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2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid Gas Mileage Testing Notes

I’m in the midst of an extended two-week test of the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid. Given all the brouhaha in the press lately, I decided to post our fuel economy testing notes, with details on each of the driving segments.

I picked up the C-Max in New York City on the evening of Monday, December 3. The first test run left Manhattan through the Holland Tunnel to the New Jersey Turnpike South to Route 78 West to Route 287 North to Route 202 South, before hitting local streets. I didn’t discover the EcoCruise setting until the highway segment was complete.

1) 12/3 NYC -> Home / Evening – approx 60 miles, 41.8 MPG HVAC on driver + 2 passengers EcoCruise off Target Speed 68, mix of cruise/no cruise, headlamps

The next day, I set out to replicate the high MPG back road/small town cruise that scored exceptionally well with the 2012 Prius C earlier this year. I was able to echo those results.

65.8 MPG in the Ford C-Max Hybrid

2) 12/4 Rural/Small Town crawl – 65 MPG (roughly equal to the Prius C) no HVAC driver only

After that stunt drive, it was onto the more mundane and repetitive commuting segments …

3) 12/5 Rural/Suburban morning commute – 51.7 MPG – 38 miles low fifties temp no HVAC driver + 1 passenger 50%

4) 12/5 Rural/Suburban evening commute – 49.3 – 37.9 miles mid forties, driver +1 passenger 50%, HVAC 50%, Lights on

5) 12/6 Thursday Morning Run to Train Station – 42.8 MPG – 12 miles, Cross town low thirties, driver +1 passenger, No HVAC, heated seats at 3/5

6) 12/6 Thursday Morning Run from Train Station Home, Stop at Target – 51.1 MPG – 13.9 miles, Cross town/Great Road, mid 30s, driver, no HVAC, car warmed up

7) 12/6 Thursday Night Roundtrip to Train Station and back – 42 MPG – 25.3 miles, Cross town mid twenties, 50% driver only/50%+1 passenger, HVAC 25% of time, heated seats at 3/5, headlamps

8 ) 12/7 Friday Morning Rural/Suburban commute – 44.8 MPG – 38.9 miles 25-31 degrees temp, part HVAC, seat heaters 3/5 driver + 1 passenger 50%

9) 12/7 Friday Late Morning Roundtrip to Train Station and back – 43.4 MPG – 25.9 miles, Cross town mid thirties, 50% driver only/50%+1 passenger, HVAC 25% of time, heated seats at 3/5, headlamps, rain, wipers

10) 12/7 Friday Rural/Suburban evening commute – 46.2 MPG – 38.6 miles mid thirties temp, part HVAC, seat heaters 2/5 driver + 1 passenger 50%

11) 12/7 Friday Night trip to Train Station, destination WaWa – 46.4 MPG – 21.8 miles, Cross town mid thirties, 80% driver only/20%+1 passenger, HVAC 25% of time, heated seats at 3/5, headlamps

I got around to highway testing on Saturday, as per our normal schedule.

12 ) 12/8 Saturday – mid day – 42.4 MPG – Interstate Highway Cruise set to 68 MPH – no HVAC,

13 ) 12/8 Saturday – mid day – 43.8 MPG – Interstate Highway no cruise, Target Speed 60-72 MPH

14 ) 12/8 Saturday – mid day – 46.4 MPG – Interstate Highway Cruise set to 60 MPH – no HVAC

Switched EcoCruise and EV+ OFF

15 ) 12/8 Saturday – mid day – Twisty Backroad Blast – 53.2 MPG – 14.9 Miles after refueling at BP, through Pennington down Pennington Rocky Hill road, down Mountain View. No HVAC, No heated seats. 51 degrees. Driver only.

16 ) 12/9 Rainy Sunday Night trip for FroYo – Outbound – 31.9 MPG 5.6 miles up 206, HVAC, 40 degrees, rain, wipers, headlamps, driver +2 passengers

16 ) 12/9 Rainy Sunday Night trip for FroYo – Return – 44.1 MPG – 5.7 miles up 206, HVAC, 40 degrees, rain, wipers, headlamps, driver +2 passengers

17) 12/10 Monday Night Roundtrip to Train Station and back – 46.8 MPG – 25.3 miles, Cross town mid fifties, 50% driver only/50%+1 passenger, HVAC intermittent to defrost, heated seats at 0/5, headlamps, damp, foggy, occasional wipers

17) 12/11 Tuesday Afternoon/Rush Hour Roundtrip to Train Station and back – 46.3 MPG – 29.5 miles, Cross town mid forties, 50% driver only/50%+1 passenger, HVAC 50%, heated seats at 0/5 50%, headlamps

18) 12/12 Wednesday Rural/Suburban morning commute – 41.1 MPG – 37.9 miles high twenties – low thirties temp, HVAC, driver + 1 passenger 50%, heated seats at 3/5 50% 3/0 50%

19) 12/12 Wednesday Rural/Suburban Evening commute – 47.5 MPG – 37.9 miles high thirties temp, HVAC intermittent, driver + 1 passenger 50%, heated seats at 3/5 50% 3/0 50%

20) 12/13 Thursday Evening Roundtrip to Train Station and back – 39.7 MPG – 29.0 miles, Cross town mid twenties, 50% driver only/50%+1 passenger, HVAC, heated seats at 3/0 50% 3/5 50%, headlamps

21) 12/14 Friday Morning Round trip to Train Station and back – 42.5 MPG – 22.8 miles, Cross town mid thirties, 50% driver only/50%+1 passenger, HVAC, heated seats at 3/0 50% 3/5 50%

22) 12/16 Sunday Ride up US Route 1 – 45.2 MPG – 1.7 miles, mid forties, warm start driver only, HVAC, heated seats at 3/0

23) 12/17 River Road to Millstone – Fill – 37.7 MPG – 8.2 miles, mid forties, driver only, HVAC, heated seats at 3/0

24) 12/17 Millstone to NYC – 45.4 MPG – 48.1 miles, mid forties, warm start (after fill up) driver only, HVAC, heated seats at 3/0. (Route: From Millstone through Bound Brook, then Mountain Avenue to Morning Glory Road To Mountain Boulevard to Mount Bethel Road to King George Road to Interstate 78 to the New Jersey Turnpike North to the Holland Tunnel, to the West Side Highway to destination.

Temperature appears to be a significant factor, not just in initial warm-up, but in over-the-road performance. The system prevents EV mode when the engine cools down, while en route on colder days. This is likely to be a system safeguard.

Have yet to start a segment with a full battery.

- by

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15 comments ↓

#1 joe vona on 12.16.12 at 9:07 pm

when you say your target speed is 60-72 mph do you mean accelerate up to 72 mph and coast down to 60 mph, like when using the pulse and glide technique ?
thanks, joe vona

#2 mpg-o-editor on 12.16.12 at 10:46 pm

Great question, Joe! I did not use a pulse and glide technique on the highway tests with the C-Max. I always try to run at least two highway loops with every vehicle. The first loop is with the cruise control set at 68 MPH (conditions permitting) and the second is with cruise control off, with the speed varying between 60 and 72, depending on traffic. If you think of a three lane highway, the cruise segment is center lane, while the 60-72 segment is right (slow) lane.

#3 John on 12.17.12 at 9:43 pm

So why don’t you post the MPG over an extended amount of time? It looks like you are reading the (ever fluctuating) instantaneous gas mileage each day. Try leaving things alone and just drive the car for awhile, then post the average mpg after 2 tanks of gas. I don’t believe the numbers you are posting at all. I have seen nothing over 35 mpg, and I’ve driven it for over 2 months now.

#4 mpg-o-editor on 12.18.12 at 7:11 am

John – Fear not. I will be posting the average MPG on two tank fills. These calculations are for specific routes at different temperatures. Temperature appears to be of the key issues with the C-Max. Short trips in colder temperatures are a tough nut for all hybrids. Over all, you need to reign in the right foot to get the numbers out of the C-Max, no doubt about that.

Lets see if we can get your numbers up! :)

Some questions for you:

What is your daily commute like? (distance, elevation changes, types of roads, average speeds)
What are your daily temperatures?
How well do you score on the Coach screen for acceleration, braking, and cruising?
How well do you score on individual brake regens?
Do you consciously regen?
Do you use EcoCruise and EV+ Modes?
Do you use the Empower, Engage, or Enlighten screens?
Do you check the Trip Summary screen each time you shut the car down?
What did you drive prior to the C-Max?
Have you spent a significant amount of time driving another hybrid?

#5 Drew on 12.21.12 at 1:53 pm

A while ago I saw you post the 0-60 in the 2013 Miata, and was tantalized with a non-functioning link to a review! When do you think that will be up? I want to see what kind of mileage that gets when you drive it like a normal car. Not like anyone will. :)

#6 mpg-o-editor on 12.21.12 at 2:10 pm

The Miata is a sweet little car. :) Hang in there, Drew! I don’t have any cars on the review schedule for a couple of weeks, starting next week. That’ll give me a chance to catch up on the stack of footage that’s sitting on my desk. It takes way too long to knock out these reviews, even more so with longer formats. My iMac has been chomping on C-Max footage for close to five hours today …

#7 Drew on 12.21.12 at 3:07 pm

haha totally fine. Make sure to take some time off for Christmas! Your mac might appreciate it too.

#8 Adair on 12.23.12 at 12:31 pm

When do you think your full review of the C- Max might be ready? Really appreciate your detailed notes on the times you drove it. It really helps.

Oh, and Merry Christmas, too!

Adair

#9 mpg-o-editor on 12.23.12 at 1:02 pm

Many thanks, Adair! If all goes well, I’ll have the C-Max review posted on the 26th. I’m still cutting the video, in the midst of everything else. It’s kinda huge. Need to edit down a bit. :) A Very Merry Christmas to you, too!

#10 Joaquin on 12.30.12 at 4:05 pm

Good video of the cold start c-max hybrid, you right about what it takes to get great gas mileage in a hybrid car, i have a 2012 fusion hybrid and love it, your 2010 fusion hybrid review is what got me into getting one, thanks for great reviews they help out alot!

#11 Joaquin on 12.30.12 at 4:11 pm

I have a question, the correct way to get the average mpg in my car per every trip is to first start up my car, then press reset and start drivng after correct ? I have a 2012 fusion hybrid.

#12 mpg-o-editor on 12.30.12 at 5:28 pm

Many thanks for the kind words, Joaquin. Great to hear you’re happy with the new Fusion Hybrid. I’m looking forward to testing that one. :)

#13 mpg-o-editor on 12.30.12 at 5:31 pm

Yep. The start will consume a bit of gasoline if the engine kicks over before you reset. The summary screen on shut down is very cool. There will always be variations to some degree.

#14 Fynack on 02.21.13 at 11:34 am

Where are the overall mpg numbers per tank or lifetime?

#15 mpg-o-editor on 02.21.13 at 12:24 pm

@Fynack – We saw 41 MPG even, based on tank fills.

Full review: http://www.mpgomatic.com/2012/12/27/2013-ford-c-max-sel-hybrid-review/

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