Ford's new C-Max, based on the Focus platform, was originally sold in Europe with a variety of different engines. It comes to the U.S. strictly as a hybrid.

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An odd-looking vehicle, the C-Max Hybrid is like a too-tall Focus, and straddles the themes of hatchback, small minivan, and wagon.

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The hybrid power train consists of an electric motor and 2-liter gasoline engine. The electric motor can drive the car at speeds up to 62 mph.

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The high roof means more overall interior volume than a Prius v.

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A European-tuned suspension means a comfortable, yet firm ride, making the C-Max Hybrid able to deal with a variety of roads, with responsive handling.

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The liftgate reveals ample cargo area.

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Put the rear seats down and the cargo area expands dramatically.

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A non-opening sunroof gives a panoramic view of the sky.

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The seating position feels oddly high, until you get used to it.

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The rear seats sit on a flat floor, and offer excellent headroom and decent legroom.

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In SEL trim, the C-Max Hybrid comes standard with MyFord Touch, which brings in the center LCD.

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The C-Max Hybrid uses electric power steering, which is tuned for responsive control.

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The speedometer is augmented by many different information screens to the left.

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Drivers can choose what type of information they want to see on the left-hand screen, from running data to a trip computer to a driving coach.

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The shifter engages typical PRNDL drive modes. There are no Sport or Eco buttons.

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The flash-memory-based navigation system leaves a lot to be desired, as it responds slowly and has a complicated interface.

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The stereo can be upgraded to this Sony audio system, which produces very clear sound.

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Bluetooth audio streaming, one of the available audio sources, shows track data on the LCD.

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With an iPhone cabled up to the car's USB port, you can browse music by category.

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Music playback screens show album art, when available.

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Ford's cabin electronics index music sources connected to the car.

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Along with dialing by number, the C-Max Hybrid lets you use voice command to dial by any name in a paired phone's contact list.

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The rearview camera shows trajectory lines, and is also part of an available automatic parallel-parking system.

Updated:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET
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