If you could see tomorrow

the way it looks to us today, you’d say incredible…

Ford Motor Company jingle, ca. 1980 (hyping the 1981 Escort world car“)

Or, You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby. Or, Why yes, they’re real.

Bertter than a Toyota Prius

What to drive when Ford flies you to Las Vegas for the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show

This is the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi ”MAV (multi-activity vehicle).”  This is the plug in hybrid version – there is a “conventional” hybrid as well.  The engines are the same; battery output is not.  Not to piddle on a couple billion dollars of R&D, engineering and marketing (words like  MAV and “Energi” don’t coin themselves, you know), but basically, the car comes in Prius (regular) and Volt flavors. Except better.  Here’s why:

Another feature of the C-MAX Energi is called EV mode. This is a button that lets you switch the vehicle between EV Now, Auto EV and EV Later. So you can choose which mode to drive in – electric only, gasoline only, or a combination of gas and electric.

Kevin from Ford

Kevin from Ford spent 20 minutes translating the story of hybrids into the language of 10 mpg Continental drivers. And explaining power tailgates.

I put a couple miles on this fish, in and around the LV Convention Center.

  • plug in, rather than cordless.  At least you don’t have to rewire your house.  You can just plug it in overnight, just like a smartphone.  But, you’re never stranded.  Unlike a Volt, it’s designed to use the engine like an engine when you want or it needs to.
  • “is it on?” Hit the start button and nothing mechanical happens.
  • When Car and Driver tested the electric Rolls, they heard “an occasional hint of dynamo hum, but for the most part, the drivetrain dialogue was overwhelmed by the hiss of tires on pavement and the whoosh of air flowing past the side windows.”  Ditto.
  • At city speeds, the tire hum over the hard concrete of Vegas was a noticeable sound, if only because it had no audio competition. The engine never fired up.
  • We were not allowed to test its maximum dynamic capabilities in a high school parking lot. it was solid over bumps and softer riding than a Scion xB on 16s.
  • Roomy.  The cowl is low, so the front is airy.  The back seat was comfortable and roomy for our camera guy, a big man with a massive video camera.
  • Yes, I called it a fish.  That metal middle grill and the big headlights seal it.
  • Yes, I would buy one.

In four words:  Better Than Any Prius. (Or, “Best Escort Wagon Ever.”)

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