Ford C-Max

With its latest C-Max, Ford has recognised there is a demand for different sizes of small MPV. Some people only need five seats. Others want the ability to pack extra members of the extended family and are looking for a family MPV that can accommodate seven.

The latest C-Max caters for these differing demands with the choice of C-Max or Grand C-Max. My choice was made for me. The car that arrived for appraisal was the five-seater – the Ford C-Max 1.6TDCi (115PS) Titanium to be precise.

There is particular interest in the C-Max because it is the first car to use the platform that is also used in the new Ford Focus. Although it will surely become as common as sight on our roads as the current Focus, the ink is still wet on the early reviews of Ford’s new global family car.

Ford C-Max

The C-Max is an attractive looking vehicle, with strong elements of Ford Focus and even Fiesta to its exterior design. Inside it manages to look a bit special.

But, more than looks, MPVs are all about space and the C-Max – although presumably not as capacious as the new C-Max Grand – does not disappoint.

Comfortably spacious for driver and passenger, there is also good space in the rear, where the seats are adjustable in true MPV style. As you would expect, there is the usual flexibility of fine-tuning the accommodation by adjusting and folding seats.

Unable to find any figures for boot space in this new model, I cannot say how many litres of load space there are with the seats up or down. Short of sealing the doors and filling the car with water, let me just say the boot is very big and very spacious. There’s space in there for that pine chest you spotted at the antique fair.

I found the C-Max a surprisingly enjoyable car to drive. The ride is good, soaking up many of the increasing imperfections on our roads. It also has excellent body control, meaning that the C-Max is as at home on the side roads as it is on the dual carriageways. The new electric steering system is precise, nicely weighted and provides enough feedback to make the C-Max reasonably rewarding to drive.

The whispering1.6 turbo-diesel adds to the air of refinement. I am slowly being won over by diesels and it is cars like this that are doing it. At tickover, even on a frosty morning, you have to open the door to hear a very muffled diesel “clatter”. Neither the noise, nor the vibration from the diesel makes its way into the cabin.

My one issue with the engine is the responsiveness in first and second gear. You need to get into the habit of giving the accelerator a purposeful prod to get the turbocharger spinning as you take off from a standing start. Then you need to repeat the prod again when you change into second gear, otherwise the engine will hesitate.

Once you learn that technique you will find that the C-Max powers through the gears with a satisfying and steady surge of power. Acceleration 0-62 mph is quoted as 11.3 seconds.

Ford C-Max interior

I have come across similar initial hesitancy on a number of test cars recently, which leaves me wondering if it has something to do with manufacturers trying to wring the best economy and lowest emissions figures from their cars?

If that is the aim, then Ford have succeeded with the C-Max 1.6 TDI. The combined fuel consumption figure is 61.4 mpg and, even driving fairly hard, I managed 35 mpg across five days of driving on a mixture of city and country roads. Carbon dioxide emissions are a very creditable 119g/km.

In addition to the Titanium goodies (that include the wonderful electrically-heated windscreen, so welcome on frosty mornings), the test car was fitted with the £525 Family Pack which gives you a power tailgate (very handy on mucky winter roads), rear sun blinds and a 230-volt power converter so you can use household electrical equipment in the car.

If you are looking for a family MPV the C-Max is now an even stronger contender to go on your shopping list and, reports suggest that seven-seater is equally desirable, if your tribe is larger.

The price of the Ford C-Max 1.6TDCI Titanium is £19,745.00.
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