Home > Auto Shows > NAIAS 2011: Ford C-Max and Vertrek Concept

NAIAS 2011: Ford C-Max and Vertrek Concept

     Ford is stretching its C-Platform for all it’s worth by introducing a new derivative to the extended Focus family called C-Max. Europe has enjoyed the people moving capabilities of the various C-Max offerings for years, but Americans would never have warmed to the small people mover when gas was only a couple bucks a gallon. Ford thinks the time is right to make a move and will do its best to convince us of the C-Max’s benefits later this year when the 7-passenger mini-minivan hits US showrooms.
     It will be interesting to see how consumers embrace this 7-passenger family shuttle (Ford technically calls it 5+2 seating because the third row is child sized), because of its minivan-style sliding side doors. The C-Max will come standard with a 2.5-liter I4 but can be equipped with Ford’s brand new 180 hp 1.6-liter turbocharged EcoBoost I4. Engineers claim this configuration will return best in class fuel economy, but weren’t ready to commit to numbers just yet. Both engines will feature a 6-speed automatic transmission.
     The C-Max has some clever interior features and all of Ford’s latest infotainment technology but the best must be the disappearing middle seat in the second row. Pull a couple levers and the seat quickly flips and folds under the base of the adjacent seat. It works very slick and opens up a nice path to the 3rd row.
     Ford also highlighted the available C-Max Hybrid that it claims will be even more efficient than the Fusion Hybrid when it goes on sale in about a year, which means at least 41 mpg in the city. If that’s not quite impressive enough for you the 2013 C-Max Energi may be worth the wait. This ultimate efficiency Plug-In Hybrid model promises to be Ford’s answer to Toyota’s upcoming Prius Plug-In and GM’s Volt. We didn’t get electric range numbers or battery pack size, but Ford is aiming for a 500 mile electric plus gasoline total range. Both Hybrid and Energi models will ditch the 3rd row and replace the sliding side doors with conventional front-hinged doors.
     Ford’s other announcement was the Vertrek, a thinly disguised look at the replacement for the Ford Escape. The Vertrek looks great and rides on yet another version of the C-Platform. The concept carries the new 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder debuting in the aforementioned C-Max.

Ford C-Max
Photos by Jason Muxlow

Ford Vertrek
Photos by Jason Muxlow

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  1. Jim
    January 18th, 2011 at 10:12 | #1

    I thought that there was not going to be a gas-only version of the 5-passenger/4-door C-Max. Just a hybrid and plug-in? And a gas-only 7-passenger/sliding rear doors C-Max?

    Also, there were some comments made by Ford (on Wards Auto) that hinted that the plug-in, would not have an “all-electric range” like the Volt. Rather the gas-engine would kick in depending on the load requested, not the charge level. This would also make more sense (to me), as the engineering would be a lot similar to Ford’s existing hybrids as opposed to a much different E-REV architecture.

  2. January 27th, 2011 at 12:24 | #2

    Not sure how we missed your comment until now Jim, but you’re right. We just heard back from Ford PR. Five-passenger, swing-out door body styles will be exclusive to the Energi and Hybrid models. You’ll only be able to get a gasoline engine in the 5+2 seat, mini-minivan. Somewhere between Ed Begley Jr. poking fun at the Nissan Leaf and raining paper butterflies on us this distinction flew by your (obviously) easily distracted narrators.

    As for the Energi, Ford is still working out specifics, but the following is straight from their press release indicating an electric range will be utilized before the engine fires:
    “C-MAX Energi provides maximum fuel efficiency by pairing a high-voltage lithium-ion battery and electric traction motor with a high-efficiency Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine. This allows it to run in electric mode before using the gasoline engine.”

    Thanks again for keeping an eye on us! We’ve adjusted the above story for accuracy.

  3. Jim
    January 31st, 2011 at 09:23 | #3

    Hmm… interesting. Here’s the article I read and a snipet.


    But unlike the Chevy Volt extended-range EV, which can travel up to 50 miles (80 km) at highway speeds before the gas engine kicks in to power an electric generator that drives the wheels, the Energi will employ an updated version of the powertrain used by Ford’s other hybrids, only with a larger lithium-ion battery.

    The Fusion Hybrid is able to travel up to about 47 mph (76 km/h) before the gasoline engine takes over, and the new C-Max Hybrid is expected to boost that figure, but likely not up to highway speeds.

    Nancy Lee Gioia, Ford’s director -global electrification, hints that may be the same case with the Energi. “Sometimes when you try to drive excessive speeds or at high acceleration rates, it’s a system tradeoff,” she tells Ward’s.

    “In order to accelerate at a high rate (in electric mode), you tend to need to oversize the battery. That (large battery) is something you don’t use all the time, and you’re carrying around all that extra weight,” she says.

    But Gioia says at Ford it’s not about one-upping the competition but rather offering a real-world solution that accommodates most customer needs at an affordable price. “From our perspective, it’s important is to have the right type of functionality for the customer’s needs.”

    Gioia reveals Ford considered offering a vehicle similar to the Volt, also known as a series hybrid for its extended-range, but various studies concluded it would be too expensive due to the need for a larger Li-ion battery.

    “If you’re driving down the road and come to a long hill, in a series configuration to make it up that hill and maintain your speed and not run into degraded performance, you have to make the battery larger and possibly the engine larger to maintain (your speed).”

  4. February 1st, 2011 at 16:10 | #4

    Hello, Interesting that FORD wants to call a car/van Vertrek. In Dutch it means departure. I think FORD needs to check the name a bit or else they copy GM’s mistake with the NOVA., which means no go in South America.

    To depart in my departure (vertrek) probably will mean that people will depart the car lot without buying a vertrek.


  1. January 31st, 2011 at 21:13 | #1
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