Ford takes on Toyota’s Prius with C-Max hybrid

Ford has been spending quite a lot of time and money ramping up its green vehicle fleet.

Indeed, the auto manufacturer is specifically targeting the Toyota Prius V hybrid in the United States with its new C-Max Hybrid vehicle. And why not? Toyota has led hybrid sales in the United States since 2000 when it first launched the Prius – and Ford now wants the top spot for itself.

“Toyota has an incredible hold on the hybrid market, unlike any hold any manufacturer has on any segment,” explained Jeremy Acevedo, an analyst at Edmunds. “But hybrids have tremendous avenues for growth.”

Ford is betting that the C-Max will be capable of besting Toyota’s similar offering – thanks to its lower sales price and higher EPA certified fuel economy. To be sure, the Prius V is EPA rated at 44 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway, while the C-Max is EPA rated at 47 mpg on both city streets and the highway. Typically, hybrids get better fuel efficiency in the city than they do on the highway.

Ford also expects its hybrid horsepower advantages (despite being more fuel-efficient) to lure potential auto shoppers away from Toyota showrooms. Remember, the Ford C-Max boasts 188 total HP  – combining its gasoline engine and electric motors – whereas the Toyota Prius V offers 134 total HP.

Of course, one of the biggest factors in luring customers to Ford dealerships when shopping for a hybrid is likely to be the sales price – and the C-Max carries a base MSRP of $25,995, making it $1350 cheaper than the Prius.

“The reason we’re bullish on C-MAX is because we know we’re not first to market, but in many ways we are best to market,” added Ford exec Michael O’Brien.