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Ford C-Max can't decide if it's a wagon, hatch or crossover

The segment defying Ford C-Max may be difficult to classify, but it's hard to argue with its combination of fuel economy and cargo space.

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Wayne Cunningham
2017 Ford C-Max hybrid
1 of 40 Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

Ford introduced the C-Max to the US in 2012, although it had been for sale in Europe for many years before that. In the US, Ford markets the C-Max as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid. There is no gasoline-only version available.

2017 Ford C-Max hybrid
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Although the C-Max uses a body style familiar in Europe, it doesn't fit into US automotive segments easily. It's too short to be a wagon, too tall to be a hatchback, and doesn't have the rugged looks of an SUV.

2017 Ford C-Max hybrid
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Despite it's lack of easy segment classification, the C-Max offers great utility, with comfortable passenger room and loads of luggage space.

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The C-Max is a front-wheel-drive vehicle, with a slightly higher riding position than a typical car.

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Ford does not make adaptive cruise control or forward collision prevention systems available for the C-Max, although it can do automated parallel parking.

2017 Ford C-Max hybrid
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The powertrain consists of a 2-liter four cylinder engine coupled to an electric drive system, making a total of 188 horsepower and achieving a combined 40 mpg estimated fuel economy.

2017 Ford C-Max hybrid
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The styling of the C-Max fits Ford's line-up, but leans more towards function than style.

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Ford manages to engineer its vehicles with slightly sharper driving dynamics than the competition, and the C-Max is not exception.

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A tall cabin means good headroom for passengers.

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Ford hasn't given the C-Max a significant update, although the 2017 model can be had with Sync 3, which greatly improves the cabin electronics.

2017 Ford C-Max hybrid
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With its excellent fuel economy and interior space, the C-Max offers great everyday utility, and its 188 horsepower gives it a performance boost over the competition.

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2017 Ford C-Max hybrid
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