While the gas-powered Ford C-Max has been sold in Europe since 2003, the hybrid-only wave will finally reach U.S. shores. The Associated Press reports that Ford will finally have competition to offer against the Toyota Prius when the new C-Max hybrid minivan hits the market in 2012. It will be sold in both hybrid and electric versions.
Not your parents’ SUV
According to Ford, the smaller-model C-Max hybrids will get more than 41 miles per gallon. The electric version will function similarly to the Chevy Volt in that it will be drivable in all-electric mode and have the gas engine as a backup.
Car and Driver points out that while the minivan may appear to be a strange choice for Ford in terms of coolness quotient, U.S. drivers should set aside any preconceived minivan notions with the C-Max hybrid. Yes, it has two sliding doors, but according to Ford VP of Global Marketing Jim Farley, millennials will make different choices than their parents. They grew up in SUVs and do not have the same vanilla, family tedium-type associations their parents do with the boxy minivans that came before.
Ford is banking on the notion that multiple sliding doors will be seen as a convenience, rather than as a symbol of domestic surrender. Being able to hold seven passengers is also convenient, particularly because the back rows can fold safely away when you want to throw your bike, board or skis in the back.
Saving gas, not power
Ford plans to keep U.S. drivers interested with either a 1.6- or 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged engine with minimal lag, plus a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission. For an extra boost of power beyond the 177 lb-ft or torque, the EcoBoost can throw down with a very Porsche-like temporary over-boost at 199 lb-ft. Experts do not anticipate that the Ford C-Max will come with a diesel engine option because of cost.
The 2012 Ford C-Max tested by Car and Driver handled like a smaller vehicle. Even if one adjusts for low passenger vehicle expectations, the C-Max should provide its fair share of fun on the road.
The price is right
For a minivan with these options and much more, a price in the mid-$30,000s would be typical. However, Ford is pleased to announce that the 2012 C-Max will come “well-equipped” at $25,000. The C-Max should aid Ford in its continued resurgence.
2012 Ford C-Max North American reveal
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