It's a van; it's a hatchback; it's a wagon? It's the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid and its tall, liftback design is not exactly any of those things. Ford's betting that this blend of small-car parkability, wagon flexibility, and crossover visibility will be a hit with urban drivers looking for a do-everything runabout. Helping to seal the deal for these city dwellers is the C-Max's hybrid power train, which offers Prius-battling levels of power and efficiency.
In pictures and when isolated on a platform at a car show, the C-Max looks like a little minivan. I imagined something about the size of the Mazda5. However, when approaching the C-Max at ground level in a parking lot, I was surprised to find that Ford's little multipassenger vehicle (MPV) isn't that much larger than the Ford Focus with which it shares its Ford Global C Platform. The C-Max also shares Ford's Kinetic design language styling cues with the Focus and Escape. Take those two vehicles, toss them into a blender, and the resulting car will resemble the C-Max in both size and style. The Escape is already a fairly small crossover, so the C-Max's proximity to it in size possibly explains why the automaker dropped the Escape Hybrid for this generation. The C-Max Hybrid's dimensions also fall between two of Toyota's dedicated hybrid vehicles, offering more passenger volume than the Prius, but with a smaller footprint than the Prius v.
The C-Max is a tall five-seater that places more emphasis on passenger space than cargo room behind the rear bench. By doing this, Ford was able to create a smallish vehicle that is easy to park in cramped city conditions, but with enough room for four over-6-foot-tall adults to sit comfortably. Fold the rear seat-backs flat and the C-Max's cargo space opens up with plenty of space for bulky items. Ford tells me that you could fit two mountain bikes (presumably with their front wheels removed) back there.