Green Diva Road Trip – Ford C-Max Review 1: First Date

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One of the perks of being a Green Diva is getting to review cool products. I’ve received everything from a box of dry ice filled with amazing gluten-free goodies to a sustainable leather jacket (yes, I had a hard time with the sustainability factor on that one, but it was adorable on me!). But by far my favorite things to review, although I generally don’t get to keep them, are the cars.

Don’t be under any delusion that Green Divas get paid much cash, but when this little cutie rolled up in front of Green Divas HQ (aka my house), there was some compensation in the thrill of being a Green Diva. THIS is a serious test drive. We had two cars totaled during Sandy and are looking for the next GD mobile. I gathered a lot of intel at the Detroit auto show and to my surprise, one of my top three choices is the Ford C-Max. I’m enamored with the C-Max Energi, which is a plug-in hybrid, so this is what the good people of Ford (and their smart PR agency – Ogilvy) sent for me to drive for a week! Yes, I feel like a diva in earnest now . . .

The last time I did one of these week-long driving reviews was in 2009 when the Lexus HS 250 Hybrid was about to launch. Here’s the last of that green divas blog post series on my Eco-Luxury Ride. I really loved that car and was bedazzled by all the new tech and gadgetry, but since then, my husband has had not one, but TWO Lexus Hybrid SUVs, and while I rarely get to drive it, I’ve gotten more accustomed to the hybrid tech and the slightly new way of driving for optimal fuel-efficiency it offers.

The C-Max has trumped my virgin hybrid review week and I’m in love again . . . Fascinated with the plug-in aspect and there are new gauges and displays to learn and understand. I love that instead of an RPM gauge, I have a ‘coach’ that is trying to help educate me about how to drive with maximum fuel-efficiency in a plug-in hybrid. I haven’t really read the manual yet – that is like the LAST thing I tend to do in a new car – but I think it is trying to tell me that breaking softly is good and that I recharge the battery every time I brake, so I’ve been driving around all day breaking. I’ve never driven slower in my life, but I find it to be a new personal goal to make that battery not only last, but increase and stretch its charge!

Speaking of charging . . . it was ridiculously simple to charge with an outlet in our garage . . .

Ok, I confess that I did crack open the quick reference guide to see about driving in EV mode. I had it in my head that I would see how far I could travel in my day on battery only. If I’m reading correctly, it only goes about 20 miles on EV power alone? If the mileage is estimated to be 47 mpg for fuel, than this is the equivalent of under a half a gallon of gas? seems hardly worth it, but I’ll read the book tonight and report in tomorrow on that.

After the first night of charging for about 9 hours, I only got 12 miles range on EV only. hmmmmm. I went out today and used my best braking and cruising practices according to my new driving coach, and I think I ended up getting about 14 miles out of it before it flipped over to the hybrid. I only had about 3 miles to travel home from there, so I used very little gasoline today! I felt a small sense of triumph having used much less gas than I normally would’ve.

We’ll plug er in tonight for a bit longer and see if we can get closer to 20 miles range. Please tune in tomorrow for another update. I brought in the manual, so I will read up tonight . . . maybe . . .

eat. drive. be merry!

About the author / 

Green Diva Meg'

(aka Megan McWilliams) is a green living expert and media personality as the producer and host of the Green Divas Radio Show. She has been sharing low-stress ways of living a deeper shade of green for over 20 years. She also produces podcasts and videos for the Green Divas and other clients through the Green Diva Studio.

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    Ron Kramer March 24, 2013 at 11:38 pm -  Reply

    Open letter to Ford:

    I thought my 2013 C-MAX would be a Prius Killer? NOT! As a returning Ford buyer I feel deceived. I want to support US companies and US jobs. What was Ford thinking when they published 47/ 47/47 estimates? Based on the advertised EPA estimates, I would have been ok with low 40’s but 28-33 mpg is not even in the ballpark. This is not an issue about EPA testing standards, but rather an issue about setting false customer expectations in order to promote sales. Ford’s “47MPG” marketing campaign tarnished what should have been the roll out of a truly remarkable vehicle, the CMAX. Real world MPG estimates should have been promoted in the mid-30’s. No one would have questioned those numbers and the CMAX would have received the accolades it deserves. How these MPG estimates made it through Ford corporate is beyond me! Maybe it was the rush to go to market? I have been accused of not knowing how to drive hybrid. For the record, during the last three years I have leased both a 2010 Prius and 2010 Honda Insight Hybrid, and consider myself an experienced hyper-miler. My mileage in the Prius is 50 plus, the Insight is 40 plus. The C-MAX is a well-built car, with extremely inflated EPA estimates. I respectfully request that this matter be investigated as soon as possible. My efforts to deal with this locally and through Ford customer service have frustrated me to no end. The constant response? “You need to learn to how to drive hybrid type of vehicle “. Is there a difference how I drive Prius Hybrid vs. the CMAX hybrid? I think we all know the answer to that. I need someone at Ford to reach out to me and assist in a proactive manner so we can put this matter to rest.

    Ronald Kramer Yankee Ford Customer
    South Portland, Maine

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