It’s time for motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, to update you again on his long-term test car – the Ford Grand C-Max.
After a month of running it, I thought I’d go over the car’s points this week – just to remind you – and me, why the Ford Grand C-Max is so good. First off, it’s a family oriented car with seven seats and sliding rear doors, it’s also surprisingly pleasant to drive.
It sits between the Blue Oval’s Focus and the firm’s massive Galaxy, offering good headroom and legroom. Competitors include the Renault Scenic and Citroen C4 Picasso. And, just like those models, the Ford C-Max is available in both regular five-seat configuration and as a seven-seater Grand variant. Here we’re focused on the latter.
Like most seven-up motors, the Ford Grand C-Max has space for adults in its third row of seats, if they’re not particularly tall and the occupants sitting in the front are willing to slide their seats forward an inch or two. Where it differs from its two main competitors is in having a second tier of seats that are made up of two full-sized seats and a smaller central seat; its adversaries all have three normal-sized seats. The benefit of Ford’s set-up is that it permits the central seat to be stowed away when it’s not wanted. You can then access and exit the third set of seats without having to detach child seats attached to the second row. Alas, it also means the middle seat is too thin to take a full-size baby or child seat of its own, and occupants of all shapes will find it awkward on lengthy trips. Mind you, I’ve been using a mifold booster seat in the middle. The mifold is compact enough to fit in the C-Max’s middle seat, yet it’s very safe. Instead of raising the height of a child, mifold lowers the adult seat belt, taking the belt off the child’s stomach and the neck and making it safe, comfortable and easy to use for kids aged from four to 12-years-old. It’s worked out perfectly for my eldest two children – aged 10, and seven. It means they can take it in turns to sit next to their three-year-old sister, who’s strapped into a full-sized child seat.
The Grand C-Max has a stiffer suspension system than most of its challengers, but it is never uncomfortable. The front seats offer loads of adjustment, and they are comfy, too. Even more encouragingly, the Ford Grand C-Max has sliding rear doors that make it undemanding to get in and out of the second row of seats in constricted spaces. There are some effective stowage cubbies in the front of the Grand C-Max, and the load area will easily consume the largest of baby buggies when the third tier of seats is folded down. On the other hand, when these chairs are in position, the boot can only handle a small number of shopping bags.
The Grand C-Max is competitively priced, and running costs will be a touch higher than a Ford Focus hatchback because of the Grand C-Max’s higher fuel consumption. 56.5mpg is what you’ll get on average with the C-Max. That’s still good – and it keeps a good portion of its new value on the second-hand market, making it an inexpensive ownership prospect in general.
All the main controls are set within easy reach, but the touchscreen infotainment system seems a little over the complex at times. Maybe fewer menus would be better. That said, the materials in the Titanium X trim are classy and hard wearing. You also sit tall in the Grand C-Max, so it’s easy to get a clear view down the road, but the smallish rear windows can make parking fussier than it is in Citroen’s Grand C4 Picasso. Parking sensors soon help with that, though. Also, factory-fitted features, such as a quick-clear heated windscreen, make the C-Max an easy family car to live with – especially at this time of the year.
You might purchase a Ford Grand C-Max for its pragmatism, but unlike its two foes, it’s also entertaining to drive. In truth, it feels more like an athletic hatchback than the compact multi-purpose-vehicle (MPV) it is. The 2.0-litre diesel engine offers gutsy performance, pulling effortlessly and strongly, especially when fitted with the automatic ‘Powershift’ transmission. There’s a small amount of wind noise at motorway pace, yet the Grand C-Max Titanium X 2.0 TDCi Powershift I’m driving stays relatively quiet unless you’re pushing the car hard.
As with most family cars, the Ford Grand C-Max comes with airbags everywhere, apart from the third row of seats. This is slightly odd, considering these seats will, in all likelihood, be used by most buyers for children. Nevertheless, the Grand C-Max attained the top five-star score when it was crash tested by the safety experts at Euro NCAP. And it also has stability control tech that helps you recover command if the Ford starts to skid.
Better To Drive
The Ford Grand C-Max is definitely better to drive than many compact MPV seven-seaters. It’s certainly more fun than the Renault Scenic and the Citroen C4 Picasso – but perhaps it’s not as easy to reverse park, or quite as practical with its smaller middle rear seat. That said, my kids love it –, especially the car’s sliding doors. As for me, I’m smitten with the punchy driving experience. Accelerating from a standing start to 62mph in 10.7 seconds may not sound fast, but the car really does pull well, and you can have a bit of a laugh lacing the Ford along the back roads after the kids are dropped off at school.
Check It Out
Get in contact with Perrys to find out more about the C-Max or the Grand C-Max. I’ll be back with more about what it’s like to live with a Ford Grand C-Max soon.