Ford definitely appears to have Toyota in its sights with its 2013 C-MAX line. Having already revealed the C-MAX Hybrid will be cheaper than Toyota’s Prius v, the U.S. automaker is now boasting that its hybrid utility vehicle beats the Prius v in the fuel economy stakes by up to 7 mpg (2.9 km/l). It is also the first vehicle to offer the same fuel economy rating in both city and highway driving.

The EPA has officially certified Ford’s 2013 C-MAX Hybrid at 47 mpg (5 l/100 km) in the city and 47 mpg on the highway, for a combined rating of – you guessed it – 47 mpg. Compare this to the Prius v, which gets 44 mpg (5.3 l/100 km) city, 40 mpg (5.8 l/100 km) highway, for a combined rating of 42 mpg (5.6 l/100 km).

“We’ve done this with innovation – represented by nearly 500 hybrid patents – while driving costs down 30 percent so we can bring these fuel-saving vehicles to more customers,” said Ford Vice President of Powertrain Engineering Joe Bakaj.

While hybrid vehicles have traditionally returned superior fuel-economy figures in city driving thanks in large part to the use of regenerative braking in stop/start city traffic, Ford says higher-speed innovations, such as ECO Cruise, which optimizes powertrain elements for highway driving, have now allowed highway driving fuel economy to catch up to city performance.

C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid

But it’s not just the fuel economy of its C-MAX Hybrid model that has Ford thumping its chest. With a top electric-only speed of 85 mph (136.7 km/h), the company is claiming the fastest electric-only speed of any plug-in hybrid for its C-MAX Energi model. This means it outdoes the Prius by more than 20 mph (32 km/h).

Ford is also quick to point out that the Energi's overall range of 550 miles (885 km) also outdoes the Prius, which has a range of 540 miles (869 km). Its 20 mile (32 km) electric only range is also more than triple that of the Prius, which has an electric only range of six miles (9.6 km).

Energi drivers can switch between three driving modes using a button mounted in the center stack.

  • In EV: Auto mode, both the electric motor and the gasoline engine are used for propulsion, with the powertrain computer selecting the appropriate blend of the two based on driving conditions and current battery charge.
  • EV: Now mode sees the vehicle running only on battery power and activates a special Manage EV screen to allow the driver to monitor energy usage.
  • In EV: Later mode, the vehicle operates in normal hybrid mode but plug-in power is reserved until the driver switches to one of the other two modes.
  • And in one final dig at Toyota, Ford points out that a fully charged C-MAX Energi delivers 195 hp, compared to 188 hp for the Toyota Prius.

    The C-MAX Hybrid is due to go on sale in the U.S. in the third quarter of 2012 retailing from US$25,995 (which Ford again points out is $1,300 less than the Toyota Prius v), while the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid variant is set to arrive at EV Certified Ford dealers this (northern hemisphere) autumn, with nationwide availability by early 2013.

    Source: Ford

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