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What’s New for 2018?
The Ford C-Max is a relatively new arrival in the US, debuting for the 2013 model year, though the car has already had a run of several years in Europe by that point. It has not experienced many significant changes since then, and the 2018 model remains practically identical to the 2017 one. Several new paint colors have been added to the specifications sheet, but there are no feature or mechanical changes.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2018 Ford C-Max – The Pros
1. Lots of Interior Space
For a compact, the 2018 Ford C-Max offers a lot of interior space, most of it as passenger accommodation. In a standout from most other compact vehicles, there is actually a lot of room in the back seat, and even the taller passengers will find themselves with lots of air above their head. This is a strong point in favor of it for family-oriented drivers.
2. Upscale Materials
The 2018 Ford C-Max does not skimp when it comes to furnishing a nice cabin. Most contact surfaces are trimmed out in soft plastics or upholstery, which comes in both premium cloth and attractive leather varieties, and there are nice shiny accent pieces spread liberally throughout the whole interior. It is clearly a notch above other similarly priced vehicles in terms of quality.
3. Quiet Ride
Partially because of its hybrid powertrain, but mostly as a result of good insulation of the cabin, the ride in the C-Max is very serene and pacific. The engine itself is fairly quiet, and few of its rumbles breach their way into the cabin. The acoustic glass and the active noise cancellation technology filter out the wind and the road noises as well, making it easily possible to conduct conversations in a whisper, should you choose to.
4. Excellent Cushioning
The seats on the 2018 Ford C-Max offer plenty of support, and the suspension is active enough to even out most road imperfections. The European predecessor of the current C-Max was specified as a compact MPV, so lots of minivan-like ride accommodations made it into the current iteration as well. Riding inside the C-Max, even as a passenger, is a very nice experience, thanks to the solid and composed ride that it offers.
5. Flexible Layout
The C-Max does a lot to maximize the utility of its interior space. Making the most of its large size, it includes lots of helpful storage solutions throughout the cabin, such as under-the-seat bins, racks for grocery bags and a convenient cargo net. Litte other bins and cubbies make it easy to keep personal items or snacks handy on long journeys.
6. Hands-free Liftgate
The innovative lift-gate of the Ford C-Max, which has since then been copied by some other manufacturers, remains one of its outstanding features. Simply waving your foot under the rear bumper while having the key on your person automatically activates the power liftgate, making it easy and convenient to get large objects or a handful of grocery bags into the car.
7. Smooth and Powerful
When driven, the 2018 Ford C-Max does not feel very much like one would expect a hybrid to feel. Its engine is a potent 2.0-liter four-cylinder with a total output of 195 horsepower once the two electric motors are added into the equation. This gives it solid acceleration comparable to other, non-hybrid wagons, and the shifts between the hybrid and electric models are very subtle and do not interrupt the driving flow.
8. Fun to Drive
In addition to having solid performance, the 2018 Ford C-Max also handles very well. The Ford Focus platform on which it is built is very agile, and the added length and height of the C-Max has a minimal impact. It turns quickly, steers precisely and remains firmly planted through turns, putting it among the best hybrids in terms of ride quality.
9. Good Mileage
The Ford C-Max earns fairly good fuel efficiency statistics, making it more efficient than most cars in the hatchback and wagon segments. The total mileage for the hybrid model is 42 miles per gallon city, 38 mpg highway, 40 mpg combined, which easily makes it one of the most efficient cars you could buy.
10. Energi Plug-in Hybrid
The 2018 Ford C-Max Energi is the plug-in hybrid sub-model of the car, and it adds an extra bit of functionality to the design. It can be recharged using a regular home outlet or a specialized charging station, with the latter fully refilling the car’s batteries in just 2.5 hours. When fully charged, the Energi can go for up to 20 miles without using any gasoline, in addition to still having the same functionality and performance as the regular C-Max Hybrid.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2018 Ford C-Max – The Cons
1. Not as Efficient as Other Hybrids
The C-Max is very efficient when compared to conventional hatchbacks and wagons, but it falls short when put up against other dedicated hybrid vehicles, some of which easily exceed 50 miles per gallon. If efficiency is the top priority for a buyer, there are better choices available.
2. Below-average Cargo Space
The C-Max offers a lot of interior space, but most of it goes to the passengers at the expense of the cargo area. Most rivals it goes up against offer more cargo room. The C-Max Energi cuts into the cargo space with its battery as well.
3. Aging Platform
The C-Max has been on the road in the US for six years now, which is already long in automotive terms, but most of its technology actually dates back to 2011, when the model debuted in Europe. Ford is reported to be planning either a full redesign or to discontinue the model next year, which is bound to affect many buyers’ plans for this generation of the car.
How It Stacks up to the Competition
The 2018 Ford C-Max has a very unique market position, and finds itself competing not only with other hybrid vehicles, but other hatchbacks and small wagons as well. A leading vehicle in the hybrid segment is of course the Toyota Prius. When it comes to efficiency, the Prius stands well above the C-Max, but the Ford offers a better experience for the driver and a nicer and more comfortable interior for passengers. Among wagons in the similar price range to the C-Max, the Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen is a strong competitor. It is also fun to drive and offers an upscale interior, as well as more cargo space than the C-Max, but trails behind in both efficiency and engine power to its hybrid-equipped rival.
The 2018 Ford C-Max offers a good compromise between the boring-but-efficient hybrids and the plush-but-expensive wagons popular with buyers today. It provides a fuel economy well above the average for its size and performance, as well as an interior that is bigger and more nicely trimmed and equipped than its price range would suggest. The result is a great vehicle that is appealing to buyers seeking to find the golden mean between those two extremes.
• Why buy a 2016 Ford C-Max? w/ pros vs cons