Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2016 BMW i3 VS 2016 Ford C-MAX Near Phoenix, AZ

Responsive image

2016 BMW i3

Responsive image

2016 Ford C-MAX

Safety Comparison

The i3 offers optional Collision Mitigation, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The C-MAX Energi doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The BMW i3 has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The C-MAX Energi doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

Both the i3 and the C-MAX Energi have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rear parking sensors and available rearview cameras.

Warranty Comparison

The i3 comes with a full 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24 hour roadside assistance. The C-MAX Energi’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The i3’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the C-MAX Energi’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the i3 for 4 years and 50,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Ford doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the C-MAX Energi.

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 12th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 18th in reliability, above the industry average. With 42 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 24th.

Engine Comparison

As tested in Car and Driver the BMW i3 is faster than the Ford C-MAX Energi:


C-MAX Energi

Zero to 30 MPH

2.7 sec

2.9 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.5 sec

7.9 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.5 sec

8 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

2.5 sec

4.4 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.1 sec

5.2 sec

Quarter Mile

15.3 sec

16.1 sec

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the i3 with its standard motor gets better fuel mileage than the C-MAX Energi on its electric motor alone (137 city/111 hwy vs. 95 city/81 hwy MPGe).

On the EPA test cycle the i3 REx gets better fuel mileage running on electricity alone than the C-MAX Energi on its electric motor alone (127 city/107 hwy vs. 95 city/81 hwy MPGe).

On the EPA test cycle the i3 gets better fuel mileage running its optional range extender than the C-MAX Energi running its gasoline motor (41 city/37 hwy vs. 40 city/36 hwy).

The i3 REx’s maximum driving range in pure electric mode is 81 miles, about 4 times as far as the C-MAX Energi’s 21 mile range.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The i3’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the C-MAX Energi are solid, not vented.

The i3 stops much shorter than the C-MAX Energi:


C-MAX Energi

70 to 0 MPH

163 feet

187 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the i3 has standard 19-inch wheels. Only 17-inch wheels are available on the C-MAX Energi. The i3 offers optional 20-inch wheels.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the i3 is 1.4 inches wider in the front and 1.6 inches wider in the rear than on the C-MAX Energi.

The i3’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (48.2% to 51.8%) than the C-MAX Energi’s (54.1% to 45.9%). This gives the i3 more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the i3’s turning circle is 6.7 feet tighter than the C-MAX Energi’s (32.3 feet vs. 39 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The BMW i3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1000 to 1250 pounds less than the Ford C-MAX Energi.

The i3 is 1 foot, 4.2 inches shorter than the C-MAX Energi, making the i3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Ergonomics Comparison

When different drivers share the i3, the memory system makes it convenient. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The C-MAX Energi doesn’t offer a memory system.

The i3 has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The C-MAX Energi doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the i3 has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The C-MAX Energi doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The i3 has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The C-MAX Energi has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the i3 offers an optional Active Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The C-MAX Energi doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Economic Advantages Comparison

The i3 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The Intellichoice estimates that the i3 will retain 46.75% to 47.37% of its original price after five years, while the C-MAX Energi only retains 43.11%.

Recommendations Comparison

Both the BMW i3 and Ford C-MAX Energi won four awards in Kiplinger’s 2015 car issue.

 The i3 is ranked first in its class and received the 2015 “Total Quality Award.” The C-MAX Energi is not ranked.

© 1991-2016 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. Who We Are
Click here to view the disclaimers, limitations and notices about EPA fuel mileage, crash tests, coprights, trademarks, and other issues.