The heading just about says it really. For most MPV users, driver experience comes fairly low down the list of priorities, making way for more pressing matters of space, fuel economy and practicality. The C-Max has those points covered though, so why not have a little fun?
As you’d expect for a family car, the focus here (pardon the pun), is on frugality over straight-line speed.
Ford offers the C-Max with a total of six engines – modern 1.0-litre and 1.6-litre Ecoboost petrols and diesels ranging from 1.5 to 2.0-litres. While a sporty drive may not be a main consideration for the C-Max’s target market, it is another feather in the model’s cap. The temptation then may well be to add a pair of the larger 18-inch wheels, which offer more grip but also stiffen the ride.
If you’re planning to use the C-Max for longer hauls, the diesel models are most certainly the way to go. They offer a smooth ride, ample overtaking power and the necessary economy. The fastest of those is the 2.0-litre diesel. Coupled with the dynamism of the Ford chassis the 150hp engine will see 0-62mph dealt with in 9.8 seconds and carry on to 126mph.
We tested this 2.0-litre Duratorq diesel engine in 2015, and although it makes quite a loud diesel clatter when you start it up, it’s a generally quiet motorway companion. It’s certainly powerful enough to whisk the C-Max up to motorway speeds with no drama, and there’s enough oomph to overtake briskly and safely. The diesels (there’s also a 120hp version) make for a more soothing ride on long-hauls and are right at home on Britain’s motorways.
While performance is all very well, for the majority of C-Max owners the key question is ‘yes but what will it cost me to run?’ Well, it’s no Porsche but then it’s no solar-powered green machine either. For those inclined to try, the 150hp diesel engine will return more than 60mpg, which isn’t bad, but 13mpg down on the C4 Picasso and 7mpg down on the Renault Scenic. Pairing it with Ford six-speed, PowerShift automatic drops that figure to 56.5mpg. In a surprising twist, the 118hp diesel can only manage 58.9mpg.
As for real-world figures, we managed to eke 48mpg out of the 2.0-litre 150hp diesel with the PowerShift auto gearbox on 300 miles of motorway driving with lots of stop-start traffic.
The C-Max is actually fun to drive. Who'd have thought?
If emissions are on your mind, then it’s worth noting that both 1.0-litre petrol engines produce CO2 of just 119g/km. For running around town and city, the 1.0-litre petrol models offer nippiness and agility – ideal for a trip to the supermarket or the school-run.
The 1.6-litre Ecoboost petrol is actually more similar to a sports-car engine than an MPV one, and as a result it feels and sounds racy and adds a new level of sportiness to the C-Max. The running costs are also sportscar-like, so for the best performance we’d stick to the 2.0-litre diesel.
The C-Max gives you the confidence to tackle a twisty country road at the national speed limit, with little body lean and decent feedback through the steering wheel, so you always know how much grip you have. This means it’s a fun car to drive considering its size, and the ride quality doesn’t suffer.
Speaking of ride quality, we were astounded by how well the C-Max copes with bumps in the road – you may tense up expecting a particularly bad pothole to jar your spine, but the C-Max’s suspension just smothers it. If you’re after a comfortable and cosseting family vehicle, this smooth ride should be reason enough to consider the C-Max.