Price  £17,655 - £25,605


reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Fun to drive
  • Practical and well built
  • Fast and efficient engines
  • Rivals more versatile
  • Too much wind noise at speed
  • Shoulder room tight in middle seat

At a glance

The greenest
Zetec 1.6 TDCi 115PS 5dr £19,150
The cheapest
Zetec 1.6 Ti-VCT 105PS 5dr £17,655
The fastest
Titanium X 1.6 EcoBoost 182PS 5dr £23,605
Top of the range
Titanium X 2.0 TDCi 163PS Powersh Auto 5dr £25,605

“With its high seating position and good view out, a range of loading options and a narrow rear centre seat, the C-MAX suits an active family with young children.”

The Ford C-MAX is a mid-size MPV that, despite its family-orientated character, is surprisingly good fun to drive. It's based on the Ford Focus, but has more headroom and boot space than that car. It's also 22mm longer, but its wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels) is the same.

It's taller than the Focus, too, making it easier to get in and out of, while its high seating position gives you better visibility. Like the Focus, its rear doors are hinged rather than sliding, as they are on the Ford Grand C-MAX (the C-MAX's bigger brother).

The C-MAX has five seats and the three in the rear can be removed individually as required – although they are quite heavy. On the top-spec version, the central rear seat can slide to create additional space for the outer seats. This feature is an option elsewhere in the range.

C-MAX rivals include the stylish and versatile Citroen C4 Picasso, the Volkswagen Golf SV and the Renault Scenic. The Vauxhall Zafira and Volkswagen Touran can also be considered rivals, although they come with seven seats as standard.

There are five petrol and three diesel engines. Apart from the basic 1.6-litre, the petrols use EcoBoost turbocharging technology to offer decent fuel consumption and low CO2 emissions. Only diesels are available with an automatic gearbox.

The C-MAX comes in just three trim levels, so standard equipment is relatively generous from the off. Even the basic Zetec has air-conditioning, a DAB digital radio and 16-inch alloy wheels. The top-spec Titanium X piles on the luxury with features including a panoramic sunroof and part-leather seats.

With its high seating position and good view out, a range of loading options and a narrow rear centre seat, the C-MAX suits an active family with young children. Anyone routinely carrying three adult passengers in the rear plus their luggage might prefer a conventional hatchback. In our opinion, the C-MAX 1.6-litre TDCi Zetec is the best buy for its value, reasonable economy and strong performance.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.4 / 5

The most efficient Ford C-MAX petrols are powered by Ford’s new EcoBoost engines, equipped with start-top technology and six-speed manual gearboxes

Engines, drive & performance

3.6 / 5

The Ford C-MAX EcoBoost petrol engines are state-of-the-art; ideal for owners who make short urban journeys and those with low to average annual mileage

Interior & comfort

3.5 / 5

With just three trim levels to choose from, even in basic Zetec trim the Ford C-MAX has a good range of standard equipment

Practicality & boot space

4 / 5

Loading the Ford C-MAX boot is made easier by a high sill and uncluttered sides

Reliability & safety

3.6 / 5

Questions have been raised over the long-term durability of the small but powerful EcoBoost petrol engines

What the others say

3.8 / 5
based on 3 reviews
6 / 10
“One of the more appealing multi-activity vehicles, especially when teamed with Ford's excellent TDCi diesel.”
4 / 5
“The Ford C-MAX is a particularly good choice for those unwilling to sacrifice dynamics for MPV practicality.”
4.5 / 5
“The C-MAX is versatile, cheap to run and ideal for those with small families.”
What owners say 
4 /5 based on 178 reviews
 people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
2 Dec 2014

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