Okay, I admit that using étouffée to describe the 2014 Ford C-MAX ENERGI is a bit of a stretch. The thing is: the 2014 Ford C-MAX ENERGI has the right ingredients to please several different types of commuters. The thing about étouffée is that you get a little bit of everything in the dish. It can have crab, shrimp, craw-fish and (I have heard) even gator. It’s smothered over rice and different people add different things to taste.
So, just like étouffée, the 2014 Ford C-MAX ENERGI Plug-in Hybrid has a little something for many gas savvy commuters.
The 141 horsepower 2.0-liter, four-cylinder (Atkins-cycle) engine makes 129 lbs-feet of torque. Add to that an electric motor hooked-up to a 7.6 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, you get a peppy 188 hp. The power goes to the front wheels via a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
If you charge-up with the 240-volt charging station, you can fully recharge (from about zero charge) in under three hours. Fully charged, Ford says you can travel up to 19 miles solely on electricity. I made it eight (8) miles before the gas engine kicked in. Keep in mind: I drive aggressively and made no changes in my driving habits to extend range. I’m sure 12 – 15 miles on a charge is easily obtainable by the right driver.
This baby is pretty quick. When I tested one at sea-level in California, I averaged about eight seconds doing 0 to 60 runs. That’s impressive for any four-cylinder hybrid. It felt slightly slower in the Rocky Mountains. It still moves nicely. It’s far friskier than its competition and passing power is excellent.
I am averaging about 37 mpg total. That number is based on lots of highway driving. Hybrids tend to do better in traffic and city driving. Some of the miles I accumulated were done on muddy dirt roads too. Ford says that, by calculating the gas engine’s mpg, the 2014 Ford C-MAX ENERGI averages 43 mpg.
The interior of the 2014 Ford C-MAX ENERGI is very nice, especially if you get the well equipped SEL model. It’s very comfortable for four and can easily haul two adults with three kids. Interior materials are much nicer than many competitors and the upright driving position coupled with the massive windshield gives the drive a superb driving view. The materials are high quality and, once you get used to it, the SYNC infotainment system sounds pretty good.
Now the bad: by adding those extra battery packs to make the 2014 Ford C-MAX ENERGI capable of holding a useable charge, the cargo room behind the rear seats is only 19.2 cubic feet. All seats down, the 2014 Ford C-MAX ENERGI has 42.8 cubic feet of space. None of those numbers are impressive and, keep in mind, those extra batteries means a completely uneven loading floor.
There are some nifty storage additions to make up for some of the cargo room loss. The floor in front of the rear passengers has two hidden storage boxes that sit under the rear floor mats. This is where Ford keeps its recharging cord. Nifty storage space for parents.
Those intrusive batteries also make the handling of the 2014 Ford C-MAX ENERGI slightly less entertaining than the non plug-in C-MAX. Still, you’re not buying this vehicle for sport. It’s a competent handling machine and the brakes are pretty good considering they are energy recapturing brakes.
The 2014 Ford C-MAX ENERGI is not cheap. The well equipped 2014 Ford C-MAX ENERGI SEL that I tested is $37,140. Keep in mind: that’s before any rebates or additional deductions. Still, that’s a lot of dough. That’s about $10,000 MORE than the regular C-MAX SEL.
If you’re a freak about being “green” and want something more utilitarian than the Chevrolet Volt – maybe you should check out the 2014 Ford C-MAX ENERGI. It’s a good driver and an easy to live with companion with a little something for everyone.
Great… now I’m hungry. Where does one get good étouffée in Denver?