Cars are expensive to buy and to run and so it makes sense for families, wherever possible, to make do with as few vehicles as they can manage with.
But that’s not as easy as it sounds. Something that may appeal to one family member may not be practical for the rest and there usually has to be more than a fair degree of compromise if everyone is to be kept happy.
In common with this desire to try and get one car to fit all, Ford have expanded the C-Max range to include a seven-seater version, the Grand C-Max, which, together, they hope will account for some 20,000 units on UK roads each year.
C-Max, the five-seater version, has been around since 2002 with more than 130,000 sold. Although it shared a platform with the Focus, families liked it because it had a higher driving position and a number of family-friendly extras that can make all the difference to a journey with a car full of kids.
We tested the 1.6 TDCi 112bhp model recently to find out how much better the new model has become.
According to Ford, C-Max has been significantly improved this time around with suspension enhancements making for a better ride quality, a quieter cabin and updated engines, including the one fitted in our test car.
This is now capable of returning 61.4mpg in the combined cycle and has CO2 emissions of 119g/km. Regardless of this frugality, I think I’d be tempted to go for the 138bhp two-litre diesel for a bit of extra pulling power.
The ride quality, however, is excellent, with most of the undulations of the road surface being soaked up.
Despite being a people carrier, Ford have worked hard to keep C-Max stylish. I’ve always been impressed with its looks and the new model, although sleeker, does not differ unduly in many respects. It follows the family face of most other Fords, with sharp lines, sweeping headlights and a sloping roofline.
The interior is smart and functional, with the rear seats folding easily and quickly to provide a flat load floor.
Equipment in our Titanium test car included 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, heated front windscreen, cruise control, keyless start, front seat-back tables, leather steering wheel, Thatcham category one alarm, DAB radio/CD and Bluetooth with USB connectivity and voice control.
C-Max is one of the first Fords to have the DAB radio fitted as standard, which is a laudable achievement, but it is the iPod or other MP3 player connectivity that is bound to win it the most fans among the young. With thousands of music tracks now available to download it makes more sense simply to plug in your MP3 player to the car’s stereo than have stacks of CDs littering your cabin.
Cost on the road is £19,745.
In addition our test car was fitted with a convenience pack, automated parking system and foldable mirrors, a mini spare wheel and metallic paint which added £1,095 to the price.