If you’re a parent, the chances are you’ve had to make the painful choice between everyday practicality and gas mileage when looking at new cars. 

In fact, if your family consists of the archetypal two kids, two adults, a dog, and a whole lot of luggage, the chances are you’ve longed for a minivan or crossover SUV-sized car with Toyota Prius gas mileage.

The 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid is neither, nor does its gas mileage quite equal that of the 2012 Toyota Prius liftback, but is it the first real family-friendly hatchback hybrid?

We think so, and here’s why.

More room

When compared to the 2012 Toyota Prius Liftback, the 2013 Ford C-Max has much more room for both passengers and luggage. 

When it comes to passengers, the high roof-line of the C-Max Hybrid offers 6 cubic feet more volume than the Prius liftback, while its luggage area is 2 feet larger than its Japanese rival. 

2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid

2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid

And while the Prius’ wagon variant--the 2012 Toyota Prius V--beats the Ford C-Max with 34 cubic feet of luggage space versus the C-Max’s 24 cubic feet, its higher sticker price and lower gas mileage makes it less exciting as a family car. 

More practical

Everything inside the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid is designed with practicality in mind, from its larger load area to its higher roof line. 

For those with younger children, the higher roof line not only makes it easier to lift children in and out of the car, but it reduces the all-too common banged heads parents get after securing younger children in car seats. 

When it comes to juggling children, shopping and loading the car with shopping, an optional, automatic, handsfree tailgate gives the C-Max a real competitive edge against the Prius. 

More ‘normal'

Then there’s the way the C-Max is designed and built. 

Because the C-Max hybrid is based on a car which has already been on sale in Europe for years as a conventional gasoline car, the 2013 C-Max Hybrid doesn’t look like a hybrid. 

It looks, and behaves, like a regular gasoline car. 

The driving controls are conventional. The dashboard is conventional. 

2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid, Los Angeles, August 2012

2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid, Los Angeles, August 2012

Simply put, the C-Max is built like any other gasoline car, a dramatic contrast to the Space Age plastic trim and geeky interior of the Prius liftback. 

A better all-round car

With good handling, high-specification interior, and a large helping of good, old-fashioned practicality, the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid may be the better vehicle of choice for a family with young kids wanting their first hybrid. 

Sure, it doesn’t get quite the same gas mileage rating as the Toyota Prius, but it’s a car you’ll feel far more comfortable making family trips and daily errands in. 

And, as any parent will tell you, a car that can help you stay calm is always a plus.

Do you agree? 


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