2013 Ford C-Max

Everyone likes to go after the champ. When it comes to fuel economy, that means taking on the Prius, which is something that automakers not named Toyota have been trying to do for years. Just because no one has been able to beat the Prius for fuel economy numbers isn't stopping them from trying. Hyundai was just caught with a potential Prius-fighter and now we have news that Ford is joining the party. Well, is going to join again.

The last time Ford said it was going to challenge the Prius, it didn't go quite as planned. The C-Max hybrid was heavily hyped as a Prius-beater and was originally rated at 47 miles per gallon. Of course, it later needed to be recalculated to just 40 mpg and sales tanked. So, it's back to the Blue Oval drawing board, according to Automotive News, which is reporting that Ford is readying a brand new gas-electric hybrid due in 2018 as a 2019 model year vehicle. A plug-in version is in the works, too, and the car will reportedly share a platform with the upcoming next-gen Focus and Escape models.

About those C-Max sales. They have not been stellar for the C-Max hybrid, which started strong but suffered when the reality of the lower fuel economy was realized. So far in 2014 (through the end of July), Ford has sold 11,685 gas-electric models and another 4,759 plug-in Energi versions. The trend for the standard C-Max is downward (from 20,125 during the same time frame in 2013) and upward for the plug-in version (2,915 in the first seven months of 2013).