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Ford Bets on Minivans Getting Small with 2012 C-Max Page 2

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2012 Ford C-Max

Weighing in at roughly 3,300 pounds, the C-Max with the EcoBoost engine and the PowerShift dual-clutch gearbox should be capable of a 0-60 mph run of 8.5 seconds, while Ford expects highway fuel economy will be higher than 30 mpg. That's thanks in part to the C-Max's electric power steering and to a lighter-weight body.

Further ahead in its life cycle--sometime in 2013--Ford will introduce plug-in hybrid and electric versions of the C-Max.

Inside, the C-Max has the flexibility of many larger minivans, but it also has some features common with vehicles like the Toyota Highlander and the Mercedes-Benz R-Class. The front bucket seats are followed by a second of seats, with a folding middle portion that stores under the right-side, second-row seat cushion--which gives the C-Max a walk-through to a two-person third-row seat. Both the second- and third-row seats fold down for maximum cargo space, too. Still, the C-Max is significantly smaller than the standard Grand Caravan, at 167.3 inches long, with a 109.8-inch wheelbase.

Young enough?

Even at a well-optioned pricetag of around $25,000, the C-Max will offer safety features like blind-spot warnings and parking assist--which steers the C-Max into a tight spot by taking control of the electric power steering--as well as a rear-seat entertainment system, a panoramic sunroof and the MyFord Touch system and SYNC, which integrate Bluetooth voice controls into the audio system with redundant steering-wheel controls at the driver's fingertips. A navigation system also will be on the options list, along with Sony audio systems.

With smarter performance, styling and sizing, Ford hopes the C-Max will appeal to a whole new set of up and coming families--urban couples having their first children, or grandparents pitching in for carpool duty. The C-Max also will depend on those premium features and the lower base pricetag to stir interest among those younger drivers.

And Ford expects to do it all without the minivan label, equating today's minivans with the appliance image that's always dogged anything tall, boxy, and dull.

"We are going to give millennials [an MPV] that's not a refrigerator," Farley says.

Stay tuned for High Gear Media's first drive of the 2012 Ford C-Max and more live photos.

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Comments (4)
  1. Chrysler (Dodge) will be bringing vastly improved mini-vans to market in a couple of months. They also have a full range of vans/crossovers in the works with Fiat that will give the Chrysler group a significant (dominant) position in this market. The mini-van market will become a Chrysler play ground shortly. Why not they invented it!

  2. Finally a sensible vehicle for the masses, about time!!!
    I'm still very fond of my drivers chassis Mercury Mistake. Bang for the buck not everyone wants to spent every last bit of their disposable income on a vehicle. Back in 60's yes but not with todays crowded non-drivers out there!!!

  3. I forgot to add what about 2012 Focus Wagon model got to less money without sliding doors and fancy 2nd seats. Even more bang-for-the-buck, although I have seen the dimensions for C-Max and a wagon but the seems to longer???

  4. Ford has a chance to carve out a nice little niche with this vehicle. To succeed they need to deliver 5 or more mpg than the full sized minivans. They also need to stay well below the price of the Sienna and Odyssey. If they could add all wheel drive - possibly by adding electric motors to the rear wheels for the hybrid model - they might steal sales from the Outback.

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