Ford C-Max 2010

By Philip Hedderman
Last year I was fortunate enough to be one of the first motoring writers in Ireland, or indeed Europe, to drive the all-new Ford C-Max.
I was impressed back then, and I’m even more impressed now.
So what’s changed?
Well the weather for starters.
You see, the launch took place in the South of France – Nice to be exact.
Beautiful, balmy sun-kissed beaches, tend to lighten the mood so things that would generally drive you mad aren’t as irritating.
I’m convinced car companies do this deliberately to cloud your judgement.
Fact is, in order to get the true measure of a people carrier, you need er, lots of people – preferably little ones, noisy little ones.
You need a shopping centre car park on a drizzly Saturday morning and you need a cranky, overworked mum.
Sounds like hell on earth?
You got it in one, and anyone who has more than two kids will tell you that this is what we call ‘routine’.
Anything, and I mean anything that can make the suffering a little more bearable is worth it’s weight in gold.
One such example is the Grand C-Max and it’s brilliantly clever design.
Forget the radical look, clean flowing lines and sporty feel.
Forget the fact that is one of the most economical MPVs you can buy – nestling in VRT band B with raod tax of €156 a year.

Forget also all the standard equipment which include alloys, air con, Bluetooth voice control, electric windows, heated windscreen and rear parking sensors.
Forget the fact that the optional extras are reasonably priced like parking assist (which will parallel park the car for you) costing around the same as metallic paint – €800.
No, you can’t put a price on genius.
On the initial launch I couldn’t help but question the gender of the chief designer.
It couldn’t possibly have been a man – the car is far to practical, versatile and simple.
Let’s start with the sliding rear doors – a must-have in the suburban jungle.
Suddenly getting an army of kids in and out 10 times a day doesn’t seen so daunting.
The clever walk-through seating plan, giving a two plus two plus two formation and a fold-away seventh seat, is deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize.
This acts as a buffer zone for warring siblings who bicker over who doesn’t want to sit in the middle.
Seat belt sensors on all the rear buckles means you know all on board are safely secure without having to do a Gestapo-style head count.
Throw in a power operated tailgate (optional) — which at the touch of a button opens and closes the massive boot and you’ve pretty much got it made.
Drive-wise you won’t be disappointed either.
Because the new C-Max is built on the same chassis as the new Focus the ride and handling is precise and controlled.
A first in its class, this MPV actually performs like a modern family hatchback, not like a mini-van with extra seats in the back.
Granted, the 5-seater performed better, but you’d expect that from the short wheel-base.
A big lure for the mums out there is the elevated driving position which enables the driver to sit in rather than sit down.
Build quality is also at an all-time high with smatterings of luxury like leather steering wheel.
But you needn’t feel too guilty as it’s green credentials will compensate for the hide.
Both the five and seven-seater are in VRT Band B which means annual road tax of €156 while the 2.0 litre 140bhp diesel is returning an amazing 50mpg.
If that’s not enough to convince you then the price tag just might.
At €24,495 (without scrappage) it’s hard to beat.