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Ford C-Max Energi Gets 108 MPG Rating – But Will Buyers Notice?

Ford hopes higher mileage numbers will carve into Toyota's battery-car dominance.

by on Oct.12, 2012

Ford gets a critical endorsement from the EPA that could help it target the Toyota hybrid family.

Ford has been taking aggressive aim at Toyota this year and borrowing a page from the Japanese giant’s playbook in the process, focusing not only on new battery-powered models like the Fusion Hybrid and C-Max but also by bragging that some of Ford’s newest offerings deliver better mileage than the Toyota alternatives?

The latest salvo follows the EPA’s official assessment of the Ford C-Max Energi, the plug-in version of the new “people mover.” Despite being the size of the larger Prius V, the EPA has rated the C-Max Energi at 108 miles per gallon in city driving and 100 in the highway and combined measurements.  That’s 5 mpg better than the smaller Toyota Prius Plug-in, a version of the original member of the new Prius “family.”

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But will potential buyers care?

So far, Ford has had only modest success in the battery-electric market.  While Toyota currently produces about half of all battery-based models sold in the U.S., Ford’s market share has slipped by more than half over the last year to barely 4%.


New Ads Position Ford C-Max as Prius Alternative

Ford takes on the 800-lb gorilla of the hybrid world.

by on Oct.04, 2012

Ford wants to go head-to-head with the Toyota Prius in new ad campaign.

Expect to see a lot about C-Max.  That’s the Ford C-Max, to be more precise, the maker’s all-new people-mover and the first domestic hybrid that lifts a page from the Toyota Prius handbook by adopting a unique body style that won’t be shared with a standard gas powertrain.

Like the ever-popular Prius, meanwhile, Ford will offer both a “conventional” hybrid model as well as a plug-in version dubbed the Ford C-Max Energi.  The maker will produce them at an upgraded plant in suburban Detroit alongside the new battery-electric version of the compact Focus.

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Ford has been one of the most aggressive makers in challenging Toyota’s persistent lead in the hybrid segment but – like Honda which actually launched the first hybrid in the U.S. market, the original Insight – Ford has so far been unable to crack Toyota’s lead. The Prius currently accounts for more than half of all U.S. gas-electric vehicle sales, a lead that has grown with the creation of a so-called “Prius family” of hybrids.


2012 Prius c Impresses, Even Out of its Element

Baby Prius finds sweet spot on price, fuel economy.

by on Sep.12, 2012

Even though long-distance cruising isn't what it does best, the Toyota Prius c returned 46 mpg on a 1,150 trip.

When planning a bladder-busting road trip, deciding which car to bring is a key decision.

Let’s consider the contenders. In this corner, we have a 2013 Toyota Prius c, the new baby in the four-member Prius family of hybrids. The challenger: a 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan.

The trip was a follow-up to visit to our new freshman at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, a 530-mile drive. Our cavernous challenger would provide extra space for stuff that our young student forgot in the first go round. But at 23 mpg on the freeway, a loan might be necessary to pay for the fuel.

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So the kid will have to live without his snowboard until Thanksgiving (this is Houghton; snow before Thanksgiving is not out of the question).

That’s because of the critical number for the Prius c: 46. That’s the average fuel economy for our trip, which totaled 1,150 miles.


First Drive: 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid

Finally, a real challenger to Prius?

by on Aug.28, 2012

Ford hopes the distinctively designed C-Max Hybrid can challenge the dominance of the Toyota Prius.

Toyota has ruled the hybrid segment since the original Prius rolled onto the U.S. market a dozen years ago — and up until now Ford Motor Co. has trailed a distant second with its well-regarded Escape Hybrid.

But Ford is changing gears, having retired the gas-electric version of the Escape in favor of a new version of the updated crossover now powered by the maker’s well-received EcoBoost drivetrain. That doesn’t mean Ford is walking away from the battery-car market.  Far from it.  If anything, it is rolling out an assortment of hybrids and even more advanced vehicles that, it hopes, will gives the Detroit maker a chance to challenge Toyota’s perceived leadership in green automotive technology.

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Key to Ford’s bid to reduce Toyota’s dominance is the 2013 C-MAX hybrid, which comes with a five-door body style popular in Europe — and a completely new hybrid powertrain under the hood.  The C-Max is being positioned as a direct challenge to Prius and will be Ford’s first model line offered only with hybrid or plug-in hybrid power.


Ford C-Max Energi Takes Aim at Prius Plug-In

Ford C-Max rated 95 MPGe, 20 miles on batteries

by on Jul.23, 2012

Ford hopes to topple Toyota's Prius Plug-In with the longer-range C-Max Energi.

Can Ford’s new “people-mover” topple the battery-powered king-of-the-hill?

The Toyota Prius routinely captures half of the hybrid market, and the Japanese maker has been gaining ground – despite the recent slide in U.S. fuel prices – by expanding the range of models wearing the Prius badge.  But Ford hopes to finally make some inroads against Toyota with the launch of its new C-Max, the U.S. maker’s first dedicated hybrid-only model line.

The C-Max Energi, in particular, may have a good shot at taking down the new Prius Plug-in by offering a mix of better mileage, longer battery-only range and a lower price tag than the Toyota model.

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According to the newly released, Ford expects to get a 95 MPGe Combined City/Highway rating from the EPA, and will average about 20 miles per charge.  While that’s significantly less than the battery-only range of the Chevrolet Volt it’s nearly twice the range of the very limited Prius Plug-In.


Ford Claims New C-Max Tops Prius V Mileage

Battle of the hybrid people-movers.

by on Jul.09, 2012

The 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid models.

Hoping to build demand for a new generation of dedicated battery cars, Ford says it expects its new C-Max hybrid to deliver about 3 miles per gallon better fuel economy than the similarly sized Toyota Prius V.

Tackling the Prius powerhouse is something a number of makers have so far tried – and failed to achieve.  The original Toyota hatchback has been the world’s best-selling hybrid and now the Japanese maker is trying to ride its own coattails with an assortment of other hybrids also sharing the Prius name.

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The largest of the offerings, the microvan-sized Prius V, has been gaining ground on the sales charts thanks to a mix of strong mileage – at 44 mpg in the EPA’S City cycle – and added room.

Ford plans to play it by the numbers, pitching the new C-Max as offering better mileage, more room, more power – and a lower price.


Ford Takes Aim at Prius V with C-MAX

Automaker prices hybrid model below the Toyota, says it will be more efficient.

by on May.18, 2012

The Ford is taking aim at the Toyota Prius v with the C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi.

Ford is taking direct aim at the Toyota Prius v with its new C-MAX Hybrid, announcing that the vehicle would provide better fuel economy and have a lower base price when it goes on sale as a 2013 model.

The company said dealers are not taking orders for the C-MAX, which it says will be the most fuel efficient of a new breed of vehicles it is calling hybrid utility vehicles.

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In addition to the hybrid model, later in the year, Ford will introduce the C-MAX Energi, a plug-in hybrid, which it also claims will be more efficient in electric-only mode and have a longer electric driving range than the coming Prius plug-in hybrid.

The C-MAX Hybrid will carry a base price of $25,995, although the company did not say if that includes destination charges.


Sales Strong, Toyota Ramping Up Prius C Production

Maker moves 1,200 of the new hybrids in first 5 days.

by on Mar.21, 2012

Buoyed by near-record fuel prices, the new Toyota Prius C is exceeding initial sales expectations.

Toyota’s new Prius C is proving to be the little hybrid that could – and that’s leading the automaker to ramp up production of the newest member of its Prius “family.”

The C is a compact gas-electric model that went on sale earlier this month, joining the original Prius hatchback and the larger Prius V introduced last year – with a plug-in version of the original Prius to follow later this year.

With a base price of $19,710, the Prius C is the least-expensive full hybrid on the market and the only compact to share the familiar Prius badge.  That’s significant in a market that has – despite near-record fuel prices – so far been reluctant to embrace hybrids, the technology last year accounting for less than 3% of total U.S. new vehicle sales, but the Prius badge emblazoned on one of every two hybrids purchased in the country.

(Click Here for our Toyota Prius C  review.)

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The timing of the Prius C launch could not have been better, analysts say, and the new model generated 1,200 sales in just its first five days on the market – albeit many of those customers had placed orders some time back and were simply waiting for delivery.  While it remains to be seen if the momentum will be maintained, Toyota appears to be quite optimistic.


Toyota Plug-in Concept Debuting in Detroit

Will accompany debut of Prius c.

by on Dec.20, 2011

Toyota offers a tease of a new plug-in hybrid model debuting at the Detroit Auto Showw next month.

Toyota will pull the wraps off an advanced plug-in concept vehicle during next month’s Detroit auto show – along with the production version of the maker’s new Prius c hybrid.

The Japanese giant isn’t saying much about the advanced plug-in but it is expected to offer significant technological improvements over Toyota’s first plug-in, a version of the conventional Prius hybrid that is just going on sale in the U.S. market.

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The Prius c, meanwhile, is set to become the newest – and smallest – member of an expanding “family” of gas-electric models sharing the Prius badge.  Both vehicles debuting in Detroit will be part of a push by Toyota to prove it remains a leader in the emerging market for “green”vehicles.


Five Green Car Finalists Revealed

Not all even have hit market yet.

by on Oct.24, 2011

Though it won't go on sale until December, Ford's Focus Electric is a finalist in the Green Car of the Year awards announced next month.

The first 2012 Ford Focus Electric won’t even reach buyers in California until the very end of the year but it apparently has had a significant impact on the judges for the Green Car of the Year, landing among the five finalists for the prestigious award.

The jury has chosen a mix of products that reveals the breadth of alternative powertrain market, with the finalists including a conventional hybrid, two pure battery-electric vehicles, a clean diesel and a natural gas-powered offering.

Along with the Focus Electric, the Green Car finalists include the 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas, the 2012 Mitsubishi i, the 2012 Toyota Prius v and the 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI.

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“This year’s Green Car of the Year finalists underscore that there is no single solution to our transportation challenges,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and “Here we have five exceptional answers to the question of how we’re going to increase efficiencies, reduce tailpipe and CO2 emissions, and decrease petroleum use.”