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Ford C-Max review

The Ford C-Max is a curious specimen. In terms of bulk, it’s around the same size as a Ford Focus yet offers increased storage space, better seating flexibility and is overall just a bit more practical for day-to-day use. So why doesn’t it have the same levels of popularity as its sibling? Read on to find out what we make of it.


If you like the stylish, slightly angular looks of the Ford Focus, chances are you’ll find this five-seat MPV just as attractive. The C-Max is basically a high-roofed version of Ford’s evergreen family hatchback, with improved versatility and more interior space.  

A wide grille and narrow headlamps are the manufacturer’s design hallmarks, so the C-Max is easily recognisable at the Ford family reunion. Above all it’s a compact MPV, so while we’re not expecting it to win any beauty contests, we are surprised at how tidy it actually looks. 

blue ford c-max

The C-Max is basically a high-roofed version of Ford’s evergreen family hatchback.

What’s it like to drive?

For a small people carrier, the C-Max still drives and handles like the Focus it’s based on. And that’s a very good thing. Those Focus underpinnings give the C-Max lots of grip, responsive steering and a lack of body lean in corners, despite its added height.  

While the suspension is quite firm, overall ride comfort is impressive with the C-Max making light work of poor road surfaces and potholes. Thanks to its compact dimensions, the C-Max is great for negotiating city streets and is easy to park. Its grown-up driving dynamics allow it to tackle fast country roads and motorways with ease. 

The C-Max’s range of diesel and EcoBoost petrol engines are smooth, refined performers, equally as adept at relaxed motorway cruising as they are fast overtaking manoeuvres. 

blue ford c-max side

Overall ride comfort is impressive with the C-Max making light work of poor road surfaces and potholes.


The C-Max’s high driving position provides great all-around visibility from the comfortable driver’s seat, which has adjustable lumbar support as standard across the range. The front seats are firm and supportive, boasting a wide range of movement. In the rear there are three individual seats, the outer seats being a tad wider than the middle one. 

All trim levels feature an impressive amount of standard equipment, with base Zetec-spec models getting air-conditioning, a DAB radio and a 4.2-inch infotainment screen. The screen is the beating heart of Ford’s all-in SYNC system, which handles voice control, Bluetooth and music connectivity. The higher Titanium and Titanium X trim levels add such big-car luxury features as cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry, a superior stereo with an eight-inch display and a panoramic sunroof. 

As is the case with other Ford products, the C-Max’s interior is well-built and, despite the presence of some hard plastics, it has an overall quality feel. 

Ford C-Max interior


The Ford C-Max is a supremely practical family car. Its high roofline gives plenty of rear seat headroom, with rear legroom being equally generous – although it’s worth bearing in mind that fitting 3 adults across the rear seats can be a bit of a squeeze.  

There’s an abundance of interior storage options, with a large glovebox and door bins up front, as well as an overhead console and sunglasses holder. With the rear seats in place, the C-Max’s boot offers considerably more space than you get in the Focus hatchback.  

Fold down and tilt the rear seats forward, and you’ve got yourself a huge, unobstructed load bay. You can even remove the rear seats altogether and turn your C-Max into a small van – just be aware that the seats are heavy and getting them back in can be a bit of a faff. Moving day will be both a blessing and a curse. 

ford c-max boot

Running costs and reliability

The Ford C-Max offers good fuel economy and low emissions figures in line with the competition, with the 1.5-litre diesel engine returning around 48.7mpg and the most fuel-efficient 1.0-litre Eco Boost engine delivering close to 42.2 mpg. The more powerful 1.5-litre petrol engine is only available with a six-speed automatic gearbox, which will be considerably less friendly to your wallet.

What we love

We love how the C-Max combines practicality with driving fun. Its added height and interior space don’t detract from its Focus-like handling and performance. It’s a great family car that you can also take out for a sporty drive after you’ve done the shopping.It’s perfect for families with children of all ages, and adults who enjoy driving.

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The C-Max is one of our favourite MPVs. It’s practical, comfortable and, thanks to its Focus underpinnings, incredibly good to drive. You don’t expect cars like this to be sporty. The C-Max makes twisty B-roads fun. And, before we forget, it’s safe too, with anti-lock brakes, traction control, electronic stability control and six airbags fitted as standard. 

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