But the Focus Electric can’t escape some inherent deficiencies, including a cramped rear seat and frustrating MyFord Touch controls. In addition, the large, lithium-ion battery pack consumes much of the modest cargo space.
The smaller i-MiEV squeezes out the equivalent of 111 mpg overall or 3.28 miles per kWh, making it the most energy-efficient car Consumer Reports has tested. But in almost every other way, the i-MiEV lives up to the lowest expectations you might have of an electric car. It’s slow, chintzy, cramped, and so far off the mark that testers often felt it was closer to being a glorified golf cart than an actual car. While the Focus Electric costs about $41,000, compared with $33,630 for the i-MiEV, it’s definitely the better choice for consumers who want to go gas free. (Both prices are before a $7500 federal tax credit, and other state incentives may apply. There are also inexpensive lease deals for the Focus.)
Neither vehicle is recommended. Both are too new for Consumer Reports to have sufficient reliability data for them. And the i-MiEV scores too low in our tests.
Consumer Reports also tested Ford’s C-Max, an appealing hybrid hatchback that packs a lot of room within its compact size. Consumer Reports’ measured fuel economy is 37 mpg overall. That’s impressive but falls far below the EPA’s stated combined city and highway of 47 mpg .
The C-Max’s arch-rival is the Toyota Prius V. The C-Max can’t match the Prius V’s 41-mpg overall fuel economy or generous interior space. But the Ford is quieter and much more enjoyable to drive. Handling is agile, with quick and ideally weighted steering, and it rides very comfortably. Like other Fords, the optional MyFord Touch system is frustrating, but even the standard radio controls are overcomplicated. A plug-in hybrid Energi version is also available. The C-Max rates just below the Mazda5 at the top of Consumer Reports overall ratings for small wagons, but is too new for Consumer Reports to have compiled reliability data to Recommend it.
Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.
The full report and road test results are available at ConsumerReports.org on Jan. 23 and in the March issue of Consumer Reports. Updated daily, ConsumerReports.org is the go-to Website for the latest auto reviews, product news, blogs on breaking news and car buying information. Check out CR’s ongoing Twitter feed at @CRCars
Consumer Reports has still images and B-Roll from its testing track available upon request of the Ford Fusion, Ford C-Max, Ford Focus Electric and Mitsubishi i-MiEV.
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