Toyota Prius Vs. Ford C-Max Hybrid: Pros And Cons

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2013 Toyota Prius

2013 Toyota Prius

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For several years, Toyota had the hybrid market pretty much sewn up with its Prius.

Okay, so it never reached the heady economy highs of the original Honda Insight, but it was far more practical and electric running made it the hybrid of choice in city driving.

That's until the Ford C-Max Hybrid appeared, at any rate. If you're in the market for one of the cars, the chances are you're also in the market for the other--so we've pulled together the pros and cons of each to help you decide on your next hybrid family car.

Toyota Prius

We'll start with the incumbent challenger. Loved and loathed in equal measure, few cars split opinion like the Prius--but it has earned its gas-sipping reputation on merit, and remains one of the most economical non-plugins on the road.

The current Prius largely treads the same ground as the car that first hit the market wearing the now-famous badge.

That means an Atkinson cycle gasoline engine (once 1.5 liters, now 1.8 liters) paired with a hybrid system via an epicyclic gearbox. The benefit of this is a system that can choose between gasoline or electricity depending on road conditions--sometimes both, and if sitting in traffic, sometimes neither.

2010 Toyota Prius

2010 Toyota Prius

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The use of electric drive at lower speeds means fuel consumption is low in city driving. On electricity alone, it'll only go just over a mile, but in practice many drivers find the engine cutting out quite frequently in traffic. Transition between gas and electric is more or less seamless.

Of course, these are all traits shared with the Ford. So what are the Prius's pros and cons?


  • It does get slightly better on-paper fuel economy than the Ford, at 50 mpg to 47 mpg combined
  • It's also better in the real world. On the EPA's site, 2013 Prius drivers are averaging around 46 mpg (11 vehicles), and C-Max Hybrid drivers only 39 mpg, based on over 100 cars.
  • The Prius has a slightly lower base price--$24,200 plays $25,200.
  • Reputation: The Prius is a well-established fuel-sipper. The Ford has to earn that reputation.


  • The Prius attracts an unusual degree of loathing from other drivers--few cars make such a statement about their driver, and some may be uncomfortable with this
  • Styling both inside and out is starting to age
  • No longer features cutting-edge tech, either beneath the surface or in the cabin--the Prius's interior is a little archaic these days
  • Less than spectacular to drive

Head to page 2 to find out the pros and cons of running a Ford C-Max--and you can discover more on the Prius by reading our complete guide.

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