Spacious and practical. Economical.
If you have a family then you'll need a car that is safe, practical, reliable and offers good resale value for the future. I've got three children and the first thing I look for in a car is a proven track record. MPV's are just the ticket, and the Ford C-Max is considered to be the best on the market despite fierce competition from Vauxhall and from modern crossovers such as the Kia Sportage and wonderful (but often overlooked) Skoda Yeti. My pick of the C-Max range is the MPV 1.6 TDCi 115 Zetec 5dr as it promises to blend economy with style. The question is, does it?
The Ford C-Max has recently had a facelift, and it is now more handsome than ever. It isn't any Porsche, but the C-Max has real charm and road presence, thanks to its Kuga inspired front end and Fiesta inspired rear. It is, actually, my favourite looking MPV on the market currently and if you get one in black you'll be able to mix it with the rep barges on the motorway in the morning. In Zetec trim alloy wheels and fog lights comes as standard which set up the C-Max perfectly. Around town, it never looks too large or out of proportion, and it makes many other new cars look rather boring.
The Ford C-Max is easily the best handling MPV I've ever driven. It is planted at high speeds and the chassis is actually very good fun to exploit on twisty roads. Paired to my engine pick of the range, the 1.6 TDCi, the C-Max is nippy around town despite its dimensions. The engine produces 115 bhp and a respectable 199 lb /ft of torque, which makes motorway driving a breeze and town driving relaxed. No matter what gear you are in, the C-Max pulls with real intent, and whilst it is never fast it'll get you to your destination without ever being boring. It even does a good job of keeping win noise and road noise to a minimum at higher speeds. 0 - 60 takes 11.3 seconds but in the real world it feels brisker than that, which isn't bad for an MPV.
The C Max, just like the Focus, Fiesta and Kuga, has a very modern interior which is of a high quality but cost cutting can be seen in certain areas. First, the good news - the interior is silver and black, which is a lovely contrast, and the dashboard and door sills are soft touch, which make the car feel deceptively premium. The steering wheel is a little bit old fashioned to look at, a gripe I have with many modern Ford's, but it is wrapped in leather along with the gear knob for comfort. Cost saving can be found in the lower section of the center console, which is hard silver plastic, and if you grab at it and put pressure on it, it can creak, although this will unlikely result in any future hassle. The driving position is sporty in the C-Max although slightly higher than average to offer the driver a good view of the road.
The Ford C-Max MPV 1.6 TDCi 115 Zetec 5dr returns class leading running costs. Combined fuel consumption is quoted by Ford as 62.8 mpg, which isn't achievable in the real world, but you can achieve 55 mpg quite easily on the motorway. Around town, high 40's is achievable although realistically you are looking at around 43 mpg.
Trim and equipment
Zetec trim comes with plenty of kit. As standard, this includes air conditioning, heated electric mirrors, MP3 / iPod connectivity, CD player, alloy wheels, fog lights, Bluetooth and DAB radio. Optional extras include cruise control (£200), metallic paint (£525), sat nav (£750) and rear parking sensors (£225). Strangely, heated seats are not included as an optional extra. Titanium is the next step up the range, which nets you automatic headlights, climate control, keyless entry / start and tastier alloy wheels. This, naturally, adds around £1k more to the new asking price. Titanium X is the highest specification C-Max money can buy.
There is very little not to like about the new Ford C-Max. It is involving to drive in town, refined on the motorway, comfortable for driver and passenger, offers a good level of equipment in Zetec trim and returns good fuel economy. Is a crossover, which offers more desirable looks but less practicality, a better family vehicle? Well, the Kuga is Ford's answer to that question, but that doesn't offer the same potential resale value as the C-Max nor the sporty drive. I say, if you have a family, the C-Max is the perfect vehicle for your needs.