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QUALITY | 8 out of 10
While the C-Max seems to compete most directly with the Prius V, differences are abundant. The C-Max is 8.1 inches shorter than the big V, although it’s slightly wider and taller.
Car and Driver
The handsome interior is far more attractive than the Prius V’s plastic jumble, and [the C-Max] has a real gearshift lever to the Prius’ annoyingly odd tap-shifter.
The well-appointed cabin [is] a comfortable and airy environment with plenty of cushy materials, bright lightings, and supportive seating.
The interior of the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid is a pretty nice place to spend time. The front seats are very comfortable, and there's plenty of space front and rear even for adults over 6 feet tall. The base SE model seats are covered in a pale synthetic upholstery material whose recycled content Ford proudly touts, though you'll find the leather seating surfaces on the SEL far more luxurious.
Ford has put a lot of effort into little interior details on the C-Max, and it shows. One example: Most cars with 12-Volt power sockets (the old "cigarette lighter") have rubber plugs to close them off, often on a floppy rubber leash. The C-Max has a hinged plastic lid, with a neat chrome ring around it and "12V" printed on top. The quality of that little item simply gives a better and more luxurious impression than the hard plastics and almost grim esthetic of the Toyota Prius range.
Another example we particularly liked: Most cars have two pairss of ventilation outlets in the dash, one at the outboard corners and one in the center. The C-Max has a third seat, midway down the center stack, that point downwards and notably increase the flow of heated or cooled air.
The rear seat folds and lowers with a pull on a single lever, and with the seats down, the C-Max Hybrid offers 52 cubic feet of load space (out of total interior volume of 99.7 cubic feet, just barely below the cutoff between compacts and mid-size cars). With the rear seat up, cargo volume is 25 cubic feet. Those numbers are higher than those of the Prius Liftback (which has only 21 cubic feet with the rear seat up) but lower than the Prius V wagon, which has 34 to 40 cubic feet with the sliding rear seat up, and 67 cubic feet when it's down.
The load bay has a full complement of family-friendly grocery-bag hooks, a storage net, and a 110-Volt outlet in the rear compartment. There are even small storage bins under the rear passengers' feet. But the floor of the load bay is actually a couple of inches higher than the bottom of the tailgate, which makes loading easy but somehow appears odd.
The 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid has plenty of room for people and goods, and Ford's well-thought-out controls and comfortable seats make the experience a pleasure.