Ford canceled the Escape Hybrid for 2013, but the automaker is quickly replacing it with its first dedicated hybrid crossover. When the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid goes on sale this fall, it will start at $25,995. (A destination fee was not given.)
The C-Max “will be more affordable than the Toyota Prius v while achieving better fuel economy,” Ford said. Power comes from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a lithium-ion battery-powered motor, which replaces the nickel-metal hydride pack in the Escape Hybrid. The new battery is 25% to 30% smaller and 50% lighter, according to Ford. EPA numbers haven’t been released, but Ford promises the C-Max Hybrid will achieve better gas mileage than the current Ford Fusion Hybrid’s 41 mpg city rating.
“C-Max Hybrid benefits from 20 years of research and innovation behind the software and hardware technology driving it, with many of Ford’s almost 500 hybrid vehicle-related patents contained within,” the automaker said in a statement.
Like the new Escape, the C-Max will seat five passengers in two rows of seats and have a hands-free liftgate, active park assist for easier parallel parking and the MyFord Touch multimedia control system. The C-Max Hybrid will also be equipped with SmartGauge with EcoGuide. It shows real-time fuel economy and uses gauges to help drivers maintain a fuel-efficient driving style.
Although the C-Max shares some components with the compact Focus, it will be bigger. The C-Max Hybrid has a total of 99.7 cubic feet of passenger space in the cabin and 24.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row, Ford said.
The automaker is currently taking orders for the C-Max Hybrid, which will be built alongside the Focus at Ford’s assembly plant in Wayne, Mich. The next vehicle to join the C-Max family is the plug-in C-Max Energi. We should hear more about that model later this year.