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MotorSpaceNW’s Holiday to Fordneyland (3)


C-MAX. Think minivan, crossed with a crossover, void of the unmentionable characteristics of a mini-van. It seats seven, has dual sliding doors, runs on gasoline, hybrid or plug-in hybrid technology. Ford claims it will out perfrom the Chevy Volt. 

With comparable dimensions to orignal mini-vans, the C-MAX represents yet another progressively BOLD move from Ford. 


I first laid eyes on the C-Max in Michigan at Ford's newly refurbished Michigan assembly plant. Before the presentation of several secretive new vehicles, lunch was catered and delicious. 

Alan Mulally and other Ford celebrities were swarmed by auto-press vultures as if they were Paris Hilton with a job. I hung back at my table, ate pumpkin chili and chatted with a lesser-known Ford executive about football. I'm pretty sure it was more productive than loosing a finger in the press scrum. 

At the presentation of the secret vehicles, the C-MAX was the first to spin out onto the revolving stage. 

“What?” was my first impression. But then I listened attentively to Ford’s presenters relay facts such as these:

-If you like gas engines, but not the thirsty kind, the C-MAX is available with Ford’s first application of the all-new 1.6-liter EcoBoost I-4 engine in its North American C-class vehicles (168hp/173lb.-ft torque).

-The lil’ I-4 is all-alluminum, combines high-pressure direct injection, low-inertia turbocharging and twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) for a fuel economy up to 20 percent better than naturally aspirated, larger-displacement gasoline engines with a similar power output, resulting in what Ford belives will be class leading power and fuel economy.

Fun Fact:

“By 2013, 90 percent of Ford’s vehicles in North America will be available with EcoBoost, with I-4 engines making up 66 percent of the EcoBoost lineup.”

With that, the first C-MAX swivled out of sight behind the high-tec stage curtain. A music change took place, different lighitng schemes illuminated the scene and two alternate versions of the C-Max spun out to the audience’s attention:

C-MAX Energi- Ford’s first-ever production 
plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

C-MAX Hybrid- A full hybrid variant that’s set to land in North America in 2012 and Europe in 2013. 

After witnessing the gasoline-powered C-MAX, these two electrified introductions gave me the impression I was watching a live action evolutionary chart of the automobile, or at least a calculated one-upper on the blue ribbon guys at Chevrolet. 

From the press release:

“C-MAX Energi targets more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) of driving range using the battery and engine, more than any other plug-in or extended-range vehicle. It also targets AT-PZEV (Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle) status and delivers better charge-sustaining fuel economy than Chevrolet Volt.” 

As for the Hybrid C-MAX, Ford says its capable of better fuel economy than the 41mpg Ford Fusion Hybrid, due in part to the C-MAX’s ability to operate in fuel-saving electric mode beyond 47mph. 

Keep in mind we’re talking about a vehicle comparable in size to a minivan,that Ford themselves has compared to a minivan. But the C-Max is supposed to be better than its family-oriented inspiration. 

Whether it actually will be or not is still hard to say, regardless of how many factoids I throw around here. Having said that, it looks good on paper and dazzled me on the spinny platform thing. 

Two more titilating cars graced the carousell before the presentation was over. One was a concept. The other was the new Ford Focus, which by the way, just got a whole lot sexier. 


-One of the cars was an all-electric version of the Focus (No plug-in required). 

-I’ve been invited to the launch of the new Focus later this month in Los Angeles. 

Stay Tuned.

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