As before, you also get clever seat-folding mechanisms and plenty of space as part of an accomplished range of virtues.
On the move, despite being 110kg heavier than its five-seater stablemate, this Grand C-MAX model is still 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, there are two 1. 0-litre EcoBoost petrol engines on offer, developing either 100 or 125PS, but most potential buyers will be wanting to look at a diesel, probably the 120PS 1. 5-litre unit. Here, 62mph is 12. 3s away from rest and there’s 270Nm of torque that gives you decent pulling power. Yet this variant will also return up to 64. 2mpg on the combined cycle and put out no more than 113g/km of CO2. If you do need a bit more performance, then Ford also offers a 150PS 2. 0-litre TDCi diesel.
The Grand C-MAX is the version of this car that Ford sells in its home Stateside market, so prior to the original launch of this model in 2010, there was quite a bit of pressure on the Blue Oval’s design team to get this seven-seat bodystyle right. Though sitting 58mm higher than the five-seat variant, it’s only 140mm longer, which might make you wonder whether it’s big enough for larger American families, let alone European ones – until you realise that this remains a car well over 4. 5-metres in length. 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.
This 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.
Take a seat in the second row and at first glance, things look quite familiar for a compact 7-seater of this kind.
Look a little closer though and real innovation reveals itself in the form of the ‘seat-eating-seat’ mechanism where the rather narrow centre perch disappears into the seat alongside to provide a clear walkway into the rear between two middle chairs that now offer far more space for their occupants.
Those who make it back to this third row are unlikely to be especially comfortable if they’re of basket ball-playing height or overly familiar with the offerings of Colonel Sanders. These perches are intended for children - or reasonably agile adults on shorter journeys.
Time to take a seat at the wheel where the cabin, as before, it seems as though the stylists have felt free-er to inject a little more expression into the mix. 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.
And luggage room? Well let’s see. Most of the time, Grand C-MAX owners will be travelling with these rearmost seats folded down, in which guise the luggage area can swallow up to 448-litres loaded to the parcel shelf. If you do need more space, then folding forward the second row seating frees up as much as 1,715-litres.
There are clear advantages in turning up late for any party and when in 2010, Ford became the last of the mainstream makers to bring us a seven-seat compact MPV, the brand took every opportunity to maximise its prospects with this Grand C-MAX model. Having looked at the options that other makers were offering in this segment, the company picked up on the need for a contender that would deliver things like sliding doors and more sophisticated seat folding mechanisms. Their engineers also noted just how dull most People Carriers of this kind were to drive. The result was an opportunity to redefine how a car of this kind should be.
This Grand C-MAX did that at launch and continues to do so in this usefully revised form.
Of course, it’s not perfect. Some rivals shade it in terms of ultimate carriage capacity or cabin quality, while others are slightly cheaper. There’s not much in it these days though and what’s not up for debate is the fact that this Ford still leads the field by a useful margin when it comes to driving dynamics.
Perhaps what’s changed here though is that if that doesn’t matter to you, then there are now more reasons than ever to still seriously consider this car. You can certainly see why so many families like it.