As before, you also get clever seat-folding mechanisms and plenty of space as part of an accomplished range of virtues. The result could well be a more versatile alternative to that familiar family hatch you might have been considering.
On the move, this C-MAX model remains a class leader when it comes to handling dynamics. A standard torque vectoring system helps you get the power down through corners in which you’ll really be able to place the car precisely thanks to re-tuned electric power steering that offers impressive levels of feel. Ford has further improved the whole experience in this revised model, fitting stiffer suspension brushes and re-tuned dampers that reduce bodyroll without creating too much of an over-firm ride.
Under the bonnet, most C-MAX users in search of petrol power will be looking at the two 1. 0-litre EcoBoost engines and the choice Ford gives of either 100 or 125PS power outputs. Otherwise, potential users will be wanting to look at a diesel, probably the 120PS 1. 5-litre unit. Here, 62mph is 11. 3s away from rest and there’s 270Nm of torque that gives you decent pulling power. Yet this variant will also return up to 68. 9mpg on the combined cycle and put out no more than 105g/km of CO2. If you do need a bit more performance, then Ford also offers a 150PS 2. 0-litre TDCi diesel.
Unofficially known within Ford as ‘Compact’, this five-seater C-MAX looks a little better proportioned than its seven-seater Grand C-MAX stablemate – as you’d expect, given that its well proportioned if slightly unadventurous shape doesn’t have to incorporate the larger model’s twin sliding side doors. The looks have aged well, requiring just a little freshening up to keep this model looking current. And that’s exactly what’s been delivered here.
The updated version’s restyling package is supposed to reflect the brand’s so-called ‘One Ford’ global design language. Hence the addition of the distinctive trapezoidal front grille familiar from most of the company’s other models, which joins these sleeker, ‘chiselled’ front headlamps.
In terms of the changes to this improved model, well, it’s all a bit cleaner and more intuitive this time round, with classer black satin trim and chrome detailing that contribute to a modern look. Some of the functions are simpler to use – the air conditioning controls for example, which now feature buttons that are easier to recognise and distinguish. Others have been relocated to the SYNC2 infotainment screen that on most models now dominates the centre of the dash.
Time to move rearwards, where you get three entirely separate rear chairs. On the downside, you can’t slide them backwards and forward in the way you can in a Grand C-MAX, and, because the cabin’s quite narrow, the middle seat is too, so there’s no chance of fitting three childseats side by side. On the plus side, the set-up does benefit from an optional ‘Comfort’ feature which allows the centre seat to be folded away while the outer ones slide diagonally backwards to create a more luxurious two-seater rear passenger layout.
And luggage room? Even with a full complement of passengers on board, users will be enjoying anything between 432 and 627-litres of space, depending on whether they load up to parcel shelf level or fully onwards to the roof. If you need more space, then pushing the seats forward reveals up to 1,684-litres of fresh air.
The optional ‘Comfort’ feature which allows the centre seat in the rear to be folded away while the outer ones slide diagonally backwards to create a more luxurious two-seater rear passenger layout.
In truth, Ford didn't need to do a whole lot to the second generation C-MAX model to keep it right near the head of the pack in the segment for family hatch-based five-seater compact MPVs. The updates to the styling, the improvements to the interior and the big efficiency gains leveraged by the two much improved Euro6 diesel engines are welcome but the overall look, feel and appeal of this Ford hasn't been markedly altered.
In many ways, that’s no bad thing. Combining entertainment for drivers with comfort and convenience for passengers is a nut that has proven too difficult for many rivals to crack but this C-MAX manages while barely breaking sweat in the process.
Arguably even more appealing is the way that Ford has brought us a People Carrier with hardly a trace of people carrying stigma. Which means that, assuming you haven’t already qualified for your own private parking bay at the maternity ward, it’ll remain an engagingly clever option in this segment for smaller but very active families.