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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.
We find the entire 2014 Ford C-Max lineup to be very impressive for hauling four adults around. The back seats are a bit on the low side, leaving anyone adult-sized in a knees-up position; but there's plenty of legroom and headroom. Ride quality is firm but just agreeable enough, active noise cancellation and lots of sound-insulation measures help keep on-the-road refinement at its best.
Front seats are very comfortable, and there's plenty of space front and rear even for adults over six feet tall. The base SE model seats are covered in a pale synthetic (recycled) upholstery, though you'll find the leather seating surfaces on the SEL far more plush.
The rear seat in the C-Max is surprisingly comfortable—more so than equivalent accommodations in compact crossovers—and it folds and lowers with a pull on a single lever. Entry and exit are quite easy, too.
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.
In Energi models, the battery pack takes up some valuable cargo space, turning what would be a flat cargo floor into a compromised, multi-level affair that seems critically flawed when you flip forward the rear seatbacks.
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 2014 C-Max models definitely aren't luxury-car quiet, but their cabins are more refined than you might expect—and definitely more refined than those of the Prius family. Active Noise Cancellation is included, and it analyzes certain sounds in the cabin and cancels them out through the door speakers in real time.
A very roomy, well-designed interior makes the most of the compact-car footprint in the Ford C-Max, while comfortable seats and straightforward controls add appeal.