our drive of the new model at the Hollywood-chic Andaz Hotel by Hyatt, near the
heart of Tinseltown. Motoring along Sunset Boulevard, we headed west to the
coast, where we traveled northward on the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu-this
was the portion of the drive that was a Fuel Economy Challenge.
We like the
looks of the C-Max Hybrid’s exterior outside; it sports the familiar look of
many popular crossover-styled vehicles on the road these days. It has angled
and sparkling headlamps, a steeply raked windshield and an aerodynamic slant
from the top of the A-pillar (front) to the C-pillar (rear), and a convenient
liftgate (available with power as an option). The wheels are attractive 17-inch
out about the C-MAX Hybrid is its wide, grinning front grille that is both bold
and functional, allowing for better ventilation to heat and cool the engine
find is more roomy and plush than one might expect for a non-luxury hybrid. The
instrument cluster includes Ford’s “SmartGauge,” which includes a speedometer
and a leaf-and-vines themed display that shows you how eco-friendly your driving
style is—hence, the leaves! SmartGuage also has a brake display designed to
teach you how to best use the regenerative braking power – as with many
electric and hybrid vehicles, C-MAX’s braking system generates power to charge
the battery, so making the most out of braking can add more eco-friendly miles
to your trip.
that its new hybrid has 15 features that cannot be found on other cars in this
class, from heated seat cushions and voice-activated navigation to the Blue
Oval’s Sync hands-free infotainment system and a power liftgate, with
hands-free opening, even without pressing the key fob; a kick motion under the
rear bumper releases the rear hatch! Among a long list of standard features are
a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter; six-way adjustable driver seats;
an anti-allergic interior;110 Volt powerpoint and 2-12 Volt outlets; keyless
entry; AM/FM/CD/ MP3 audio with 6 speakers, auxiliary input jack and USB;
driver/passenger blind spot mirrors; tilt/telescoping steering wheel; overhead
storage; redundant audio controls; speed control; a rear window defroster with
timer; tire pressure monitoring system; rear spoiler; and ambient lighting that
gives the interior a Tron-like feel at night. Ford also says the new C-Max is
so advanced that there are 500 patents on the new model that is built on Ford’s
European 5-seater compact utility platform.
high roofline and greater head (41.0 front; 39.4 rear) and legroom (43.1 front;
36.5 rear) than Prius, the C-MAX Hybrid seats five comfortably, with plenty of
room for cargo or a family camping trip in the rear, although the Prius v has
more cargo-carrying capacity. Back seats split and fold 60/40 for pass-through
storage, making way for 52.6 cu.ft. when folded, and 24.5 cu.ft., when upright.
There’s also second row, in-floor storage – what a great way to corral those
iPads, coloring books and other backseat clutter.
Hybrid is powered by a hybrid electric-gas powered motor combination is the
first in a series of hybrids that Ford plans to introduce in the coming months
– including a plug-in C-MAX Energi hybrid due later in the fall of 2012. The
gas-powered motor is a 2.0-liter four cylinder that is paired to an electronic
continuously variable transmission (CVT); horsepower is rated at 141, while
torque is 129 lb.-ft. The electric motor is a permanent magnet synchronous AC
generator backed by lithium ion batteries that were developed in-house by Ford.
Regenerative braking technology is built into the system. EPA estimates put C-MAX
hybrid at 47 city, highway and combined miles per gallon.
front and rear multilink suspension components, along with front and rear
stabilizer bars, provide stability on the road; C-MAX is front-wheel drive.
Safety equipment includes seven airbags, power-assisted four-wheel discs with
ABS, AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability control; electronic traction control; and
emergency brake assist.
two models- a SE and uplevel SEL, with a base MSRP of $28,200. We drove the SEL
with a Ruby Red Metallic Clear Coat exterior, and a Medium Light Stone Leather
interior. It came with a premium audio and navigation package, a panoramic
sunroof, a parking technology package and parking assist, keyless
enrty/start/tailgate locking and unlocking, along with the hands-free
technology package and power liftgate. As equipped, it is priced at $33,080,
which includes the $795 destination and delivery.
claimed its new model could achieve 47 mpg, but with attentive driving and
watching the SmartGauge with EcoGuide, we were able to monitor our regenerative
braking energy and, even driving at posted speeds (along with a bit of
coasting!), we achieved the 60 mpg on a 20-mile-long road course from LA to
coastal Malibu! We next drove the C-Max in a ‘normal’ fashion, using air
conditioning and achieved 44 mpg, even though our route took us high into the
hills about Malibu. C-Max’s drive is notably quiet and we were impressed to
find power-on-tap from stop-to-go, with no torque lag, motivating this 3,607
lb. runabout up steep grades and around the curves of Malibu canyon and when
passing on the highway, as we returned to urban Los Angeles. Gas-pressured
shock absorbers smooth the ride, while electric power-assisted steering carves
decent turns, and the brakes have a good feel and stop in a graduated manner.
While not sports-car-like, it gives a more sporty ride than the Prius, which we
had driven recently.
of our trip included our overnight stay and meals at the Andaz, as well as a
superb and heart-healthy lunch at the Malibu Country Club.
Andaz Hotel by Hyatt (http://www.andaz.hyatt.com/en/andaz.html)
Hyatt operates a collection of boutique luxury hotels in the U.S. and around
the world. Our stay was at Los Angeles’ Andaz West Hollywood, located on Sunset
Boulevard. They say it is more than a hip
boutique hotel in LA; it’s a lifestyle. Andaz means "personal style"
in Hindi, and Hyatt boasts that it adds the latest style, service, and
high-touch innovation to your West Hollywood hotel experience. With a mix of
Hollywood glamour and warm personal style, this modern-day hotel offers
beautifully designed rooms and suites, upscale event spaces, and acclaimed
dining, but strives for a welcoming atmosphere with its mantra is “my home is
Malibu Beach and Malibu Country Club- One of the most desirable locations
in Southern California, Malibu Beach and the Malibu Country Club are enclaves for
the hip, creative and cool. The region is cultural and historical, with a host
of restaurants, and trendy clubs; plus, there are beaches for sunning and
surfing. There are also numerous drives to try out the features of new autos along
coastal trails, as well as the snaking hills high above.
Malibu Country Club; 901 Encinal Canyon Rd, Malibu,
CA 90265 (818) 889-6680. (http://local.vcstar.com/malibu+country+club.9.1096218p.home.html)