The 2017 Ford C-Max Energi is a car that was first brought to market in non-electrified form over in Europe before it finally made its way over here. Known in Europe as simply the C-Max, it's been part of the Ford portfolio over there now since as long ago as 2003, but only found its way to American shores as recently as 2013. Quite a fundamental change took place on the journey over though, as the regular C-Max transformed from being a gas or diesel powered compact multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) into one that's now an exclusively hybrid or plug-in hybrid model. The hybrid now goes under the C-Max Hybrid name, while the plug-in version we're looking at here is badged as the C-Max Energi.
The latest 2017 Ford C-Max Energi represents what is now the fifth model year for this compact minivan with just a couple of subtle updates. The front has been very lightly restyled, there have been some modest equipment tweaks, the trim levels have been changed a little and a new exterior paint color has been added to the palette. The C-Max Energi comes in two different trim levels, where the SE is the entry level model and the Titanium is the higher specification, and both versions make use of the same plug-in hybrid propulsion system.
The propulsion system used for the 2017 Ford C-Max Energi is a combination of a 2.0-liter inline-four gas engine and two electric motors delivering a combined 188 horsepower in charge sustain mode, and 195 horsepower in charge depletion mode. Those numbers are of some significance as they're both substantially more than the 121 horsepower the new Prius manages, although it has to be said the Ford is a little weightier. Despite the extra pounds, the additional power offered by the Ford produces a driving experience that could well be described as perky, and the C-Max Energi's hybrid system feels noticeably less stressed than some hybrid rivals. The C-Max Energi also has a bigger 7.6-kwh battery, compared to the 1.4-kwh in the standard C-Max hybrid, which means the plug-in also offers an electric-only driving range of up to 20 miles.
There are many areas where the 2017 Ford C-Max Energi deserves considerable credit, such as the way it rides and drives, how it looks and the quality and versatility of the interior, but fuel economy is always going to be the primary reason for most buyers considering a hybrid. Regardless of whether it's for financial or environmental reasons, the first thing most potential buyers will want to know about a vehicle of this type is how economical it is. But even though it's going to be frugal, the C-Max Energi is more of a well-rounded vehicle than the overt exercises in fuel-economy some of the competition seems to be. The Ford is a sensational family vehicle that's also extremely economical to run, rather than just a fuel-efficient platform that mundanely shuttles the family around.
The EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings for the 2017 Ford C-Max Energi come out at a combined 39 mpg for gas, and 95 MPGe for combined gas/electric.
When it comes to recharging the battery, the C-MAX Energi comes standard with a 120-volt charge cord for use at home or anywhere there's access to a standard electricity supply. A 120-volt supply means a recharging time somewhere in the region of 7 hours, but upgrading to the optional 240-volt charging station can result in a full charge taking as little as 2.5 hours.
*All vehicle mileage based on 2017 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.