Ford C-Max: First Impressions

Ford C-Max: First Impressions {as a car only}

Earlier this week, we told you that we’re in possession of a 2015 Ford C-Max Energi Hybrid / Electric Car for a 30 day road test & review.

For today’s “first impressions” review – we’re going to talk about this vehicle strictly on how it works as a car (regardless of what kind of engine it has).

[Why I felt that was necessary: Because regardless of what fancy or trendy “stuff” a car has – it’s important to take away the added fluff to examine basic properties and capabilities. The rest of the bells and whistles can be analyzed separately.]

So how is it as an ordinary every-day car?

Ford C-Max Energi Review

Ford C-Max, a capable “Point A to Point B” transport

The Ford C-Max we have been driving is much like pretty much any car you can buy these days.

A road-worthy vehicle.

Yes, I know that doesn’t say much in particular, but it’s true. Almost any car you can buy in 2016 is capable in all conditions. Back roads, city streets and major highways. With the exception of the lowest of the low, smallest of the small, cheapest of the cheap cars out there – today’s cars are an incredible achievement compared to cars just a few decades ago. I would even go as far as to consider that a great milestone in engineering.

At first, I was a bit concerned that the Ford C-Max would be “wimpy” on the highway, but was mistaken. It can handle highway speeds, lane-changes and passing other vehicles like any other car. Never was I worried that I was about to push the (speed) envelope and endanger myself. You can easily cruise at 85-90 without worry (with one caveat – see below…)

About the only conditions the C-Max power train sounded a bit “out of it’s league” was going up steep hills, as it felt like you were stressing the bugger a little more than it’s used to going. But it survived nonetheless.

The C-Max has decent road comfort as well. Even on Hoboken’s worst roads (and that’s a tough choice considering most of them can have that title), it rode better than expected (except Washington Street.) Road noise overall was average (not great, but not horrible).

Most bumps were adequately absorbed, but that could be said with any “new” car. And with relatively small tires, you’d probably want to be keenly aware of major potholes instead of clicking “likes” on your cell phone. We hit one particularly sharp bump during our travels (at a VERY slow rate of speed…) and got knocked pretty bad! So pay attention instead of “swiping!”

NO CAR likes Washington Street. Ever.

NO CAR likes Washington Street. Ever.

{Caveat} Don’t push it!

But one important caveat you’d need to understand is that this is what I would consider a “utilitarian” vehicle, NOT a performance automobile. Don’t expect to feel comfortable in a high-speed slalom. Curvy roads can make you lose confidence a bit, and taking it easy is highly recommended (you feel body roll and potential instability). It’s fairly easy to push the limits on how this car handles the road. While it is capable of taking you where you’re going, driving hard is just not a good idea.

Interior Comfort. How does the Ford C-Max feel?

While the C-Max looks like it’s way too close to the ground, it actually feels like it’s a bit higher off the road than a standard sedan.

Controls seemed to be logically laid out, and most gauges were where they were supposed to be.

Considering the safety issues that are mandated by the goons in charge of this country – the C-Max had surprisingly good visibility too. With the exception of the two front pillars which provided minor blind spots / blocked vision, it was easy to see your surroundings.

The headlights (and especially high beams) did a remarkable job being that they were standard incandescent bulbs. Was surprised, in fact. The view from the Rear-view mirror was a little less than adequate, but the side-view mirrors were flawless, in particular the added “wide-view” part. No fruity robotic lane-change assist technology is necessary using that “one simple trick!”

The four-door hybrid provided plenty of room for my 6’4″ frame, with headroom and legroom to spare.

Pretty basic interior...

Pretty basic interior…

But two of me in the front seats mean that the rear seats are useless, except for midgets, kids, pets and a few bags.

Same for the rear storage under the hatch-back. Because of the added “fuel” source, the equivalent to “trunk space” was minimal. But the rear seats fold, so that putting larger items is possible, you’d definitely have to leave the dogs (or kids) home.

We’ll talk more in more detail about all the features of this car in a future update.

It’s a car (that works)

Not the prettiest car on the road, but it never meant to enter any beauty contests. And it’s certainly not the fastest or the most practical either, but for it’s purpose of being a “car,” the Ford C-Max Energi does it’s job.

It gets you from Point A to Point B without any major issues.

It has it’s drawbacks due to it’s size and how it was engineered, but you knew that going in. And there are some positives too! (Later…)

Now that we’ve gotten the bare basics out of the way – we’ll continue taking notes and be back next week with a more in-depth look at the “Energi” part of this equation. Because once you peel back the layers of this complex machine – there’s plenty to discuss.

Ford C-Max Energi Hoboken NJ road test 1

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