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2017 Ford C-Max Hybrid
2017 Toyota Prius

2017 Ford C-Max Hybrid vs 2017 Toyota Prius

It's not so long ago when the Toyota Prius was pretty much the first and the last name in environmentally friendly autos, and it was very much the car to be seen in to emphasize your green credentials. That's all changed now though, and the Toyota's unique selling point of an electric/gas hybrid propulsion system is now commonplace. There are plenty of hybrids around these days and the 2017 Ford C-Max is now a serious alternative for those who want great fuel-economy and to be kinder to the environment. So, let's compare the 2017 Ford C-Max Hybrid vs. 2017 Toyota Prius to see which is best.


Although it's definitely more stylish than it used to be, the Prius is still pretty instantly recognizable as a Prius, and that's not necessarily always going to be a good thing. The problem is the Prius was designed to be a hybrid from day one and wasn't an already known model that was then given a hybrid powertrain. Its unique styling therefore shouted to onlookers that the owner was trying to make a statement to everyone about how green they were, even if they weren't and all they really wanted was a fuel-efficient family car. The Ford C-Max may be a hybrid-only model here, but it started life off as a gas or diesel model over in Europe so it doesn't scream "hybrid" when you see it. And there's another massive advantage the Ford has over its Toyota rival in terms of how they look, and that's the fact the C-Max doesn't have the pretty ugly and seriously polarizing rear end of the Prius.


Nobody is going to buy either of these cars to compete on track days at Daytona International Speedway, so practicality is definitely going to be a big deal for most buyers, especially those with a family to get around. Although the Prius is bigger overall than the C-Max, apart from its height, there's actually a lot more room in the Ford. The Toyota might be a couple of inches longer and has a longer wheelbase than the Ford, but passengers are going to have a good deal more room inside the C-Max. Both vehicles offer virtually the same legroom in the front, but there's more legroom where it really matters in the back of the C-Max. There's obviously going to be more headroom for taller people in both the front and the rear of the Ford than the Prius as well, and it all adds up to an extra 6.6 cu.-ft. of total passenger volume for the C-Max. Of course, the taller stance of the C-Max also means bigger doors and therefore easier entry and exit, which can be particularly important for those who are perhaps not as bendy as they once were.


Ford keeps things nice and simple when it comes to C-Max specifications, even though the trim levels have recently been doubled to two; the SE and the Titanium. There are actually six different Prius trims, but that means the base model really is pretty basic compared to the Ford. The first difference you notice is likely to be the wheels. Although both base models get alloys, the Prius gets a set of 15s that look like buttons compared to the fabulous 17-inch alloys the C-Max SE come standard with. The Ford also gets a dual-zone climate control system, the Sync infotainment system, remote keyless entry and plenty more that doesn't come standard in the Prius Two. When you find out the C-Max SE costs less than the entry level Prius Two and then you look how far you have to go up the Prius lineup to get close to a like-for-like match, the Ford becomes and increasingly more attractive proposition all round.


Both the 2017 Ford C-Max and the 2017 Toyota Prius get you an environmentally friendly hybrid propulsion system and outstanding fuel economy, but there are plenty of things that make the C-Max a better buy. As well as the Ford costing less than the Toyota, it's also more practical, it has a smaller footprint that helps it thrive in the built-up urban environment, and it also doesn't have the rear end all versions of the Prius force you to endure. Times have moved on a little, and the Prius probably isn't as much of a large, moving advertisement for how concerned you are about the environment and how much you want everyone to know about it as it used to be, but it's still a Toyota Prius at the end of the day. That's perfectly fine if you're happy with it, but the 2017 Ford C-Max is a fantastic family car that just happens to also have an incredibly fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain. When you also get so much more for your money with the C-Max, the Ford has to be a better choice than the Prius.