Ford is one of the leaders in the MPV segment and if you’re looking for a more practical car to carry your family around, chances are Ford will have something in their line-up for you.

The Ford C-MAX is based on the popular Ford Focus hatchback. In its basic guise, the C-MAX is a five seat MPV, but Ford also sell a ‘Grand C-MAX’ that houses two extra seats in the very back along with sliding rear doors for extra practicality.

The C-MAX currently on sale has been recently revised and the styling has been updated in line with the rest of the Ford range. The C-MAX looks more defined all round and now wears Ford’s new trapezoidal grille. The C-MAX has a neat, compact presence and is one of the prettier MPVs out there.

The cabin has also been given a makeover with a new dash design that looks more modern and also sees a step up in quality. Everything falls easy to hand and Ford’s Sync 2 infotainment system with touchscreen can be added as a cost option for €500. The older Sync 1 infotainment system comes as standard.

So why choose a C-MAX over a Focus? Driver and passengers will enjoy the slightly elevated driving position and plenty of glazing gives everyone a good view out. The car feels  more spacious because of the extra headroom – there is seating for three in the rear, though the middle seat will be most comfortable for a child. The elevated height of the vehicle is more practical for parents getting children in and out of the car and the two outer most rear seats have Isofix child seat fixures.

There’s also a much bigger boot – 471 litres in fact. It’s got a wide opening and you can spec an electric tailgate for €450, which is actually very useful. It opens by a button on the key or by waving your foot underneath the rear bumper. The loading sill is also quite low so it’s altogether a practical space for carrying cargo. The rear seats can fold and tumble down or can be completely removed to create more cargo space.

Power for the C-MAX comes from a range of petrol and diesel engines: the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol (100PS or 125PS), and 1.5-litre (95PS or 120PS) and 2.0-litre diesels (150PS). The 1.5-litre diesel is new and replaces the old 1.6-litre diesel. It’s a more refined and efficient unit, and the 120PS version tested here works really well: it never feels under pressure and there’s always power when you need it, an equally capable unit whether in town or on the motorway.  It goes about its business with little noise intrusion into the cabin and Ford has bolstered the sound insulation to make the C-MAX a more refined and relaxing drive.

The Focus DNA is evident in the way the C-MAX drives: there’s loads of grip at the front, and the steering is quick and accurate. The C-MAX does of course feel less sharp and driver focused than the Focus. There’s lean in the corners but because the car grips hard and the steering communicates it so well you can hustle the C-MAX along and quite enjoy it too.  It’s a refined and comfortable car for long journeys, smoothing out rough road surfaces to keep things pleasant for those on board.

The C-MAX range starts at €25,855 for the 1.0-litre EcoBoost 100PS petrol model, while the Grand C-MAX starts at €28,455. Diesels start at €26,600 for the C-MAX, and €29,200 for the Grand C-MAX.

There are two trims for Ireland: Zetec and Titanium. Standard equipment includes 16” alloys, front fog lights, quickclear windscreen, Sync 1, air conditioning, rear privacy glass, leather steering wheel, driver seat lumbar adjust and front electric windows. Titanium models add more equipment including climate control, cruise control, chrome door-line finisher, auto lights and wipers, LED daytime running lights, keyless start, driver and passenger seat lumbar adjust, ambient lighting, four electric windows, and hill start assist.

As a five seat MPV, the C-MAX’s spacious cabin and large boot are its biggest assets, with the Grand C-MAX covering the seven seat option for Ford in this compact MPV segment. If this is your first time to switch to an MPV, the C-MAX’s neat styling, compact size, great engines and good driving character will make this an easy transition. Though the shine has come off MPVs in recent years with the rise of the SUV and crossover, MPVs are still a great option for families for their pure family friendly features, and the C-MAX has all the qualities of a great family car.

Caroline Kidd

Model Tested: Ford C-MAX 1.5 TDCi Titanium
€30,100 (Range starts at €25,855)
1.5-litre turbo diesel
11.3 seconds
CO2 Emissions: 
Motor Tax: 
A3 (€190 per year)