Ford C-Max Hybrid: 47 mpg for $25,995

Ford C-Max HybridFord is expecting its C-Max Hybrid to be one green machine. The Blue Oval released power, fuel economy, and price figures for the tall hatchback, which will go on sale this fall as a 2013 model.

For every hybrid, the headline number is fuel economy. The C-Max should impress with an estimated 47 mpg city and 44 mpg highway. Its overall range will be 500 miles. The C-Max Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter I-4 and an electric motor with lithium-ion battery pack. Total system output is 188 hp. The C-Max may be frugal, but don’t expect it to be fast.

The C-Max is essentially a Focus hatchback with a taller roof for more interior space. That makes the Toyota Prius V, a tall-roofed version of the all-conquering Prius, its natural competition.

On paper, the C-Max seems to have the V beat. In both city and highway driving, the Ford returns three more mpg than the Toyota, which is rated at 44 city and 40 highway mpg.

Most owners probably won’t take their hybrid hatchbacks drag racing, but those that do might want to know that the C-Max has 54 more horsepower than the Prius V.

The extra mpg and horsepower don’t require extra cash, either. Ford says the C-Max Hybrid will sticker for $25,995, which makes it $1,285 less than the Prius V.

The tall-roofed hybrid hatchback market may be a party of two, but Ford is planning an even greener version of the C-Max. The C-Max Energi is a plug-in hybrid; it has a larger battery pack that can be charged through an outlet when the car is parked.

Ford says the C-Max Energi will deliver better fuel economy and range than Toyota’s plug-in Prius. In that case, the numbers to beat are 95 MPGe and 11 miles of all-electric driving.

Both the C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi will be five-passenger models. Ford does sell a long-wheelbase, seven-passenger C-Max (called Grand C-Max) in Europe, but that version will not be sold here right away and will only come with conventional powertrains.

Ford dealers are taking orders for the C-Max Hybrid, which goes on sale this fall. The C-Max Energi will go on sale shortly after the Hybrid. Both versions will be built at Ford’s Wayne, Michigan plant, which uses solar energy for some of its power. The company expects half of C-Max Hybrid sales to be “conquests” from other brands.

With the C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi, Ford is trying to win over car shoppers the old fashioned way: by making cars that perform better and cost less than the competition’s.

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