I've lurked on this thread for a long time and read most of the responses. Some of the answers that occurred to me have been discussed, but several have not.
Thought I would sum up.
Here's smiling Jack's list of the top 10 advantages of the C-max Energi vs. the Hybrid that can be realized even if you don't plug in:
(several of which have been discussed in posts above)
10. The rear load floor is between waist and thigh high - the perfect height to load and unload heavy objects without straining you back. Think of a case of beer, for example.
(No kidding - I REALLY enjoy this!)
9. When the Energi rear seats are folded down there is a rise where they meet the rear load floor. This means that you can put a slide-able package there and not need to worry that it will slide back when you "floor it."
8. The Energi has a larger gas tank.
7. The Energi can deliver more power to the wheels. IIRC it is about 30 HP. This, combined with the Energi's lower final drive ratio can make the Energi quicker in acceleration (particularly at street speeds) in spite of its greater weight.
6. The heavier battery in the rear results in more even front-to-rear weight distribution. This should promote better handling.
5. (As has been discussed above) You might qualify for an HOV sticker.
4. (Also as ha been discussed) The Energi could be cheaper to buy. As was the case when I bought my 2013 new, the current sticker prrice of a Energi is higher than the (similarly equipped) Hybrid SEL by almost exactly the amount of the Federal tax credit; so if you qualify for the whole amount of that credit and you also qualify for a state tax benefit or rebate, the Energi would be cheaper in the end.
3. (Also as has been discussed) It is indeed possible to re-charge the whole battery without plugging in, either while under ICE power or while regen braking. Depending upon the nature of your trips, this could result in significant boosts in EV range and/or overall mpg.
2. The charging port on the front fender is like a Badge of Honor. The green-wise public definitely notice it and admire you for it. In some circles its a status symbol. I even got a "thumbs up" form a Tesla driver.
1. (to be continued)