I've now had my 2013 C-Max SE for one week and thought I'd post a few comments on my experience with the car. First off my wife and I love this car. I've owned a Ranger, Sport Trac and Escape in the past and have certain expectations of how I expect a car to drive. My '06 Escape was the least powerful vehicle I've owned with a 2.3L I-4. Despite the engine size it still moved when you gave it gas without hesitation (albeit with extra engine noise) which is what I expect. It could accelerate up hills with no problem. The down side was it was never as fuel efficient as I had expected averaging only 21 mpg on a split 50% city / 50% highway commute.
Enter the C-Max. I've had a growing interest in hybrids because of their fuel economy. I opted out of the Prius after reading review after review describing acceleration as anemic and strained at best. Good mpg does me no go if the car won't go and go fast when I want it to. The C-Max did not disappoint in this aspect. The mix of electric and 2.0L gas motor makes this car move when you want it to. On my first test drive I floored the gas to see what it could do and actually managed to spin the wheels. There's no confusing this car with a Mustang (nor is it designed to be) but when asked this car will move. It's nice knowing that when that 18 wheeler cuts me off and begins moving into my lane on the freeway I've got the power I need to clear the lane.
After reading reviews of other hybrids I was also concerned about the quality of the interior. Because the C-Max comes in cheaper than Ford's previous hybrids I wondered if it was at the expense of the interior quality. In short it was not, the interior is top notch and the seats are very comfortable. From what I've read in other articles the C-Max shares the same front seats as the ones that have received high praise in the new Ford Escape. I also like that Ford added the redundant controls for the A/C. The A/C works well and doesn't stop when the gas motor stops (which occurs is some hybrids). The rear vents for the second row of seats aren’t particularly powerful but the vehicle is small enough that the cabin cools quickly anyways.
As for the rated mpg I think Ford may have been a bit optimistic here. If you hyper mile and are very easy on the gas pedal I believe you can easily reach or exceed the rated 47 mpg combined rating. In real world driving though you have to keep up with traffic when the light turns green. That means giving it lots of gas and not feather light gas pressure. That being said with real world starts from red lights (not turtle starts) and freeway speeds in the 65mph to 70mph range I've been averaging 40 mpg according to the trip computer. I have yet to actually finish the first tank and that number may go up after calculating the mpg based on miles driven and gallons added to the tank rather than the trip computer. I still have 5/8 of a tank and have already driven 240 miles vs. my '06 Escape which would typically go 280 miles and need 13 gallons of gas at the pump. So time will tell how easy it is to reach 47mpg but 40mpg has been easy so far.
The in dash LCD screens are really the key to the whole hybrid system. Ford has engineered so many ways to monitor your accelerating and braking habits into the screens that it literally becomes a game trying to improve your driving habits. Even my wife jokes that this car has turned me into a safer driver. There should be some kind of insurance discount for that.
Inside the vehicle it's quiet. Ford has done an incredible job isolating the noise from the interior even when the engine is on. Everyone I've given a ride has commented on how quiet it is inside the cabin. That being said if you've never driven a hybrid before you're in for a few surprises. There are some weird noises that you aren't used to from a gas powered vehicle. For example the electric motor has a low pitch whine when you brake. I believe it's caused by the electric motor running backwards during braking to generate electricity. It's only noticeable if the radio is off (as is the case for all the hybrid related noises) but it takes you by surprise because it's a sound you've never heard in a gas vehicle. None of these sounds are bad or deal breakers by any means just new.
All together the only negative thing I have to say about my C-Max after one week is related to the MyFord Touch system. The system is amazing and the 8" screen is bright and easy to read in direct sunlight. However as has been mentioned by others glitches do exist. They're minor glitches and can be worked around or tolerated but they do exist. On one occasion the system froze while trying to access a USB thumb drive which required turning the car off for several minutes then back on which fixed the problem. Every time I start the car (with the USB thumb drive plugged in) the stereo system reverts to the same song on the USB drive and I have to switch back to Sirius or FM or whatever I had left it on, not a big issue but a glitch. This issue is made more comical by the fact that it always chooses the same Sesame Street song from my kid's music folder "C is for cookie that's good enough for me" as I drive along in my C Max. On one occasion I lost the Sirius preset labels. As others have mentioned you just switch to a different audio source then back to Sirius and the labels return. Finally on several occasions the A/C screen displayed different settings then the manual controls. In that case making any change to the on screen A/C controls resyncs the system. Overall small issues but issues that should have been worked out before the system went to prime time. Given the choice again I may have opted for the standard wing shaped audio system with sync and waited for Scosche or Metra to produce their dash kit to install an aftermarket double din navigation system. They've already produced aftermarket kits that maintain Sync functionality for the new Focus which has a similar dash shape. It will only be a matter of time before it's modified for use in the C-Max. However the aftermarket kit will not work in the C-Max's equipped with the MyFord Touch system because of the different dash configuration. So for now I'll patiently wait for the MyFord Touch updates.