Recently refreshed inside and out, Ford’s C-Max has always been a good choice for those seeking space, sporty performance, versatility and economy . We find out if it’s still as good to drive
What is it? The five seater Ford C- Max is essentially a Ford Focus with a higher driving position and more flexibility. It is just one of a number of options from Ford there is also a Grand C-Max with seven seats.
Who is it aimed at? As families are getting smaller the attraction of more flexibility than a hatchback affords but in a smaller package than the larger MPVs is immediately obvious. Parent with young kids often prefer more boot space and the extra room for arms and legs; often compromised in seven-seat options
Styling? The five-seater C-max is a good looking car in a pleasantly understated way and looks more sporty and much less mumsy than the previous version.
Under the Bonnet? Powering our test car was 1.6TDCi. This delivers 70kW and gives a top speed of 170km with 100km reached from rest in 13.3 seconds.
What’s it like inside? The interior of the C-Max is supremely comfortable, with beautifully supportive seats and a wonderful dash. Everything is familiar Ford and is sensible, straightforward, solid and the quality of material used is high throughout. There is a decent sized boot and enough room for luggage as long you taken the Ryanair approach to packing!
On the Road? Ford brought car like driving dynamics to the MPV market and the C-Max is great to drive, the steering is crisp and it handles and corners almost like a sports saloon. There is oodles of grip and the ride is firm but comfortable. On the open road it is smooth and refined and the six-speed manual gearbox is slick. The 1.6 diesel is our pick of the engine range although it is a tad noisy.
And Safety? It achieved five stars in the Euro NCAP crash test programme. The C-Max also achieved the highest score recorded for whiplash protection and excelled in both adult occupant and child occupant safety categories.This is all good news.
Options? The C-Max comes with a host of options and trims. Our test car came with two particularly useful extras. A Blind Spot Information System, means when a car, van or lorry – enters your blind spot, it alerts you with a discreet orange warning light built into the driver’s and passenger’s door mirrors. We also sampled Ford’s automatic parking system which allows the C-Max to park itself at the touch of a button. Taking all the stress out of parking, the C-Max will squeeze itself into frustrating parking spots. The system is able to measure the size of the parking space and from this determine whether the car will fit into it. The driver controls the brake and accelerator while the Parking system controls the steering of the car.
How about Fuel Economy? The C-Max’s fuel economy is one of the best in class and the 1.6-litre diesel version can average 4.6 litres per 100 km on a combined cycle with tax-friendly emissions of 119g/km (€160 Annual Motor tax).
Okay so the verdict? Real driver enjoyment is hard to find outside of the hatchback market but the C-Max is the exception and offers a practical, versatile, economic family car option that is surprisingly good to drive. The five-seat version is distinctly more agile and better to drive but the seven seater is by far the more practical of the two. Whichever you choose A to B motoring just got a whole lot more exciting.
Why you’ll buy one? Driving dynamics; Styling, Economy
Why you won’t? A Focus estate or the Grand C-Max might be a better option depending on your needs
Citroen C4 Picasso VTR+ HDi 110 6-speed manual €26,890
Volkswagen Touran 1.6TDI 105BHP BMT 5 seat Trendline €27,175
Opel Zafira 1.7CDTi 16v (110PS) €32,990
Ford C-Max Titanium 1.6 TDCi.
Engine: 1,560cc, four-cylinder, turbo-diesel engine developing 170kW at 3,600rpm and 230Nm between 1,750 and 2,500rpm.
Max speed: 170 km
0-100km/h: 13.3 seconds
Emissions (motor tax): 119g/km (€160 annual motor tax)
Starting price: €25,011
Model price range: €25,011 – €31,332 (test car €29,087 *)
No of Doors: 5
Euro NCAP: 5 stars
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 4.6 litres per 100 km
Boot Capacity Seats up: 471 litres (1723 litres)
Car Seats: Isofix points for two car seats in the back, both simple to access
*optional extras included Active Park Assist €796; Convenience Pack: €510; BLIS – Titanium: optional extra at €870
25th July, 2012