vwcorvette (Forum Supporter)
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
9/12/21 10:48 a.m.

Need to replace the wife's Smart fortwo. Need to stay under $20000, lower miles, room for dogs, high mpg. My wife is disappointed that new hybrids don't seem to get the 45-50 mpg she gets from her smart and doesn't want to pay 40k for a new car. Electrics aren't any cheaper it seems. I'm trying to move her towards used. She's never purchased a used car before. But since she just opened a new business money is tight.


John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
9/12/21 10:58 a.m.

I like the C-Max but have no personal experience.  I like the Prius V, the longer, wagon-ish Prius too.  I'll bet $20k would get you a Prius V under 40k miles.

The Prius V will get 40mpg.   The C-max will not get 40mpg, maybe 35 mpg.   

I would advance to a normal Gen4 Prius of 2016 or newer.  These are the years with the funkiest looks but they have a great reliability reputation and will return 50's easy.  


Or, spend $7 or $8k and find a really nice low mile Gen2 Prius of '04-'09.  This would be a cheap way to put on a lot of cheap miles. Only 40 mpg but low buy in

STM317 UberDork
9/12/21 10:58 a.m.

In reply to John Welsh : Owners typically see 38-42mpg with the standard hybrid, with much higher numbers possible with the PHEV powertrain.

They seem like great deals to me. If cargo capacity is a really big deal, then we should note that the hybrid battery takes up some floor space in the hatch:

2015 Ford C-MAX Hybrid Values & Cars for Sale | Kelley Blue Book


The PHEV "Energi" trim offers about 20 miles of fully electric range, but the larger battery takes up even more of the cargo space:

Review: 2013 Ford C-MAX Energi | eBay Motors Blog


I have the same powertrain in my Fusion Energi. The lifetime fuel economy average was in the mid 40s when I bought the car with 23k miles, and I've got 57k on it now and have dragged the average fuel economy up to 89.3mpg. It's needed nothing but 2 oil changes in that time. I've been very happy with it as a commuter appliance, but I don't haul anything but people and groceries.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
9/12/21 4:41 p.m.

My wife's aunt is a home health care nurse in DFW.  She put over a hundred miles a day, six days a week on a C max for many years (over 5) until it was paid off.  It was the first car she bought in years that survived past its payoff date.  

Duke MegaDork
9/12/21 4:52 p.m.

DD#1 has a 2013 Cmax. She loves it and I will admit it's a nice car to drive for daily duties.

$20k will by you a cream puff in the nicest trim level available. Which is pretty nicely equipped.

Hers is a 2013 she bought in about 2018 with around 60k on it. I'm not aware of anything other than oil changes she's had to do to it.  No idea of the current mileage but I bet it's over 100k.

She regularly gets 42-44 mpg in very mixed driving. Hers is NOT the Energi plug-in version, so it weighs a bit less and has about 1-1/2" taller cargo area.

If I needed a car of that type I wouldn't hesitate to buy one.


untchabl Reader
9/12/21 5:08 p.m.

Try to find a Ford dealer that actually has experience with the Cmax. I did not have any luck finding a Ford dealership within a couple hours of me that had any experience with actually working on a Cmax beyond basic maintenance. 

The DIY community is much better for the Prius and there and plenty of Indy shops that have lots of experience with them.

TheRickster New Reader
9/12/21 10:32 p.m.

We have a CRZ, it's a great fun car and you can get it with a 6 speed, but it's a horrible hybrid and the gas mileage isn't any better than a more modern ICE car.


If the range is there for an EV, you could probably find some of the better used ones there. A new generation Leaf might be right around 20 or under by this point and I believe they have around 150 mile range.

Also a Chevrolet Volt would be a good bet and you can definitely get a low mileage example for less than 20k with some nice options. They are 40 miles EV and then run the engine as a generator after that.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
9/13/21 8:49 a.m.

I want to hate the C-max because of HOW tall it is, but it is a tall Focus wagon.  Ain't nothing wrong with that.


Curious if you can only get 35mpg from it.  The generation Focus it is related to can knock down 42-43mpg on the highway.

pkingham (Forum Supporter)
pkingham (Forum Supporter) Reader
9/13/21 9:25 a.m.

We have a 2013 C-Max (non-Energi) we bought new.  It has 130k miles on it now.  Part of the decision criteria was a need to fit our 70 lb dog, and the plug-in version's big battery made the hatch area too short vertically.

It's a good appliance.  Drives well if a little loud (engine and wind noise) on the freeway.  Our lifetime mileage is 39.5 mpg on the display, but I've never checked that for accuracy.  

The one knock I have with the car is that a few times we've had the 12V battery get drawn down by something staying on.  Once it was a bag handle caught in the rear hatch.  Another time the headlight switch got bumped to on.  The last time, I think something got hung up during a Synch update.  And, probably related, we're on the third 12V battery.  Once the battery voltage is low, electrical behavior is strange even after charging the battery until the battery is disconnected for a while.  Then things get back to normal.  

I still like the car and would buy another one, though.

vwcorvette (Forum Supporter)
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
9/13/21 6:38 p.m.

Thanks for all the input. Wrangling with the wife is the hard part. She wants new but I just don't see how after starting a new business. I have no issues with old cars. 

dxman92 Dork
9/14/21 12:50 a.m.

Nicest newest Honda Fit you can find. 

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