Friday, July 26, 2013

Review - Ford C-MAX hybrid: love, love, love



Ford C-Max Hybrid - review of my test drive
The Ford C-MAX hybrid is efficient and fun to drive.

A couple of months ago I was given a Ford C-MAX hybrid car to test drive for two weeks. I have never been into cars but the idea of a hybrid vehicle appealed to me so I was excited for the opportunity. Cars still don’t thrill be but my two weeks with the Ford C-MAX sure did.
It was my first experience with a hybrid so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had some assumptions: low fuel consumption, lower CO2 emissions and many have self-charging batteries which enhances efficiency too. You’re going to pay a little more for a hybrid vehicle (in some cases a lot more, depending on the make and model) but you’re going to save money on gas and you’ll pollute less.
But there was more that impressed me about the potential of hybrid vehicles.

Ford C-Max hybrid has brilliant energy return technology
The dash gage tells you how much energy you have generated through driving and braking.
The first was the idea of a self-charging battery and an “energy return” sort of science that had the battery capturing the energy generated through braking. A brilliant contribution to fuel economy. (There's a gage on the dash that tells you how much energy you have recovered.)
Much of a car’s fuel economy really depends on driving style. If you’re a lead foot on the gas or if you’re the kind of driver who lurches a lot fuel economy is going to suffer, no matter what sort of car you drive.  That’s where the C-MAX’s “Efficiency Leaves” came in handy. They’re literally leaves on a screen on the dash of the car.
Ford C-Max hybrid teaches you how to drive more efficiently
These are the leaves that fall or grow, depending on your driving style.
The leaves fall away or grow back, depending on how efficiently you’re driving. At first it was a little alarming – I felt awful each time a leaf floated away. (My kids kept a running commentary from the backseat.) But then it became a bit of a challenge to see how full I could keep the tree on our outings and my commute to work. It made me hyper aware of how my driving affected efficiency and fuel economy.

All tolled I had the car two weeks shy a day and used a grand total of $38 worth of gas. I didn’t think to track kilometers but my fuel consumption included my regular commute to and from work each day along with taking the kids here and there. It’s officially rated at 47 mpg (about 75 kmpg).

Fuel economy aside, the C-Max was lots of fun to drive. It was peppy, hugged the road well and had heavier steering, which I prefer.  It felt spacious inside too.
Ford C-Max hybrid
The roomy back seat had a surprising amount of leg room
A hybrid still depends on fossil fuel so we haven’t reached utopia but it is encouraging to see where technology can take us. It got me thinking:

Why aren’t all new vehicles hybrids?

The ultimate way to green your ride is to use your car the least amount possible but since driving is pretty much necessary it’s encouraging to see hybrids becoming more main stream and affordable. If you’re considering a new vehicle why not test-drive a hybrid? 

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