"The seven-seater Grand C-MAX could well be the best handling car in this segment and with its fantastic, practical interior, could even be the best car in its class."
Like the five-seater C-MAX, the seven-seat Grand C-MAX offers buyers the kind of handling you’d expect from a much smaller car. On top of that, the interior boasts an intuitive layout and build quality is among the best in the MPV class, and the sliding side doors add to its versatility. The diesel engines offer a fantastic blend of performance and economy, while the EcoBoost turbocharged petrol engines are quiet and punchy.
With a good range of diesel and petrol engines, there's a unit to suit all buyers. An ultra-efficient 1.6-litre diesel unit is available with 113bhp while a punchier 2.0-litre diesel engine comes with 138bhp and offers a brilliant blend of performance and economy. Turbocharged 147bhp EcoBoost engines are quiet on the move and offer good mid-range acceleration for overtaking. Meanwhile the range-topping diesel completes the sprint in 10.2 seconds. Through corners the Grand C-MAX boasts the agility of a much smaller car. The steering is nicely weighted and direct while body roll is well controlled for a car this tall.
The seven-seater C-MAX strikes a good balance between handling and comfort, allowing long journeys to pass without discomfort. There are more comfortable cars in this class but all others suffer for it in the corners. The cabin is well isolated meaning that there's very little engine or road noise in the interior, even at motorway speeds.
Ford has a good reliability record, with a few minor faults on the old C-MAX being one of the few blemishes. Even if problems do arise, you can be sure of hasty resolution to the problem. In the Euro NCAP crash safety test, the Ford scored a maximum five stars. That's partly down to its impressive airbag count and a range of electronic gizmos that should prevent you from getting into an accident in the first place. As well as ABS and traction control, these include a blind spot assistant and Corner Brake Control.
With all seven seats in place, the C-MAX boasts a measly 115 litres of boot space – only enough for the weekly shopping. However, with the third row of seats folded this increases to a 432-litre load area good enough for most people's needs. On the occasions you need to liberate more space you can fold the second row of seats down for a massive 1,732 litres of space. As far as passenger space is concerned, there's plenty of space in the second row for adults but the rearmost seats are only really big enough for small children.
Value for money
It's the entry-level trim, but Zetec still comes with a surprising amount of standard kit. That means alloy wheels, air-conditioning, a DAB digital radio, rear parking sensors and Bluetooth are all included. Go for the Titanium version, and luxuries such as automatic lights and wipers, cruise control, climate control and a hill-start assist system are included.
Most efficient of the Grand C-MAX line-up is the 1.6-litre TDCi engine. It claims CO2 emissions of 129g/km and fuel economy of 57.7mpg. The more powerful 2.0-litre diesel unit is still impressively frugal, with 53.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 139g/km. Opting for one of the 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol engines sees these figures rocket to 40.9mpg and 159g/km.