2015 Ford C-Max Energi Hybrid SEL: Future Ford delivers on its promise.

The 2015 Ford C-Max Energi compact five-seat hatchback is a new plug-in gasoline -electric crossover hybrid version and I must say very clever new vehicle from Ford. The C-Max looks funky and exciting with its cheeky, boxy shape and tall airy cabin. I like the big fish-like open-mouth grille and sharp angular headlamps. There are such neat features as: the optional power-operated lift-gate that can open by touching with your foot under the bumper, a self-parking system and of course, the MyFord Touch info and entertainment system. In addition The MyFord mobile app monitors and schedules charging times, range and locates the nearest charging stations.

The C-Max is Energi is powered by a 2.0-litre Atkinson cycle four-cylinder gas engine, which produces 141 horsepower and 129 lb.-ft. of torque. It gains its electric drive via extra power from a 7.6 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which powers an electric motor, for a total system output of 195 hp on a full charge. The sole transmission available is Ford’s new electronic-controlled continuously variable transmission, designed to manage power delivery from both the gas engine and electric motor.

Ford claims the C-Max can travel at speeds of up to 100 km/h in full electric mode and according to the maker, the C-Max delivers a 1.9 L/100 km city rating (combined gas and electric), 4.5 L/100 km on the highway (gas only) and has a total range of 1,221 kilometres (43 in electric-only mode). Charging time another major concern for plug in hybrids is claimed to be around seven hours to fully recharge with a standard 120-volt plug. Ford says an optional 240-volt home-charging station can reduce that time to about 2.5 hours. In addition Ford is partnering with the Best Buy electronics retailers to install the home charging stations for $1,600.

For the not cheap price, one expect and gets a high quality cabin, fit finish and materials and an impressive range of technology and Ford is to be commended on this.

On the highway the C-Max Energi delivers enough power from its 2.0-litre Atkinson-cycle engine, pushing a tall boxy cabin. However it is at its best in a mix of urban and suburban terrain where the smooth comfortable ride and benign road manners make it an easy and pleasing vehicle to drive. The C-Max is impressively quiet although the gas engine does get a bit noisy under hard acceleration. There were no real issues with the driving experience and the hybrid engine kicks in and out as and when needed pretty seamlessly. Of course fuel economy is a stand out and a major reason one would consider this vehicle.

Passengers liked the roomy cabin, the ample cargo area and the fuel economy is a fantastic gift in this car and is scheduled to give the Toyota Prius a real run for its money. If I was in the market for a plug- in hybrid it wold be at the top of my list. The C-Max Energi is certainly a hybrid to consider.

2015 Ford C-Max Hybrid priced from $24,749