The front exterior of a blue Ford C-Max

Ford C-Max review

The Ford C-Max is a compact family people carrier with loads of interior space. Its engines are all quiet and efficient, and its accurate steering makes it great to drive.

Pros

  • Great styling
  • Comfy on long trips
  • Excellent level of equipment

Cons

  • Back seats don’t fold flat
  • The Powershift automatic gearbox can increase fuel consumption
  • More powerful models are expensive to insure

Summary

“From the driver to the passengers, the C-Max is about family practicality.”

The C-Max is perfect if you need the space of a large family car, but don’t want to feel like you’re driving a van. 

It has loads of space inside and is extremely practical. There’s also a Grand C-Max if you need more space and seven seats.

The driving position is good with lots of visibility. It’s as easy to live with in urban traffic as it is heading out for a weekend away.

The engine choice ranges from super efficient to the more powerful EcoBoost versions, which means there’s something to suit everyone.

What's the interior like?

“There’s a good level of equipment with great features and loads of comfort.”

The C-Max has a great feel to it inside with a high centre console, high-quality materials and lots of equipment. Even the basic Zetec versions have a DAB radio and air con. You’ll need to go for Titanium or Titanium X if you want the Sync infotainment systems and the best upholstery.

The seats are all remarkably comfortable. There’s lots of flexibility in the seating with a 40/20/40 split for the rear seats. This means you can have some of the seats up and others down to suit your passenger and luggage needs of any particular trip. Some models have a package that allows the seats to slide providing more legroom or more luggage space. There’s up to 432 litres in the boot which is enough for three medium sized cases. This expands to 1,684 litres with the seats folded if you need to load in your bike or a large piece of furniture.

What's it like to drive?

“The C-Max is unlike any of its people carrier rivals when it comes to driving fun.”

If you’re expecting the C-Max to drive like a people carrier then prepare to be surprised. It handles really well, providing a great combination of a smooth ride and a fun drive. The suspension handles bumps well and long journeys will feel reasonably relaxing. 

There’s a quiet and smooth 1.6-litre petrol engine which is in cars made between 2015 and 2018. The later post mid-2018 EcoBoost versions also make a great choice. The three TDCI diesel engines provide excellent economy as well as good power but they’ll only suit those who travel longer distances on the motorway regularly.

The steering is well-weighted and it’s pretty quiet inside which is ideal if you have the family in the car. Cruise control is available on some models providing an even more relaxed drive.

The manual gearbox is well set-up for urban and long-distance driving. There’s also a Powershift twin-clutch automatic gearbox that can lead to slightly higher fuel consumption.

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“Great value for money considering how much you get for your money.”

The C-Max will make a great used buy with low prices considering what you get for your money. Running costs are also inexpensive but watch out for the more powerful versions which can fall into surprisingly high insurance groups, so make sure you get a quote first. The turbo diesel versions offer 60.1 mpg but the 1.0 EcoBoost petrols provide good fuel consumption figures and are preferable if you mostly make short trips. Parts and servicing costs are similar to rivals and lower than premium competitors like the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer.

How reliable and safe is it?

“Super reliable which is ideal if you’re regularly transporting the family.”

The C-Max has an excellent reliability history. It was the top ranked MPV in the 2019 JD Power Vehicle Dependability Survey, above the Vauxhall Zafira and Citroen C4 Picasso.

The C-Max received the full five stars from Euro NCAP crash test when it was first launched but in 2017, this rating was dropped to three stars, mainly due to a lack of electronic safety systems. It still has essential safety equipment though, including airbags and autonomous emergency braking.

Which one is best for you?

Best for economy - 1.5 TDCI Zetec

Best for family - 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium

Best for fun - 1.5 EcoBoost Titanium X

If you’re mostly going to be running around town, the 1.0 EcoBoost will do perfectly, but consider the diesels if you plan on doing lots of longer trips. Drivers who want a bit more fun should take a look at the 1.5 EcoBoost, though the C-Max will never be a racing car.

While the entry-level Zetec is well equipped, it’s worth looking at the prices of Titanium examples for the better specification including the Sync infotainment system.

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