2013-ford-cmax-hybridAs a runner, I wanted to pay my respects to the Boston Marathoners; as an environmentalist, I didn’t want to use a lot of gas to go to Boston.

We had no choice but to drive to Boston to pick my daughter up at college; the self-same daughter who refuses to eat industrialized food or buy clothing produced in sweatshops.

So we chose the Ford C-Max Hybrid, which got an amazing 44 mpg on our trip. I had heard that the car did not deliver on its promised 47 mpg, but the C-Max came tantalizingly close. When SheBuysCars reviewed the C-Max in February, Scotty Reiss noted some of the reasons why the car might not get the promised gas mileage, and also some of its very smart options. 

ProductReviewSo I was excited that the C-Max I test drove didn’t skimp on amenities. This model had an optional navigation system and premium audio, a power lift gate, keyless entry and starter, and one of my favorite features, a rear view camera. All for under $32,000.

Unlike the parental ‘eyes in back of your head,’ the rear camera doesn’t let you see your kids poking each other in the back seat. But it does give you a clear view when you back out of a parking spot, or need to back down the street because a garbage truck is blocking traffic (a city hazard).

fully loadedWe used every inch of the Ford C-Max Hybrid.But the rear view camera was a bit too sensitive for parallel parking in New York City. It started beeping like mad every time I parked on the street, then emitted a hopeless long bleat in resignation as I eased into a spot. For street parking, you may want to omit this option.

The nav system had a hands-free voice controlled option, which was great. But, it had scattershot directions; it lost us on the New Jersey Turnpike and suggested 4 or 5 turns to bring us back to the road we were already on. And it wanted me to make an illegal left turn onto my block.

The navigation system did offer real time traffic updates, and reasonable detours to avoid them, so I’m not sure why the directions had glitches. The graphics were also really cool, showing you road signs ahead.

Once we loaded my daughter’s stuff into the car, we only had room (and just barely room) for three passengers, but we did drive for a while comfortably with three smallish adults in the back seat. The trunk had plenty of space for grocery shopping (note the reusable bags in the video) but for a road trip, you couldn’t really fit 5 people, plus suitcases, sports gear and all the shoes and vegetarian snacks my daughters need for travel.

What We Loved
The clear, easy to use instrument panel
The fold down back seat so you can pack up a college kid
The Sirius XM Satellite radio
Climate control that let you cool just the driver (saves even more energy)
The super quiet ride
The navigation system’s graphics

What You Need to Know
Price of the model I drove $31,705
Gas mileage was awesome but not quite the promised 47 mph
The navigation system has glitches; we used our iPhone as a back up
You can fit 3 adults comfortably in the back seat, but you won’t have much luggage room

Disclosure: Ford provided the C-Max for my test drive; opinions expressed are entirely my own.