This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Endurance Test: Ford C-Max Takes On Chevy Volt

Stocks in this article: GM F

Furthermore, the Ford's EV-only mode has a lot less power -- at least a third less -- than the Volt. When flooring it in a steep curvy uphill road, the Ford simply lacks power, and even engages the gasoline engine even though half the battery power remains. In contrast, the Volt has sports car power and never turns on the gasoline engine if there's battery power left.

This speaks to the Volt's main advantage: Its much larger battery, which is liquid-cooled/heated and has much more powerful electric components.

Yes, this costs more to manufacture, but the performance/smoothness advantage is also huge. Being able to drive 38 miles on electricity at full power is dramatically better than 21 miles with herky-jerky low-speed gasoline engine interruptions, and at much lower power in the Ford.

What about when the battery is down to the level where the gasoline engine HAS to kick in, no matter what? The Volt is rated at 35 MPG on the highway, and I yielded 37 MPG on the exact same 1,100 mile test loop as the Ford, with other ideal conditions also identical.

The Ford yielded 32.6 MPG on the same test, despite being rated at 43 MPG. Chew on that for a minute: The Volt performed 2 MPG ahead of its EPA estimate; the Ford at least 10 MPG below. That's a HUGE delta, and both cars weigh approximately 3,800 lbs.

So from a performance perspective, the Volt holds almost all of the cards: It drives almost twice as far on electricity alone, it does so without being forced into gasoline mode with annoying and herky-jerky frequency, it does so with much more power, and when it switches to gasoline mode it's no less efficient than the Ford despite the EPA rating suggesting otherwise.

Ford's only advantage is that once you're driving far, therefore on gasoline, it's got more power and it's quieter, especially on long uphill climbs at high speeds (70 MPH+).

What about the electronics and the dashboard? Ford gets a bit of an incomplete here because although you can download the iOS app, it doesn't yet work with this car. So it wasn't possible to test.

The screens in the Ford have plenty of information to show, but does much of it very poorly. The numbers mixes electric-only and hybrid driving for a deceptive combined number. Huge swaths of the high-quality LCD displays are filled with all sorts of irrelevant information, including illustrations of a bunch of growing trees. I kid you not. How juvenile!

2 of 4

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,804.80 +26.65 0.15%
S&P 500 2,070.65 +9.42 0.46%
NASDAQ 4,765.38 +16.9840 0.36%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs