So often, a hatchback car seems like a good idea but there are those of us who would always like a little bit more.
It’s not a case of Oliver Twist and a second helping, it’s just that there are times when extra height and boot space can make a car more tailored to suit our needs.
That’s where the new Ford C-MAX scores a direct hit on the heart of lovers of roomy cars. And for those who like extra roomy cars, the Grand C-MAX brings seven seats instead of the C-MAX’s five.
As well as an updated body design, the new C-MAX that’s arriving right now also delivers a 1.5 litre TDCi engine with a real punch for easy driving.
When it comes to efficiency, it’s down to the right power to weight ratio to make things work. Clearly, Ford’s engineers have made great efforts in this respect. The engine is mated to a six speed manual gearbox that has a delightfully smooth and light shift action but for those who prefer, or have necessity for, an auto transmission the Ford Powershift system is an option.
Our own experience with a larger S-MAX and a supermini Fiesta shows this box is smooth when swapping ratios. It works through electronic shift actions using a dual clutch system that allows the gearbox to select what it predicts is the next ratio you will want and have it ready to slip into place in far shorter time than the blink of an eye. The only real way to detect the Powershift at work is to watch the rev counter.
But back to the manual version that we borrowed from Andover Ford, which demonstrated that it’s great fun to use whether travelling across country or hammering down the motorway (at legal speeds of course). We took the car out with just the two of us, driving gently across country lanes and more vigorously along main roads and achieved a very good 58 mpg.
Later we took two friends to a concert, using a back route to get there and dual carriageways to return. Even when carrying four adults the car is highly responsive. It doesn’t lack puff on hills so you don’t suddenly need a downchange on long main road climbs and it will mix it with the traffic as a result. It’s also very stable for lane changes despite the added height of its architecture, its main selling point over regular hatchbacks.
People who like easy access, and that includes both us oldies and families where children need strapping into seats, will really appreciate the C-MAX. Its seat height means you slide in rather than climb down and its interior space does not come at the expense of boot volume, good with five seats in place but easily expandable thanks to the split folding seats. If you regularly have loads of shopping, luggage, or mobility aids then this is a car to consider.
On that theme, users of the Motability scheme can have this C-MAX Zetec 1.5 TDCi with no down payment – or an extra £45 gets the navigation system in the current range of offers until the end of September. Others will find the £19,985 on the road price highly competitive.
Maurice and Annette Hardy
Car: Ford C-MAX Zetec 1.5 TDCi
Does it fit your ego…
0-62 mph: 11.3 secs
Top speed: 114 mph
Bhp: 119 @ 3600 rpm
Torque: 199 lb ft @ 1750 rpm
…and your wallet…
Combined: 68.9 mpg
CO2 emissions: 105 g/km
Insurance Group: 16
Best bits: space travel for families.