I'm very happy with the car. I average 45 mpg driving from my home in the country into town daily. It's not a big vehicle like a van but just a tall wagon/crossover. Getting in and out is easy and I like the ride height behind the wheel. It does not corner a u turn on a dime because it's a tall vehicle. To make it corner like a car is a roll over risk with it's tall height. Spend time getting to know a vehicle before you buy to make sure it fits your driving habits. If you are someone who is not always driving in a hurry then this is a great choice. If you need to get from 1 stop sign to the next as fast as you can...look elsewhere. Don't buy this if you want a performance car.
I think for the price, its intended audience and its balance of comfort/handling this car is a knockout.
Let's get this out of the way... This car is not as big as the Prius V, not as efficient as the other two Prii and is not everything to all people... It will never measure up if you are comparing it to all the other hybrid choices at once and to other cars on top of that.
It is noisy? Really??? Compared to a Lexus, maybe, but it has far more sound insulation than other hybrids, in addition to being nearly silent in electric mode and having noise cancellation tech. Also, the turning radius is quite large but it is no more unsafe in this respect than a variety of large vehicles.
UPDATE: 4/24/16. Have had my Cmax for about three years now. It drives today like the day it was taken off the lot. It is an awesome little car. Ford had to swap out my Nav unit as the original was flaky but other than that it has been reliable. The car keeps track of its "lifetime" fuel economy and it is approx. 43 mpg. Could not be happier with it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
I never thought I'd ever buy a hybrid but the Cmax won me over. It simply drives like a normal car and does virtually everything I need a car to do very well!
Ride quality and handling are simply amazing for a tallish hatchback. Interior room is great. Engine and trans are great. Acceleration is WAY better than I thought it would be but heck, this thing has nearly 190 HP. I will keep up with (and pass) most anything on the road if you need it to.
My '13 Cmax has approx. 23,000 miles on it now and it still drives like new. Had a few minor teething issues initially that were solved by my dealer such as the GPS system and a faulty "smart" window motor/regulator. Other than an oil change it has not been back for service is two years.
The Cmax has been claimed to get poor mileage. Well, I get WAY over the revised numbers Ford now states. Driving it normally without much "hyper mile" techniques my Lifetime Average is over 42 mph. If I feel like playing the games that hybrids can require to get really good mileage I can get 45-50 mpg as long as I'm not on the highway above 70mph too much.
If you are considering a Cmax...BUY ONE. You will love it. It's American made and in my opinion it is superior compared to the boring imported choice that some seem to think is the only option.
If you make several short trips a day, you will use no gas. It go's about 21 miles on all electricity before it switches to hybrid mode, which it does very smoothly. On a long trip of about 1000 miles, all hybrid I got 43 miles per gal. I normally drive about 15 miles a day back and forth to work and never use gas. It cost about $.60 to fully charge the batteries. So the cost of electricity, equal to the cost of gas, would give you about 100 MPG depending on the price per gallon of gas.
I bought the SE, least accessories, and still love the car. Phone sync is great and software update for car is easy. It can accelerate well but spins the front tires too easily. Handling is good with moderate body roll that can alarm if you execute panic evasive maneuvers. It's a trade off for comfort. If the weather drops below 50 degrees the engine management goes to gas too often for my tastes. Mileage when air temp is 60 and above is as advertised, then it drops off as it gets colder. Backing up really would benefit from rear view camera but I was too cheap for it. The aftermarket cameras want the larger display though that is on upscale models. Fit and finish is great, and it can brake quite well, though one or two short stops and the mileage coach starts chiding you. This car does NOT have a spare, and instead you get a sealing and inflation mechanism. Reach to the steering wheel is too long for my tastes, and does not match the pedal reach. Storage is great, particularly since the rear seats fold totally flat with no humps or slopes. Stereo is good for base model, but runs out of steam at Judas Priest sound levels.