2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid Named
2013 International CUV of the Year
Road Test Review by Martha Hindes | Press Release
“Delightfully practical.” That was the initial reaction from a casual
car browser at a Midwestern Ford dealership after getting up close and
personal with Ford's new 2013 C-MAX hybrid-only, multi-utility vehicle. “I loved all the technology,” was the quick follow-up. It was a
potential shopping trip on a whim after being inundated with glowing
reports of the advantages of owning a hybrid vehicle from a foreign
automaker that had been getting lots of attention. The browser,
instead, was looking for something American, something to get excited
about, something to spur the interest. He got it.
If two words can sum up a reaction to a new kid on the block with a
unique perspective, we think “delightfully practical” nailed it. After
all, creating something that can be all things for all people
usually can seem like an exercise in frustration at best. When the
idea is applied to a vehicle, it's even more demanding, since
underneath the eye candy appeal outside and pampering comfort inside is the necessity that it will do the duty of a vehicle – transporting its precious cargo with enthusiasm, purpose, practicality, safety and fun without sullying its surroundings. And the front-drive C-MAX, despite its more diminutive scale than the standard sport utility or crossover utility vehicles that are predominant now on American
roadways, is judged as a truck. You just don't realize all its talents
at first test.
But peel back the layers, like you would an onion skin, and there's
surprise after delightful surprise waiting for those who check it out– from its fuel-stingy hybrid underpinnings that can let it get an
astounding 47 miles to a gallon of gas to its available high tech
gadgets including the ability to park itself or pop open the trunk
gate with the wave of a foot. That's before even considering the lush sound capabilities from just about any favorite device one brings that
can mate with the C-MAX for concert venue excitement. Those are among reasons the C-MAX dominated voting in the 2013 International SUV of the Year competition, and won the whole enchilada in the process. And which we, at Road & Travel Magazine, announce with unabridged pleasure. After all, we consider this truly a multi-activity vehicle or MAV (Ford's term). Maybe Maximum Utility Vehicle or MUV would work in acronym land as well. After all, Ford alluded to that in naming it C-MAX.
And Ford officials in receiving the award didn't disagree with our
perception. Or our appreciation of its advanced hybrid capabilities
meant to keep one away from a gas station pump either as a hybrid or
plug-in hybrid version without sacrificing fun at a time Americans
are galloping toward more fuel efficient vehicles.
"A plug-in hybrid owner may make fewer trips to the pump to refuel
because of its all-electric mode capability," said Ford's vice
president of Global Product Development, Derrick Kuzak. It can charge
from an outlet overnight and the driver can forget any concerns about driving range, he added.
International Car of the Year Awards (ICOTY) jury
noted the perfect blending of high technology, fuel efficiency and
provocative talents in the new C-MAX, guaranteed to woo and win an emotional response from those who want a delicious driving pleasure without a side dish of guilt.
The International Car and Truck of the Year Awards, now in their 17th year, were instituted to honor the passion, presence and emotional punch that new vehicles can bring. "Win the consumer's heart first and the rest is history," noted Caldwell. The C-MAX will deliver that kind of initial desire and long-lived satisfaction, she predicted.
Describing the C-MAX can be a bit of a puzzle. It has so many facets
that defy shoehorning it into a prepackaged niche. It fits beautifully
into Ford's showroom lineup of car and truck offerings, a bit lower to
ground and tidier than even the newly revised Ford Escape CUV that
loses its previous hybrid version. There's room for four (or five of
more diminutive sizes) with all seating in active play. A six-plus
footer in the family can drive or ride in comfort as well, with
spacious headroom built in. One gets the feeling of being in a sedan,
but with more liberal flexibility and wiggle room.
Regarding our favorite things: We love the way the rear seats fold flat
over this hybrid's streamlined lithium-ion rear battery pack for a
nicely level expanded storage area that won't turn objects into projectiles. We dote on the little vine that sprouts and
grows leaves in increasingly large sizes as we cautiously tread on the
accelerator pedal for sensible ecological impact rather than blasting
it into tomorrow with no concern for the transport needs of future
generations. We like the understated interior layout (with eight-inch,
touch/voice-activated navigation screen in our preview model) that
works simply while providing a virtual Pandora's Box of undiscovered
electronic goodies. That, of course, includes the ability to access
Pandora system music along with Bluetooth, CD input, USB connection
for our electronics, and the other features of Ford's SYNC and MyFord
Touch communications/entertainment system. Among its talents:
Importing phone content for hands-free calling.
And we love the
availability of such high-tech goodies and amenities as cross traffic
alert, heated side view mirrors and that self-opening and self-closing
tailgate, one of our favorite features, that merely takes a slight kick under the rear fascia to
activate by one with two arms fully loaded with grocery bags or kids. We appreciate the two small,
in-floor storage bins secreted behind the front seats for safely
stowing our iPad out of sight.
All of these goodies pale in comparison to the foundation of the
C-MAX. It's a gasoline-electric hybrid system designed to get the most
out of a small gasoline engine that charges up an electric motor
driving system. The vehicle can run on electricity alone at speeds as
high as 47 miles per hour as long as batteries remain charged, or with
augmented power generated by the gas engine and by the regenerative force of braking that pumps additional electricity into the driving motor batteries. The more driving done on pure electricity, the less need to burn gasoline on the road. The system can churn out the
equivalent of 188 horsepower so during those fun deficit times when
one can't resist flooring it to rejuvenate the spirit, the C-MAX
actually lives up to the need for muscle and speed.
Everything in the C-MAX standard hybrid system – the first in a three-part lineup – was developed by Ford which has worked on perfecting the technology for about 20 years and holds about 500
patents on it. The second “Energi” version allows one to plug into an electric outlet and charge the batteries without driving it in the process, although the gas engine still will regenerate the batteries
while it's on the road. The Energi's driving range is gauged at about
500 miles, more than any other extended range electric vehicle. A
plug-in only electric version is expected for 2014. All versions are
touted for their high mileage and minimal impact on the environment from fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
Ford isn't modest about announcing it intends to trump the Prius line of hybrids from arch rival Toyota with its head start in selling
hybrid cars in the U.S. With a base pricing a shade below $26K, the
promise of having it all without guilt, and a handsome vehicle to park
in the driveway with as many toys as one is willing to add, we think
the C-MAX has achieved that magical blend. Drum
The 17th annual International CUV of the Year trophy was presented to Ford Group Marketing Director of Electrification, C.J. O’Donnell. Presenters included Courtney Caldwell, Editor-in-Chief and founder of Road & Travel Magazine; and Bridgestone sponsor and OE president, Mike Martini.
|Accepting the 2013 International CUV of the Year for the Ford C-MAX Hybrid is (l-r) is John Davis, C-MAX Chief Nameplate Engineer and C.J. O'Donnell, Group Marketing Director, Ford Motor Company. Presenting the trophy are Courtney Caldwell and Mike Martini, president Bridgestone Americas OE, and ICOTY sponsor.
“Ford is honored to receive the 2013 International CUV of the Year Award from Road & Travel Magazine. We’ve seen a phenomenal response to C-MAX Hybrid. Our customers are excited to have a fresh hybrid option that gives them the fuel efficiency they want, without sacrificing the fun-to-drive capability that they desire,” said C.J. O’Donnell, Group Marketing Manager, Electrification, Ford Motor Company.
2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid Press Release
Bridgestone, longtime lead sponsor and supporter of the ICOTY Awards, recognizes the consumer-product relationship as critical to vehicle success.
“Bridgestone is proud to support the ICOTY awards, and applauds the efforts of these automakers that like our company demonstrate a strong commitment to innovative technology,” said Michael Martini, president, Consumer OE, Bridgestone Americas. “Through the combined efforts of everyone in the auto industry, and led by automakers like those being recognized today, we will continue to meet and exceed the demands of the motoring public.”
"We would like to thank Bridgestone Tire for sponsoring the 2013 International Car of the Year Awards," said Courtney Caldwell. Their continued annual support has allowed us to honor automakers for vehicles that not only relate to consumer lifestyles and connect on an emotional level, it has provided RTM with the opportunity to elevate awareness on how people feel about their cars, and thus help revolutionize, the way agencies now market and advertise cars to consumers on an international level.
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