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Whatever Happened to the Ford C-Max?

The Ford C-Max is an important model in the history of the Ford Motor Company. The first edition of the vehicle became available to consumers in the US market in 2003. It was the very first hybrid vehicle offered by the brand in the form of the C-Max wagon. The C-Max hybrid gave drivers a choice of moving into a cleaner running vehicle that was a bit friendlier to the earth and environment. The C-Max presents the case of now you see it, now you don't, and it seemed to disappear like objects in a magic show. Whatever happened to the Ford C-Max? Here is a little bit on the background and the reasons why the car was discontinued.

History of the Ford C-Max

Autoevolution revealed that the first glimpse of the C-Max was marketed as a Ford Focus C-Max in 2003. This was the first generation of the model that ran from 2003 to 2006. It was Ford's MPV based on the C1 platform going up against the Citroen Picasso and the Renault Scenic as its chief competitors.

  • The Second Generation - The 2007 Ford C-Max kicked off the second generation of the model with a facelift for the compact MVP. It made its debut at the Bologna Motor Show in 2006. It received a new name dropping the Focus part with an updated visual makeover but the same engine range.
  • The Third Generation - The third generation of the C-Max kicked off in 2011 and ran through 2014. It was made for safety and enhanced comfort, equipped with the most innovative technologies available for its time. It gained a small yet sporty appeal in 2010 and gained a 1.6-liter EcoBoost unit.
  • The fourth and final generation - The last Ford C-Max was rolled off production lines in 2018. Production of the minivan continued in Germany for a year, but it was done in the US market. According to Motor Biscuit, Ford's C-Max was a vehicle that was offered as a hybrid wagon in 2013. There were quite a few benefits associated with the energy-efficient vehicle. It came out at a time when hybrids were high-priced because of their advanced technology. Ford kept the prices at an affordable level when compared to other hybrids offered by the competition. The starting price of a new C-Max was just $24,000. Another perk of the C-Max is that the costs associated with ownership were also low. It was also offered in a version called the Energi which was a plug-in. The initial sales of the C-Max were high and this encouraged Ford for the first few years.

Continuation of the C-Max minivan in Germany

According to Auto News, The C-Max continued to be built in Germany for an additional year after it was discontinued in the United States. This was a trend that also included a switch over to build the Focus model in its stead, however, 5,000 jobs were cut at the manufacturing plant and the night shift was discontinued.

Whatever happened to the Ford C-Max?

There was a controversy over the C-Max. MotorTrend and Consumer Reports reported a different figure for the fuel economy ratings that were reported from EPA ratings. There were multiple complaints lodged because of the discrepancy. The gas mileage of the C-Max was a big deal that cost the company in terms of sales. The model became less popular and Ford was eventually forced to discontinue its production.

Mixed reviews

The C-Max did have a few drawbacks. In addition to the mix up over the fuel efficiency rating, other issues led to consumer complaints. The cargo area was a lot smaller than what consumers expected. The interior was also outdated and it was in serious need of an upgrade in the later model vehicles. Although the quality for most of the models was of exceptional quality, the standard cloth seats generated a lot of complaints and had a cheap feel.

The safety features included in the C-Max were not as plenteous as in some other vehicles. The Ford MyKey along with the backup camera were the only features that came with the base model. If consumers wanted to pay more they could add the optional features including blind-spot monitors and parallel parking assistance, but it would come at a price. Still, the C-Max performed well in crash testing with high scores. Another complaint was with the regenerative brakes as they tend to be grabby on wet surfaces.

Aside from the negatives, Consumer Reports cites the Ford C-Max is one of the best cars that are currently available on the used car market. Road testing ratings came in high and owners gave the 2017 model a 77 percent approval rating. The vehicle was rated as one of the most reliable cars on the market, with comfortable ride quality and a rating of 37 mpg in fuel economy. The acceleration ratings were also high with plenty of pep for quick takeoffs. The hybrid gives the C-Max a good range of up to 20 miles when using all-electric power. It's relatively quiet in the cabin with very little road noise and it handles like a sporty vehicle.

Final thoughts

The Ford C-Max endured five generations of success but it had its ups and downs. One major misstep in quoting the fuel economy ratings brought down a torrent of criticisms and complaints. Although there was still an audience for the model, Ford decided to discontinue its production in 2018 and to go with a focus on other areas that would be less complicated and more profitable in the long run. The Ford CMax may have had a few flaws with mixed reviews, but overall, it remains one of the most reliable MVPs that Ford has ever built. It goes down in the history books as the automaker's first-ever hybrid minivan and there is still a market for the vehicle under the use category.

Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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