Originally published on CleanTechnica.
The moment I got in the spacious canopy of the LEAF, moving effortlessly with a unique and agile responsiveness, I changed. With a softer drive, the LEAF is as easy as cars get. I think it is the most naturally cooperative car to drive. Until the Model 3 or 2018 LEAF is out, I decided to compare the drive of a C-Max Energi to a Nissan LEAF to get a better understanding of the options on the market.
I was seasoned by the LEAF when I test drove a Tesla. Perhaps Tesla is as responsive; perhaps it is as soft — surely, must be. I still prefer the cut of the LEAF (if not the range to Tesla) — lightly, higher up from the road, an excellent view and lots of it. The day I drove both, it was LEAF that lingered in my mind. Like many, I am waiting to test drive the Model 3 and compare. Tesla is the king of range. But for now, how does the C-Max Energi size up (on a test drive, at least)?
If you have not driven a LEAF yet, I encourage you to test drive one and experience the finesse. Take a half hour and explore the lighter footprint. I take smooth responsiveness for granted; I expect it now. However, seeing C-MAX Energis here and there, I thought it was time to test drive one and compare. After all, the C-Max could make it longer distances. What would I have to give up for the convenience of gas (thus, range) in a plug-in hybrid?
I scheduled a test drive at Ford. Arriving in any automobile showroom other than Tesla’s is always surreal. Why have so many gas vehicles? Why not more EVs? There are the few unique electric hybrids and plug-ins hidden amidst the massive, over-the-top, giant-wheeled, gas-guzzling trucks. It is a strange experience to look at the immense size of a line of trucks while looking for a small and ecologically tidy EV. Wish those trucks were electric. How soon will they be?
The Ford salesperson was very courteous, kind, and helpful — perfect service. I explained my predicament — that I love the LEAF but am interested in a vehicle that goes the distance when a charger is missing on highways like Alligator Alley. He explains that the only C-Max Energi on the lot is a used 2013.
I drive the C-Max Energi. It is responsive compared to my old gas car. It is not nearly as smoothly responsive as the LEAF. I wonder how much the 2013 and 2016 differ. There is noise. I watch the battery charging on and off and hear that sound of a gas vehicle. The brakes are not as subtle and responsive. My sister’s hybrid SUV seems quieter. I miss the spacious windows of the LEAF. The only EV with nicer windows in my opinion is the BMW i3. Everything seems tighter inside the C-Max. It is not as roomy as the LEAF.
I don’t know how much better the 2016 C-Max Energi is, but this drive of the used C-Max Energi 2013 is worlds apart from the softer ride of a heavenly LEAF. Rougher around the ridges or something. What a drag the noise of a car is. After having only quiet in the LEAF, even this plug-in hybrid seems too loud for me.
I am not impressed with anything except with the informative sales person. I do not want to say anything negative about the C-Max. For another, the EV will still save on gas and pollution. The drive is not for me, though. It is not as smooth, not as agile, not a spacious, not as quiet, not as light. I am still smitten with the LEAF. No deal. I merely wish again for more intercity rail in Florida. Or expansion of electric buses for clean and easy city-to-city travel.