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Ford C Max
Ford C Max
Ford C Max
Ford C Max
Ford C Max
Ford C Max
Ford C Max
Ford C Max

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  • Launched in 2010
  • MPV
  • Petrol, Diesel
  • Launch year
    2010
  • Body type
    MPV
  • Fuel type
    Petrol, Diesel

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heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Sharp handling five-seat MPV

Best bits

  • Great to drive
  • Punchy 1.0-litre petrol
  • Competitively priced

Not so great

  • Not as practical as rivals
  • Dated interior feels cheap
  • Below average fuel economy

Read by

Ford C-Max static

Overall verdict

Ford C-Max Interior

On the inside

Ford C-Max front

Driving

Ford C-Max Side

How much does it cost to run

Ford C-Max Boot

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"Families nowadays are unlikely to have their heads turned by a compact people carrier like the C-MAX. With its staid exterior, sensible focus on practicality and an ageing interior, the cards do feel stacked against it. Yet there's also a huge amount to like about this car, and we think SUV buyers are missing out on a good thing."

Ford C-Max static

Putting the styling aside for a moment, this is an affordable family car that's fantastic to drive, comfortable for its passengers, and offers more seating flexibility and cabin space than a standard hatch - for a similar price.


It's still compact enough to be easy to drive manoeuvre around supermarket car parks and multi-storeys but can still seat four adults in total comfort, or two parents and three kids (with a little elbow room to spare). For those who need to carry three child seats, its big brother the seven-seat Grand C-MAX is the better option.


Space in the boot is generous but not exceptional. You'll have room for a buggy, big shopping bags and the like, and it's a nice shape for loading heavy items, but to increase capacity you need to tumble the rear seats forward (or remove them entirely) where larger people carriers just let you fold the extra chairs into the floor.


Some rivals feel wider, giving you more space in the second row, and also feature seats that slide forward to increase boot space - a Citroen C4 Picasso is roomier full stop - but the Ford counters with the way it drives.


Every version has a brilliant ride, firm enough to control any body movements but supple enough to smooth out even the worst roads. The precise steering and finely-weighted controls make the C-MAX a joy on windy country roads, but it's also comfortable and refined enough for the motorway, especially after its 2015 facelift.


Of the three engines offered, the 1.5-litre TDCi diesel is the best fit. It's fairly economical, quiet and smooth once you get it up to speed, and comes with the option of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic 'box.

With 120PS it's no firecracker but has enough pulling power to make fully-loaded family travel effortless.


The 1.0-litre 125PS turbo petrol is a characterful engine that can work if you don't often travel with five in the car, but it needs to be pushed to extract its performance, hurting both cabin refinement and its fuel economy.


Entry-level Zetec models are a bit basic, but Titanium trim offers most of the things buyers will need, with the notable exception of parking sensors and sat-nav, although it's possible to use your phone instead. It's just a shame that the cabin layout and quality is so far behind rivals like the Golf SV and 2 Series Active Tourer.


Pick the current shape and you get relatively nice materials and a simplified layout, but the drab dash is not as logical or intuitive to use as it should be, with small, hard-to-reach buttons and some flimsy trim pieces.


Finally, it's average safety performance (despite a good amount of standard protective kit) will be a turn off for some buyers. It's good value - especially used - but also a car that will only suit a small number of people. 


If you're looking for the larger seven seat version, you need our Ford Grand C-MAX (2011-2019) review.


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Ford C Max

1.6 Zetec 5dr

  • 2014
  • 36,215 miles
  • TrustFord Coleraine
  • Coleraine, BT522BS
Price:£6,900
HP: £195.35/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 36 Monthly Payments: £195.35, Customer Deposit: £1,035.00, Total Deposit: £1,035.00, Total Charge For Credit: £1,167.60, Total Amount Payable: £8,067.60, Representative APR: 12.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 12.08%

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Ford C Max

1.0 EcoBoost Titanium 5dr

  • 2018
  • 32,270 miles
  • TrustFord Bradford
  • West Yorkshire, BD14SR
Price:£12,800
PCP: £288.85/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £288.85, Customer Deposit: £1,920.00, Total Deposit: £1,920.00, Optional Final Payment: £3,466.00, Total Charge For Credit: £2,695.75, Total Amount Payable: £15,495.75, Representative APR: 12.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 12.16%, Excess Mileage Charge: 4.8ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Is the Ford C-MAX right for you?

Five-seat MPVs have become an endangered species thanks to the rising popularity of small SUVs. In truth, many buyers will pick the rugged image of a crossover over the honesty and space of cars like the C-MAX.


The thing is, being unfashionable won't bother some people at all, and it makes MPVs better value. Most of them ride and handle better due to being lower to the ground, and can match SUVs for carrying capacity.


However, while the C-MAX is a little more versatile than the Focus on which it's based, it's not a 'proper' MPV in the same sense as its seven-seat sibling the Grand C-MAX, and most family will gravitate to the larger car.


It's a perfect car for people who like driving and need a little more space than a standard hatchback provides. Those will larger families should look at seven-seat alternatives, especially if you have three or more kids.


Its age also means it's no class-leader on running costs, infotainment gadgets or the crash safety rankings.


What's the best Ford C-MAX model/engine to choose?

The answer to this question depends on what you want to use it for, but family buyers keen to make the most of its decent load-carrying capacity should definitely choose the 1.5 TDCi diesel in mid-range Titanium spec.


Equipped with this engine the C-MAX has reasonable running costs, plenty of equipment, and is great value. The older 2.0-litre diesels were even punchier, but not as refined, and will be more expensive to insure.


We'd also advise going for the post-2015 facelift model if your budget allows. It's not only prettier to look at, but the interior is much better finished and laid out, which will make a big difference to everyday usability.


If you don't plan on many long haul trips then the 125 PS 1.0-litre petrol is a characterful nippy engine, but don't expect it to be hugely economical. You need a heavy right foot to get it going, and this hurts efficiency.


What other cars are similar to the Ford C-MAX?

Direct rivals the Citroen C4 Picasso and Renault Scenic offer more seating flexibility and lower running costs, and come better equipped than the Ford spec-for-spec, however neither are near as entertaining to drive. For reliability, look at a Toyota Verso.


If you want a posher interior, the Volkswagen Golf SV has nicer trim materials, and a wider range of engines that still includes a stout 2.0-litre diesel with 150PS, and it'll also hold its value a little better than the C-MAX. There is also the seven-seat Volkswagen Touran.


For buyers looking for an even posher MPV the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer certainly delivers, with a sporty cabin, excellent build quality, and option of a plug-in hybrid model with a 25-mile electric range and very low CO2 emissions.


Of course, if you want similar practicality but a raised driving position, there are a vast number of compact SUVs to choose from. Most of them, such as the Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur look a lot more stylish.


Learn more

Ford C-Max Interior

On the inside

Ford C-Max front

Driving

Ford C-Max Side

How much does it cost to run

Ford C-Max Boot

Prices, versions and specification

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

What is a Ford C-MAX?

The C-MAX is a family people carrier with five doors and five seats. It is based on the Focus hatchback, and features a taller body and higher roof to improve the amount of space inside.

heycar editorial team

Answered by

heycar editorial team

Has the Ford C-MAX been discontinued?

Yes. Due to a heavy fall in the popularity of MPVs, Ford decided to wield the axe and cut them from the range in the middle of 2019, with no plans for any replacements.

Russell Campbell

Answered by

Russell Campbell

Is the Ford C-MAX a good car?

With the right engine and trim combination, the C-MAX is good honest family transport that is surprisingly fun to drive, and an affordable used buy, even if the interior looks rather dated

Andy Brady

Answered by

Andy Brady

How much boot space is there in the C-MAX?

With the rear seats in place the C-MAX can carry 423 litres of stuff. Not as much as a Focus Estate, but comfortably more than the normal hatchback. It also comes with removable rear seats, and the available boot size grows to an impressive 1723 litres if you take them out.

David Ross

Answered by

David Ross

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