Ford C-Max Titanium 1.6 TDCi
Handsome new look will appeal to all
- Improved looks are distinctive
- Cabin is well thought-out and quality in feel
- Sharp chassis remains a pleasure to use
- Simplified range is well-equipped
- 1.6-litre diesel unit is short on power
- Petrol emission levels still relatively high
- Sliding rear doors on Grand C-Max only
- No standard spare wheel
Despite being a relatively late entrant into the booming compact MPV market, Ford's original C-Max proved to be a popular choice thanks to its engaging driving dynamics and practical cabin. Now Ford has introduced the second-generation version which is new from the ground up and aims to satisfy an even greater number of buyers.
Arguably the most important feature of the new C-Max is that it comes in two variants: C-Max and Grand C-Max. The more expensive Grand C-Max is a little larger and has a higher roofline than the regular car, but crucially comes with seven seats and so answers one of the key criticisms of the old car. The standard C-Max remains a five-seater, but both versions have individual folding seats, allowing a mix of people and luggage as required.
The C-Max also offers a big step forward from the old car in terms of appearance. Although the second generation car is only slightly larger than the outgoing version, it offers a much more engaging exterior. A more prominent grille, a stronger stance and a wider choice of colours all play their part in making the C-Max a handsome car, and one that is sufficiently good looking to win some potential buyers over.
Underneath the C-Max lies the latest version of Ford's compact car platform which is designed to underpin a whole range of cars including the latest generation Focus hatchback. Platform sharing between various models from within a range is commonplace, but the distinct advantage that the C-Max enjoys is the impressive nature of its chassis. Far sharper and more enjoyable to drive than many more expensive cars, the sophistication of the dynamics put the C-Max head and shoulders above the competition.
A further change to the C-Max is a rationalisation of the range. The two models, C-Max and Grand C-Max are available in just two trims, Zetec and Titanium. However there is still a multitude of engine options and a wealth of additional equipment, including the first automated parking system to come from Ford.
Our verdict on the Ford C-Max Titanium 1.6 TDCi
The new C-Max instantly answers many of the niggles noted with the original car, chiefly the lack of a seven-seat option. However even the five-seater blends practicality, an attractive cabin and good specification with an enjoyable driving experience. Engine choice is crucial and the smaller diesel may not be sufficient to suit some buyers but, with the right specification, the C-Max is an ideal choice.
In 1.6-litre diesel form the C-Max is capable of impressive fuel economy figures which should help to keep running costs low. Insurance and vehicle excise duty levels are broadly in line with many of its rivals.
Space and practicality
The C-Max's main purpose is practicality and it scores very well in this area. The amount of space on offer front and rear is very good - adults can be accommodated quite comfortably in the rear seats - while boot space will be more than sufficient for most. The individual rear seats can be manipulated in various ways as well as removed, while there are many storage areas throughout the cabin, including a very deep centre armrest cubby.
Controls and display
The layout of the C-Max is all-new and features clearly labelled buttons and display screens, with an intuitive arrangement to the layout. Although the sheer number of buttons can seem a little overwhelming at first, it only takes a few moments to get used to the comprehensive equipment on offer.
Going hand in hand with the impressive handling is the comfortable ride quality, soothing away most bumps with ease. Wind and road noise levels are well managed too, and the general feeling of insulation and space helps overall comfort levels.
All C-Max models come with an approved alarm system with interior and motion monitoring, as well as remote central locking as standard.
Ford claims big improvements for the strength of the C-Max's chassis and this is backed up by some new technology, including the first crash-sensing system to be introduced on this model. All this is backed up by the reassurance of ABS and ESP on all models.
The C-Max drives with more vim and enthusiasm than any other car in this class, and this is particularly impressive for a car which is primarily designed to be practical and functional. The set-up of the suspension delivers a controlled ride over most surfaces while the handling is thoroughly enjoyable: the steering is sharp and responsive and it feels much more nimble than its outward appearance would suggest. On the negative side the 1.6-litre diesel engine feels somewhat underpowered at times, even without a large passenger and luggage load - the EcoBoost petrol or larger diesel engine would suit it better.
Family car appeal
The C-Max will satisfy the needs of the vast majority of families and even those who don't have enough seats can choose the bigger Grand C-Max. As well as the space the quality cabin and high specification will appeal to all ages.
First car appeal
The C-Max offers the attributes that are unlikely to appeal to new drivers unless they have a family already, in which case there is little to trouble someone new to motoring.
Quality and image
The original C-Max was not short on quality but the second generation version has improved this still further. The types of materials used makes the most of the impressive design and the overall feel is one of quality that would be associated with a more exclusive brand. The Ford's image is similar to cars elsewhere in the range, where the famous blue oval badge suggests familiarity and reliability; both desirable brand attributes.
Large door apertures and wide-opening doors at the rear in particular give the C-Max the crucial accessibility that is required for a car in its class. The same goes for the tailgate, which can be fitted with optional power opening system on the higher specification Titanium model.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
The standard audio system has a surprisingly high specification, featuring a DAB tuner, auxiliary and USB connectors and six speakers. Better still is the upgraded Sony system which includes Bluetooth audio and even better sound quality.
Colours and trim
The C-Max is available in some much brighter hues than the previous model which, with the right alloy wheels, give the car a much more youthful appearance. It still suits more sober metallics, too. Although there are lots of dark colours on the inside, the mix of greys and blacks do give a high quality appearance.
The C-Max's upright stance means it is relatively easy to judge the cars extremities when parking, but the optional automated parking system can slot the car in to a parallel parking space in a matter of moments and is very intuitive to use at a modest price.
A tyre repair kit is fitted as standard with a space-saver spare wheel as a cost option.
Petrol engine options - 1.6-litre (104bhp, 123bhp and 148bhp). Diesel engine options - 1.6-litre (113bhp); 2.0-litre (138bhp). Transmission options: five or six-speed manual, six-speed dual-clutch automatic. Trim levels: Zetec and Titanium.
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