Hybrids & Electrics

The 2017 Ford C-Max is a Surprisingly Good Used Hybrid Car

Ford is definitely more well known for its heavy-duty options but they have also been known to shake things up to be more competitive in today’s dynamic car market. Look at the Ford C-Max Hybrid for example. Ford intended for the C-Max Hybrid to go head-to-head with other hybrid models like the Toyota Prius. If you’re looking for a good used hybrid option to buy, the 2017 C-Max is one of the most reliable options out there according to Consumer Reports data.

Background on the C-Max

DETROIT, MI, - NOVEMBER 8: Ford electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles are displayed at the Michigan Assembly Plant November 8, 2012 in Wayne, Michigan. The plant is the only one in the world that builds vehicles with five different fuel efficient powertrains on the same line. Ford held an event today at the plant that celebrated the launch of the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid.
Ford electric and hybrid lineup in 2012 ⎹ Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

When it was introduced back in 2013, the C-Max Hybrid made a huge splash by being more fun to drive than the Prius. Unfortunately, sales didn’t match the C-Max’s swag and Ford officially stopped production on the model in 2018. The C-Max is still a good option though that packs lots of utility into a small package.

C-Max style

As you have probably already noticed, the C-Max Hybrid gets its style from its corporate sibling, the Ford Focus. The C-Max’s five-door hatchback body design is super functional and helps to maximize the C-Max’s small shape. Many enthusiasts also appreciated that the C-Max wasn’t as funky looking compared to rivals like the Prius.

What the C-Max drives like 

There are two powertrain options for the C-Max. The C-Max Hybrid is the traditional hybrid option that we first mentioned and the C-Max Energi option is the plug-in version. Both of these options consist of a four-cylinder gas engine combined with an electric motor.

Instead of relying on a conventional automatic transmission, both C-Max models are paired with a gearless continuously variable transmission. Because of this pairing, the C-Max feels surprisingly smooth and controlled. While the C-Max Hybrid’s total 188-horsepower may not sound all that impressive, CR says that it basically feels like a rocket ship compared to the Prius. 

The C-Max Hybrid gets a combined 37 mpg which is also rather noteworthy. This hybrid option can also go about 35 mph on electric power alone and can cruise on electric power at speeds under 85 mph. The plug-in version offers a little more oomph with a 195-hp.

On the inside

What also might surprise you is that the C-Max Hybrid is pretty spacious for a car its size. It’s easy to get in and out of, plus its driver visibility is excellent. The C-Max Hybrid’s features are pretty basic though. Standard features include a six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, and voice recognition. 

For more impressive features, look for models equipped with the SYNC 3 system which includes an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment display, Siri Eyes Free, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and navigation. And speaking of additional features to look for, you might also want to look for models that specifically come with leather upholstery. One downside associated with the C-Max Hybrid is that its standard cloth interior looks too cheap.

Overall reliability scores

Throughout its relatively short existence, the Ford C-Max earned great reliability ratings based on extensive Consumer Reports testings. Across 17 potential trouble spots including the engine, transmission, and electrical system‑ the 2017 C-Max Hybrid model did particularly well. Owner satisfaction is also impressive. Right now, the 2017 C-Max Hybrid ranges from $12,450 to $15,325.