2016 Ford C-Max Driving Impressions

Even though the portly 3700-pound C-Max is heavier than the Prius, it feels perkier thanks to the 195 combined horsepower, and it doesn’t struggle going uphill. Steering is precise and balanced, maybe not as good as the Focus but better than most small crossovers. It feels solid, with good road feel and driving fun while giving the driver confidence.

Hill Descent Control is standard, useful on ice. There’s an L mode that gives more regenerative braking to gain more electric energy; it feels like Low gear in an automatic transmission. The blending of electric and friction braking is a challenge for an engineer, very difficult to execute smoothly, and in the C-Max it’s almost imperceptible.

With an electric range of 19 miles, the Energi model is a useful small-town car. Or drive 10 or 12 miles to work, charge it there, and drive home. Use the gas motor for weekend trips. It all works in the right circumstance.

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