Article: 2013 Ford C-Max Competition
Toyota Prius v: Toyota turned the Prius nameplate into its own sub-brand with the debut of the Prius v, for “versatility,” for model-year 2012. The Prius v is a longer, taller wagon-like alternative to the standard four-door Prius hatchback. It’s also a bit longer and taller than the C-Max, but still seats five. The v uses virtually the same gas-electric hybrid system as the standard Prius hatchback. It teams a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor/generator and a self-charging battery pack for a net 134 horsepower. The extra weight and cargo capacity takes a toll in fuel economy, resulting in Prius v ratings of 44/40 mpg city/highway, 42 mpg combined versus the standard hatchback’s 51/48/50. The 2013 Prius v should start around $27,500.
Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid: Following limited availability for model-year 2012, the plug-in Prius should be offered in all 50 states for 2013. Toyota also dubs it the Prius PHV, for plug-in-hybrid vehicle, and it essentially adds a larger battery pack to the standard gas-electric powertrain of the Prius hatchback and Prius v. This enables the Prius Plug-in Hybrid to run for up to 15 miles solely on electric power. Once the battery is depleted it behaves much like the standard Prius hybrid. As the name suggests, the Prius PHV can be charged from a wall outlet to extend its initial all-electric range. Toyota estimates the Prius Plug-In achieves a combined 49 mpg city/highway when running on a combination of electric and gas/electric hybrid power. Expect to pay around $34,000 for a base version of the 2013 Prius PHV, but also to take advantage of the one-time $2,500 federal income-tax credit.
Chevrolet Volt: Not quite a pure electric car, not quite a plug-in hybrid, the four-door hatchback Volt’s primary source of propulsion is an electric drive unit that generates the equivalent of 150 horsepower. In contrast to life with a pure-electric car there’s no fear of becoming stranded once the Volt’s rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack runs down. When that happens, its 1.4-liter gasoline engine engages to run a generator that, in turn, powers the electric-drive system. While the Volt can run longer than the Prius Plug-in Hybrid on electric power—the EPA says an average of 35 miles—it uses more gas when it has to utilize the engine to run the generator, rating a combined 37.5 mpg city/highway. The Volt seats four and is far smaller inside than the Prius hatchback or the Prius v, though it delivers livelier all-around performance. Expect the 2013 Volt to again start around $40,000 but to be eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit.
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