Agreed, there's a lot in common with prior hybrids, but there are a number of firsts. It's a first-gen Li-ion powertrain, industry wide. That's big, as no one has real-world data on Li-ion performance. The Key Life Test is just an accelerated life test, not actual life.
It's a new power train, so we're seeing unexpected failures, like the tranny pump in early taxi fleets, and the several tranny replacements reported to date. My car is 100% EV when it's first started; even though the ICE is running. EV uses a different torque path through the tranny, perhaps bypassing the problem part(s) until they're properly lubed/warmed/ready, whatever the issue might be. Then there's 14B07; Porter's in the right date range, but no letter yet.
Then there's the market. It's Ford's first-gen dedicated hybrid and first with a plug-in option. That the drivetrain is available as a choice in other models just broadens the test population, allowing comparisons between the "Prius buyer" they targeted and their established drivetrain-option hybrid buyer. They made some guesses, like the 63 MPH EV limit, that didn't work out, and a whole lot of stupid mistakes affecting perceptions more than performance.
When looking at advanced technology, there will always be old tech around it. It can be hard to tell which is which. Ford did not license the power split system, and neither did Toyota. TRW patented it in 1972 as I recall, so the patents ran out in 1990. GM patented the neodymium magnet in 1982, so it's patents ran out in 2000. The unique new technology is in the control systems and power converters, as that's where "getting it all to play nice" has great benefit.
We don't get to see Ford policy and strategy plans, but it appears they want to be second in line, not the leader in the field, but rather a profitable competitor. If history holds, it bodes well for Ford.
I don't see the switch to the LiON battery a major change. Yes, there are questions about the longevity, though so far from what I've seen, the estimations are holding true. While we don't have solid data about how long (in terms of time) the batteries will last, the technology has been around long enough that we are seeing the mileage estimates come true. While many of these vehicles are not Fords (Hyundai started using LiON batteries in their 2011 Sonata Hybrid), the fact is that many fleet vehicles are seeing 300,000 miles out of their car's LiON batteries. It is also worth noting that Hyundai is offering a lifetime hybrid battery warranty on their new Sonata Hybrids (as I recall, they started in 2013), which I think reflects Hyundai's comfort that the batteries were holding up to what their initial testing showed. Beyond the longevity, it makes little difference to the Hybrid system, other than how the system uses the power from the battery and how it charges it.
I was tempted to mention TRW pioneering the Hybrid technology Ford and Toyota are using, though decided it wasn't worth mentioning. The fact is, both Ford and Toyota, with the "control systems and power converters," made the TRW system workable and owns enough patents that other manufacturers (such as Honda, VW, and Hyundai) have created their own hybrid systems.
The fact is that the C-Max and Fusion both use Ford's third generation of hybrid systems. Yes, they are continually trying to improve things, such as using an electric motor with more power that can operate the car at higher speeds. Granted, at least part of this was driven by the creation of the Energi line, having a plug-in vehicle necessitated the ability for the car to operate at high speeds under battery power. But the fact remains, these changes were evolutionary in nature, built upon the first two generations of hybrid vehicles Ford produced; they were not revolutionary changes.
Last, while the C-Max is Ford's first "dedicated" hybrid, the fact remains that even it wasn't much of a change. It is not a "dedicated" hybrid vehicle to Ford, since the same car is produced with both gasoline and diesel variants in Europe -- in fact this current generation of C-Max was a traditional car first before becoming a hybrid, this current body style was introduced in 2010 in Europe. There are signs in our cars that show it is not a true dedicated hybrid, such as the raised load floor in the cargo area. As such, there really isn't nearly as much difference between the Fusion and the C-Max, in terms of the C-Max being a dedicated hybrid, as you are trying to claim.