    I don't though and I feel like Ford lied. They knew what would happen when these things hit the road yet they chose to market them the way they did anyway. While some people might sometimes be able to get to 47( I think I might be able to come summer for example if the hit from the AC isn't too bad) but the vast majority of time for the vast majority of people it isn't going to happen. Integrity matters and Ford isn't showing much here.
  14. RichXKU

    RichXKU Well-Known Member

    Based on the information I've seen, I don't see how the C-Max was subjected to the following test for 10 minutes and still finished with that 47 number:


    Also, these are the five tests: City, Highway, High speed, Air conditioning, and cold start.
    Do the AC and cold start tests contribute to the city number or the highway number on the sticker?
  15. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Rich:

    What is your average speed from drive to work and back? If most of your drive is 65 mph, you have to make up for the low to mid 30’s when you are in the city portion.

    This shootout is not something Ford would be interested in hearing about so I will post the review with commentary about the Prius family comparison. I would not say Ford lied yet as the PR folks I have spoken with in the past say the C-MAX achieved its results on the EPA test cycles as stated. Saying that, Ford PR has to clean up the mess that the engineering teams handed them although it was some of their doing with the continuous stream of 7 and 5 more mpg than the Prius v.

    Rich, I have all of the 5 cycles posted in the Why’s and How to Hypermile article. The A/C and Cold tests are city based. The Highway (HWFET) and High speed, High acceleration test (US06) are highway based. All are commingled for the combined figure however.

  16. rmcmast

    rmcmast Well-Known Member


    Thanks for all the resuilts. I'm interested in any highway advice as well. My work trip it 30 miles, all highway except for about 2 miles before I get to work. I try to keep at 60mph or below if traffic allows.

    I do have about 10 miles of 2 lane highway at the start with quite a few hills. With little traffic I can sometimes get to 40mpg or over by the time I get to the interstate.
  17. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    Are you at liberty to disclose the magic formulas they use to weight the 3 city tests for the published overall city rating, and to weight the 2 highway tests for the highway rating?

    I know about the simple 0.9 and 0.78 fudge factors they used to "adjust" the data for 1984-2007 ratings and how they combined them in that period, but I've yet to see a clear description of exactly how they're blending the results of today's 5 tests.

    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013
  18. BillLin

    BillLin MASS: 2018 Bolt EV and 2017 Prime

    Hi Rick (and others),

    It's probably been said elsewhere before, but try to master the warm-up phase
    of your commute. It takes a lot of high fuel economy driving to make up for
    the evils of a cold start.

    e.g.: 1 mile at 25 mpg, 1 mile at 30 mpg, 2 miles at 35 mpg, 26 miles at 47 mpg
    This only gets you 43.88 mpg for the trip. It's easy to use a spreadsheet to see
    the effects, and especially to redistribute the above exaggerated numbers. I fight
    a cold start commute that only lasts for 4.1 miles. My average is in the dumps.

    Your immediate start on a highway probably hurts your average.

    Good luck!

    p.s. late thought - try capturing your cumulative
    mpg along the commute at regular intervals and
    back calculate your segment mpgs
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013
  19. Paymaster

    Paymaster Well-Known Member

    My drive to work is about 40% 65 mph, the rest 55 or 45 with a little city thrown in. I know I have said it a couple times but I have seen upper 40's, even mid- 50's mpg doing 65 but only with a nearly full battery. I will keep working on it see what works best at that speed for me. Or, maybe I can slow down just a little.

    By lying I was referring to how hard they are pushing 47/47/47 when realistically that isn't a number people are going to hit very often if at all(and Ford drove these cars, they knew that) and like you said saying all the time how much better than the Prius they are when in fact they are worse. I don't doubt they hit that number on the test, but the EPA isn't who they are advertising to. Maybe lying isn't the right description. How about extremely optimistic.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013
  20. rmcmast

    rmcmast Well-Known Member

    Yes, my highway start is a killer. And it's mostly uphill for the first couple of miles. By the time I make it 4 miles to my first turn I'm usually up to 30 or 31mpg now that its gotten cold. 35mpg or above when it's warmer and I don't have traffic behind me.

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