My Favorite Car Is Trashed by ConsumerReports and the Media

Ford C-Max Energi: ConsumerReports Trashes It; I Enjoy It

Ford C-Max Energi: ConsumerReports Trashes It; I Enjoy It

If you haven’t heard, ConsumerReports has given the Ford C-Max Energi the worse rating of all vehicles.  My favorite car is being trashed.  The media is giving it lots of coverage.  I haven’t paid the $6.95 to subscribe for one month to ConsumerReports.org to see their findings myself.  So far, I haven’t had issues with our Ford C-Max Energi after driving it over 6,000 miles in the last two months.  Despite ConsumerReports reliability prediction, I think it’s a great car.  I’ve included below a variety of quotes from media outlets that will be of interest to those following the C-Max.

The LA Times, “The five least reliable vehicles are the Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, the turbocharged Ford Escape, the Mini Countryman, the Ford C-MAX hybrid and the Nissan Pathfinder. … Plug-in hybrids – cars that can run for some distance powered by electricity before a gasoline engine kicks in and extends the range by hundreds of miles – scored poorly in the survey. …While the Prius ranked as Toyota’s most reliable car, the plug-in version of the Prius was the automaker’s lowest-scoring vehicle. Similarly, the plug-in version of Ford’s C-Max hybrid ranked as its least reliable vehicle overall.”

WGRS.com (NBC Channel), “The least reliable car in the survey is Ford’s C-Max Energy plug-in hybrid. … But the news for Ford and Lincoln was not so good. Ford and Lincoln have had trouble with the MyTouch ‘infotainment’ system for the last two years. The survey found that complaints went down after Ford updated the system, but the rate of problems is still high.”

CNBC.com, “At Toyota, the Camry, RAV-4 and Prius-V were all dropped from the recommended list after receiving a “poor” rating in a crash test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. … The brand’s C-Max Energi was rated its worst model.”

CBSNews.com, “Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac brands all beat Ford, which lagged at 26th out of 28 places. Ford bested only its own Lincoln brand and Mini. … The Ford C-Max plug-in hybrid got the worst overall score, and the regular C-Max hybrid fared nearly as poorly.  … Other than Ford C-Max and Ford Fusion hybrid, hybrid and electric cars continued to rank well for their reliability. The Nissan Leaf electric car and hybrids Toyota Prius, Lexus ES 300h and Honda CR-Z all ranked among the top models.  … If you are or soon will be shopping for a new or used car, look up the models you are considering on the CR reliability list. It could save you money and trouble later.”

Reuters.com, “Consumer Reports is one of the most widely trusted names for consumers shopping for cars, and companies try to ensure their vehicles earn the magazine’s coveted “recommended” rating. …The vehicle with the top predicted reliability score was the 2014 Subaru Forester SUV, while Ford Co’s C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid vehicle received the worst score, Consumer Reports said.”

And direct from ConsumerReports, “The worst score goes to the Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, with the regular C-Max Hybrid not faring much better. To be clear, this should not cast a negative light on other electric cars or hybrids. In fact, the Toyota Prius, Lexus ES 300h, Toyota Prius C, and Honda CR-Z hybrids, along with the pure-electric Nissan Leaf, were among the top models in reliability. This is more of a Ford issue.”

If you want to follow what forum users are saying:

Ford C-Max Hybrid Forum

Ford C-Max Energi Forum

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18 thoughts on “My Favorite Car Is Trashed by ConsumerReports and the Media

  1. For all at Consumer Reports that are buying gas for their cars at over $3.00 a gallon: I have 1500 miles driven on my C-Max Energy and purchased NO GASOLINE!!!! So take your report and burn it!

    • On the positive side, it may make it easier for buyers to get a good deal on a C-Max Energi, at least for those convinced that the C-Max Energi is a good choice despite ConsumerReports.org.

  2. Not one failure for my C-Max Energi in 22,000 miles. Great build quality. Quiet, tight, solid feel. One insignificant service call which was repaired within hours. Lifetime average 46 mpg. Fun to drive, handles well.

    Thanks for trashing my resale values CR. I won’t be buying your products.

  3. I’ve also had no problems with my C-Max Energi after half a year of ownership. Well, the MyFord Touch system is awful, but that’s mostly by design (thank you Microsoft). It’s not really a reliability issue for me. MyFord Touch was called out by CR as the reason for Ford’s overall low showing. That makes me wonder about CR’s definition of “reliability.”

    The problem areas called out by CR: audio system, electrical system, body hardware, and climate system.

    Oh – I last bought gas in July (180 mpg since then). I’m really enjoying that part of owning this car.

  4. In the ratings, on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the worst and 5 the best, it earned a 1 on audio system (the Microsoft Sync/My Ford Touch), a 2 on electrical system, 3’s on body hardware and power equipment, and 4’s on paint/trim, squeaks/rattles, and fuel system. It earned 5’s on engine major, engine minor, engine cooling, transmission major, transmission minor, drive system, climate system, suspension, brakes, and exhaust.

  5. I don’t dislike my C-Max, but for a brand-new car it has spent a lot of time in the repair shop. Problems include:

    1. The interior panel of the driver-side door falling off, which had to be replaced
    2. A faulty GPS module that had to be replaced
    3. Discovery of a large dead moth floating around inside one of the rear taillights, which had to be replaced
    4. The MSFT Sync system freezing up with the radio turned on, etc, several times, requiring fuse-pulls to fix, until the recall upgrade fixed it
    5. The hands-free hatch liftgate sensor not working and needing to be replaced
    6. The various recalls
    7. Plus, of course, the 47 combined mpg lie – a different category to be sure

    But that adds up to being a pretty unreliable new car. Hopefully it’s all tip-top now, but it’s hard to quarrel with Consumer Reports’ assessment.

  6. My 11/5/12 purchased C-Max has spent more time in the shop for its first year then any new car I’ve ever purchased and I’ve purchased 5 previous new cars. I did not get a chance to fill out the CR survey, so my data wasn’t included in the CR results.

    Problems included:

    1) Lift gate would not automatically open. – Was finally fixed, after a couple visits, with a software update and/or a cable in the liftgate that wasn’t properly “grounded” or attached to the lift gate frame.

    2) Lift gate would not automatically close or latch – Was finally fixed, after several visits, with the discovery that a cable in the lift gate wasn’t properly “grounded”.

    3) My Ford Touch/Sync went to black screen and/or was unresponsive. – Seems to have been fixed with software update(s). Did require pulling fuse to reboot system when couldn’t get it in to dealer soon enough.

    4) Navigation and Sync aren’t easily operated by voice commands, and seems like Ford should offer more support through owner training on how to get the most out of this system.

    Yet to be resolved are:

    1) Trim piece on passenger side near window in truck area will not stay clipped down.

    2) Fuel economy in “Gas Hybrid” mode is not acceptable at only 32 MPG over 23 tanks of fuel worth of driving. Overall fuel economy for our nearly one full year of driving has been 43.8 MPGe, which is due to the excellent “EV only” driving MPGe we have gotten. We have driven about 36% of our driving in “all electric mode”. The poor “gas hybrid” mileage, at 32 MPG vs. the expected average of close to 43 MPG is costing us about $200/year in extra gasoline fuel costs. I am pushing Ford to provide the same fuel economy improvement software upgrade they have released for the Hybrid model to the Energi model owners. I would encourage all Energi owners to ask your dealer for this software upgrade and for all Energi owners to call Ford customer service to ask when they will give Energi owners this needed software upgrade.

    3) We have yet to take vehicle in for a recall that we were notified of with regards to a “Door Chime” issue.

    Overall we’re happy with the car. As said previously in another comment above, its a tight and quiet feel, and we have accomplished are main goal which was to use up a large portion of our excess Solar PV produced electricity from our roof top solar panels, and as well it seats our four person family comfortably, even for long trips, and has allowed us to drive the C-Max rather than our mid-size sedan for 70% of our driving miles.

    I’m thinking that the car will have a relatively high reliability from here forward, but Ford does need to come through with some of that “good will” cash and software upgrades given to the hybrid model owners to improve my satisfaction with the “gas hybrid” mode fuel economy. I encourage all of you with the 2013 Energi model to strongly ask this from Ford also. Thanks.

    • Interesting. Thanks for the link. I wish I had a report summary though. It really isn’t clear if the problems were “design” problems with MFT based on this article. We haven’t had problems with our Energi bought in August, almost three months ago. It’s clear that there have been too many problems with the C-Max. Because it is a first year car with a ton of new technology, we bought an extended Ford warranty for 7 years, 100,000 miles and no deductible. They can be purchased for a reasonable amount online or through some dealerships directly. Our Energi has more than 6,300 miles driven almost entirely long distance (as a hybrid without charging) and the average mpg is 45.7 over those 6,300 miles. Very reasonable and far better than Consumer Reports got for the C-Max.

  7. I’m very late to this party, but my C-Max is in the shop again. It’s a 2013 model that we bought in April of 2014. I’m disappointed to read that other owners have been having problems too, but what’s somewhat funny is that I had the same problem with the interior door panel falling off. It took three visits for the door to finally be completed replaced.

    I was peeved about the reduced MPG but okay with the check, but it’s these endless recalls that are bringing me down! Also, this weekend I was in the middle of a 10 hour road trip home when I got a warning light and was told to “stop safely now.” I was unable to accelerate over 8 MPH. Yippee. Did I mention this car is two years old? True, we put 45,000 miles on it, but cars are meant to be driven. Thank goodness we got the extended service warranty, though 100,000 miles will be here way before the seven years are up.

    I still really like this car, though I doubt it’ll last as long as my beloved ’96 Maxima. This is my first Ford, and I have to say that this experience has soured me on the brand.

    If anyone sees this comment, what have your C-Max experiences these past 24 months been? Positives, negatives? Anyone figured out why we need to use an A/V cord to play our iPod? :)

  8. I have had this vehicle for two years now this month. Only one minor software problem which was repaired immediately by my dealership. This car is wonderful. 160 mpg on my screen and about to turn 10000 miles. Thank you Ford!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love it and my wife loves not buying gasoline!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • We’ve also owned the Energi for two years this month. My wife wanted to buy a Honda CR-V at the time. On a regular basis now she comments on how much she enjoys the C-MAX Energi. We have just over 30,000 miles on it and one section of the light ring surrounding the charge port doesn’t light. We haven’t had any other problems. I’m waiting to take it in for a warranty repair because it’s so minor.

  9. Pingback: Ford Declares Commitment to Electrified Vehicles (PHEVs, HEVs, EVs) | C-MaxChat

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