Ford says that its C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid will come in at $29,995, a figure that comes with a big asterisk.
Here’s the caveat: the Ford C-MAX costs $33,745, but owners can apply for a $3,750 federal tax credit and an additional $1,500 credit in California. The Toyota Prius plug-in, Ford’s main rival, starts at $32,000. So while the $29,995 base MSRP is less than accurate, it still undercuts the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid by two thousand bucks and allows Ford to sneakily get away with the “under $30,000″ mantra.
Ford claims that after credits, it’s America’s cheapest plug-in hybrid. But if you can live without the electrical outlet, there are options. America’s cheapest regular hybrid is a duel between the Honda Insight, at $18,500, and the Toyota Prius c, which is $18,950, a mere few hundred dollars more than that. From there the regular Prius (no wagons, plug-ins, or compactness) starts at $24,000. We reported that the C-MAX has more EV-only range than the Prius plug-in, and this slightly lower price is on point with beating Ford’s strongest competitor.
If you want to see how far you can option a C-MAX, Ford’s online configurator is available at its website.