2014 Ford C-Max

Pros: Nicely finished interior; outstanding headroom; easy entry/exit and good visibility thanks to elevated seating position; surprisingly sporty, nimble handling

Cons: Large turning radius for the size; Hybrid’s real-world mpg doesn’t match Toyota Prius v; MyFord Touch control interface can be finicky; hybrid battery pack cuts into rear cargo space, especially in Energi model; non-linear brake-pedal feel

CG Says: Ford’s C-Max is a small-for-the-class midsize car that offers better-than-average passenger room because of its “tall-wagon” body style. Only hybrid powertrains are offered; the C-Max Hybrid is a conventional hybrid with gas/electric powertrain that puts out 188 horsepower in total, and the C-Max Energi is a plug-in hybrid that has the same basic powertrain, but with a larger battery that allows for an all-electric driving range of about 20 miles. The C-Max is aimed squarely at Toyota’s wildly successful Prius family, and it comes closer than any other hybrid to hitting the mark. Part of its appeal stems from the fact that the Hybrid version, at least, offers a usefully cubic cargo area along with some neat features such as Ford’s hands-free power tailgate, all at Prius-competitive prices.

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2014 Ford C-Max