I purchased my 2014 C-Max used about 2 weeks ago. I have owned and driven everything from a 5.0 Mustang convertible (OK, I do miss that car!) to a 2008 BMW M3 (don't miss that so much -- too disconnec...
I purchased my 2014 C-Max used about 2 weeks ago. I have owned and driven everything from a 5.0 Mustang convertible (OK, I do miss that car!) to a 2008 BMW M3 (don't miss that so much -- too disconnected from the driver) to a 1999 M3 (fun as heck but a nightmare to maintain) to an old school, lowered Honda Civic hatchback back in the day. I have driven several modern Ford Focus models (the C-Max is based on a Focus platform) and like them quite a bit, and recently my wife bought a 2012 Ford Focus Electric (FFE), which is a blast to drive, believe it or not, so that I've taken to calling it the "poor man's Tesla."
Given this experience I am continually surprised at the C-Max's fun-to-drive quotient, including use of 225/50-series tires and European car-style suspension. This car and the FFE drive more "like a BMW" than gone-too-soft current BMWs do! Yes, the C-Max's tall profile means some lean in hard cornering (not so the FFE, which corners flat), so you will not take the C-Max to race sports cars on mountain roads, but the suspension is tight and highly controllable in real-world driving. Combine that with the anytime-surge of power you can command from the power train with a nudge to the gas pedal, and you get a car that squirts commendably through traffic in the multilane urban jungle.
The best test of this concept was our recent road trip to LA, where not only does the C-Max hold its own in the typical LA-style cut-and-thrust driving, but the fuel economy was great. It seems that the worse the traffic, the better this car does. Now I understand why in the past few years it seems like EVERYONE in LA has gotten a hybrid (or a Tesla if they have dough). So I was getting 45+ MPG in LA traffic, similar to what I attain where I live in Arizona. On city streets, once the gas engine is warmed up you can use it relatively little and attain good mileage. I modulate the accelerator so that I use the gas engine (or gas engine + electric motor) on acceleration from a light or slowdown in traffic, and once I hit the pace of the street, I ease off on the gas pedal until the electric motor kicks in, then glide along on electrons. You can use the display screens left of the speedometer to help maximize the use of the motor. Doing this does result in 45+ MPG city driving. At the end of each drive, that left display screen will tell you how far you went, how many of those miles were on the electric motor, and your fuel economy for the trip. I've taken to trying to beat earlier mileage "scores" on my commute.
The mileage does drop on the freeway, especially if you go fast. Arizonans drive rapidly on the open road, so that the 80-85 mph average speed crossing the Arizona desert on the way home from LA returned about 34-35 MPG. But at those speeds even a Prius would do little if any better. I'm confident that lower freeway speeds in the C-Max would net closer to the 38 MPG highway rating on this car. Again, I have noticed in slower local urban freeway driving that you can get the electric motor to carry you for short distances. I use that trick on slight downhills and can go quite a way before the gas engine fires up again.
The interior of the C-Max is a reminder that this is a product of Ford's operation in Europe, where people are not afraid to pay for luxury interiors in small cars. This car's tall roofline and ample glass give the interior a roomy feel. It has VERY comfortable leather front seats, quality interior materials. The SEL model with the 302A option package includes a very good Sony stereo, nav, reasonably easy-to-use bluetooth interface, dual zone auto climate control, auto up/down on all windows, one-touch/three-blink lane change feature (like on BMWs), keyless entry (just touch the door handle to unlock if you have the key on you), 5-way adjustable(!) heated front seats, rear view backup camera, and a hands-free power lift gate. Those relegated to the back seat will confront some hard plastics, but they also will enjoy rear A/C vents and even a 110v electrical outlet for their inevitable phone or tablet device.
These cars represent a very good value -- well packaged and quite a deal new-used. Highly recommended.