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Ford C-Max Energi
2017 Chevrolet Volt

2017 Ford C-Max Energi vs. 2017 Chevrolet Volt

The jury is still very much out on whether the hybrid or the all-electric vehicle will represent the long-term future for sustainable mobility, but the balance definitely appears to be swinging towards hybrids at the moment. However, if you're particularly concerned about the impact your transportation is having on the environment and you'd like something more eco-friendly than a hybrid but more practical than an electric-only model, there's always a plug-in hybrid. A plug-in hybrid offers the ability to run on electric-only, but it also has a gasoline engine to eliminate range anxiety. The Ford C-Max Energi and the Chevy Volt are among the very best family-orientated plug-in hybrids right now, so let's take a look at the 2017 Ford C-Max Energi vs. 2017 Chevrolet Volt to see which comes out on top.

Styling

There's a distinct difference in styling between these two, so it really comes down to what you want from your plug-in hybrid. The 2017 Chevrolet Volt is a compact hatch and the 2017 Ford C-Max Energi is really a compact multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), so they're really two quite different designs. The Volt is a reasonably good-looking hatch, but its lower, sloping roof means there's a lot less room inside than there is in the Ford. The upright stance of the C-Max Energi means family-friendly practicality is to the fore, but it's certainly not to the total exclusion of attractive styling. If you are happy with the comparative restrictions of the Chevy's format as a family cat that's fine, but there are a whole host of other compact hatches in the market that are a lot better looking. But if you think there might be a plug-in hybrid MPV that's more attractive than the C-Max Energi, good luck finding it.

Practicality

Although both vehicles are designed to accommodate up to five people, the passengers will be a lot happier in the C-Max than they would be in the Volt. The Volt is a genuine five-seat offering and not one of those that can squeeze a little one in between two adults in the rear seat at a push, but a long journey is going to be a lot more bearable in the Ford for five adults. A quick glance at the two cars immediately tells us there's going to be a lot more headroom in the C-Max than there will be in the Volt, but the Ford's advantage in this area doesn’t stop there. There's also an extra inch of legroom in the front of the Ford and almost two inches extra in the back. And of course, the taller profile also means bigger doors, so getting in and out of the C-Max is considerably easier, especially for those who might not be as agile as they used to be.

Dimensions

What may come as something of a surprise though, is the fact the 2017 Ford C-Max Energi is actually a more compact vehicle overall than the 2017 Chevrolet Volt, and that makes it more maneuverable and easier to fit into tight spaces than the Chevy. In fact, the Ford is quite a bit smaller on the outside with a total length of 173.6-inches that makes it almost seven inches shorter than the Volt, and Chevy is also a couple of inches wider. And if you need a good amount of space in the trunk, it's a slam-dunk here for the C-Max Energi with its 19.2 cu.-ft. of cargo volume behind the rear seats, compared to a miserly 10.6 cu.-ft. in the Volt.

Features

There used to be just the one relatively high-spec trim level with the C-Max Energi, but it now mirrors its non-plug in sibling, the C-Max Hybrid, with two separate trims of SE and Titanium. The Volt also comes in two trim levels of LT and Premier, but they're so similar to each other it makes you wonder why Chevy bothered with a second one. But although the Volt's two trims are incredibly similar, the C-Max Energi SE has a number of features not found even in the Volt Premier. For one thing, the air conditioning system in the Chevy is a single-zone affair while both Energi trims get duel-zone climate. There's also a ten-way power adjustable driver seat in the Energi SE and the front seats are also heated without having to pay extra for the higher trim.

Conclusion

The Volt is a fine car without any doubt, and the new model represents quite a step up from its predecessor. But more often than not, these are going to be bought as family vehicles and the Ford is much more practical and it's also better value for money. With the 2017 Ford C-Max Energi starting from an MSRP of just $27,120 and the 2017 Chevrolet Volt costing from what's a pretty eye-watering $33,220 by comparison, it's easy to make the stronger case for the Ford.