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Hybrid Wars! Ford Takes on Toyota

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Ford C-Max 'SmartGauge'

Ford C-Max ‘SmartGauge’

Ford Motor Company is going all out with marketing for its new 2013 C-Max Hybrid, pitting the sleek entry directly against its number one rival, Toyota’s Prius V. Sources at Ford say they hope about half of all new C-Max owners are “captures” from Toyota, in other words, buyers who would otherwise have purchased the Toyota product. Marketing aside, how do the two stack up against each other on an objective basis? That is what most consumers want to know.

In the area of fuel efficiency, C-Max wins out by a few points, with its 47/44 mpg, against the Prius V’s 44/40 statistic. Other basic comparisons show the Ford on top as well, with its 2.0-liter engine cranking out 188 horses and boasting a 500-mile total range. Prius V has a slightly smaller, 1.8-liter engine, 134 horse power, and nickel-metal-hydride batteries (as opposed to Ford’s more common lithium-ion pack).

Most consumers make price a large part of their car buying equation, and in this case, the C-Max wins out by more than $1,300, since the Prius V starts at $27,310, and the C-Max at $25,995. The C-Max has some unique Ford tweaks too, like a hands-free liftgate and the company’s patented Active Park Assist technology.

Ford C-Max hybrid

Ford C-Max hybrid

To be thorough, for drivers who want cargo space, the C-Max definitely does not come out on top of the comparison. Prius V has about 10 more cubic feet of space than Ford’s hybrid, along with the advantage of proven reliability. Hard to quantify, objectively anyway, reliability and a proven track record are golden assets that the Prius possesses. C-Max is a new entry into the hybrid arena and will have to spend at least a couple of years earning its reputation. If all goes well, though, Ford will likely have a decent share of the lucrative hybrid market by the middle of this decade.

For more about the C-Max hybrid from Ford, see the official website for the vehicle:
http://www.ford.com/cars/cmax/2013/

Larry Bell writes about cars, gadgets, business, and history. He has been a professional writer and editor for over 20 years and enjoys all car-related topics, especially electric and hybrid vehicle news. Larry covers the auto industry for MPA and often reports live from the floor of major shows in Detroit, LA, San Francisco, Phoenix, Las Vegas and elsewhere.

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