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Quick Spin: Ford C-Max Energi hybrid hatchback takes aim at the Prius

Tech Specs

Base Price: $36,999; as tested $42,864

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder hybrid with a permanent magnet a/c electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery pack

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Transmission/drive: CVT/front-drive

Fuel Economy (litres/100 km): 4.2 city; 1.8 highway

Alternatives: Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, Kia Forte5, Honda Fit, Chev Cruze Diesel.

Performance

8.0 A nice combination of responsiveness and comfort. Mellower than a Honda Fit, but not as pillowy as a Prius. Excellent brakes, thanks to the regenerative braking set-up.

Looks

9.0 Bingo. Hybrid cars just don't come any better looking. It is European without being ostentatious. Don't think of this as hybrid; think of it as a hatchback that gets good mileage.

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Interior

8.0 You lose some storage because of the battery pack, but it's still competitive. I play drums in a band and the C-Max Energi will accommodate a five-piece kit, with the back seats folded. Gotta be thoughtful about it, though.

Technology

8.5 Ford's hybrid drive is as up-to-date as anything on the market. The transition from electric to internal combustion isn't as unobtrusive as a Prius, but definitely manageable.

The Verdict

8.5 It is equal to the Prius in every way. The only unknown is its long-term reliability, and the C-Max still has to prove itself.

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