Ford’s C-MAX is a hot seller in Europe where it accounts for 12% of all minivan sales so far in 2014. But it suffered a huge black eye here in America earlier this year when it failed to come close to the fuel economy numbers Ford promised in real world driving. Since then, US sales have fallen by half.
In Europe, Ford is adding stop-start technology on all gasoline and diesel powered models to further boost fuel efficiency. It also is introducing a new line of more powerful but cleaner burning gasoline and diesel engines. But that’s not all Ford is doing to entice overseas shoppers to buy a C-MAX. Here are some of the other safety and convenience systems featured on the latest models:
- Active Parallel Park Assist – at the push of a button, this system determines if the car will fit in an available parking space, then operates the steering while the driver controls the gas and the brake.
- Perpendicular Park Assist – similar to Parallel Park Assist but guides the car backward into a space at right angles to the curb between two other parked cars.
- Cross Traffic Alert – when exiting a space at right angles to the curb, this system alerts the driver to oncoming traffic up to 133 feet away.
- Park Out Assist – when parked parallel to the curb, this system helps the driver get out of the space and back into a travel lane.
- Active City Stop – at speeds up to 30 mph, the system looks for solid objects in the road ahead and pre-charges the braking system, reduces engine power and, as a last resort, applies the brakes automatically to bring the car to a halt or reduce the severity of a crash.
- Active Braking – at speeds between 5 and 110 mph, this system looks for moving objects in the car’s path, issues warnings to the driver and applies the brakes if necessary.
- Adaptive Cruise Control – maintains a preset distance behind the car ahead, even if that car is going slower than the desired cruising speed.
- Distance Warning – if Adaptive Cruise Control is not active, this system warns the driver when the car gets too close to the vehicle ahead using a series of color coded lights.
- Sync 2 connectivity – this voice-activated connectivity system features an 8-inch color touch screen and advanced voice control for hands-free operation of audio, navigation, climate control, maps and connected mobile phone functions. It allows drivers to issue simple “one-shot” navigation destinations and playlist requests. Just push the voice control button and say “I’m hungry”. A list of local restaurants with driving directions will appear on screen.
Looking at this list of features, it is clear the Ford is well on the way to offering Level III autonomous cars in the very near future, although there is no word when or if any of these safety systems will be offered on US models of the C-MAX. In fact, one has to wonder how long Ford will continue to offer the C-MAX for sale in America in the face of such dismal sales figures. The marketplace does not seem interested in forgiving Ford for its hyper-inflated fuel economy claims any time soon, and that apparently has the Blue Oval looking to build a new, dedicated Prius fighter.