The Auto Trader expert verdict:
The latest Ford C-MAX range is split into two, with the Grand C-MAX gaining two extra seats to take on the Volkswagen Touran. The extra seats are easy to fold and the sliding doors make it easy to get into and out of.
Reasons to buy:
- Great to drive
- Versatile seats
- Attractive interior
How good does it look?
From the front, it might look the same as the C-MAX, but the Ford Grand C-MAX is 140mm longer and 58mm higher giving it a total length of 4.52 metres. It is also distinguished from its smaller sibling by its sliding rear doors, which offer excellent access and need less space to open – perfect for the UK’s tight and busy car parks and streets. It’s design is bolder than the subtle Volkswagen Touran, Toyota Verso and Renault Grand Scenic, so its main competitor if you’re after stylish looks is the Mazda5.
What's the interior like?
The Grand C-MAX’s stylish dashboard design follows the Fiesta, with its edgier, more expressive look. The controls for the navigation system and Sony stereo are inspired by modern mobile phones. The dashboard looks good and the plastics feel of good quality, it’s a shame then, that some of the functionality has been sacrificed for style. The main screen is too small and there are too many fiddly controls on the centre console and steering wheel. The large windscreen makes the Grand’s interior feel light, airy and spacious. But we feel that the controls for the climate control are too far down the dash, almost hidden behind the gearlever. Also, the shiny silver plastic looks cheap and feels as though it will scratch easily.
How practical is it?
The C-MAX has an excellent, elevated driving position with plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment, so it shouldn’t be difficult to get comfy. The seats are both supportive and comfortable. The extra length over the C-MAX has enabled Ford to fit in an extra pair of seats that fold flat into the boot floor. There’s not much legroom for these seats, so they’re probably best only for kids. When in place there’s only 56-litres of bootspace – far less than you get in a MINI Hatch. Fold them down and there’s 439 litres, which expands to 1,706 when you collapse the middle row of seats too. There are two seats for the middle row, which can move forward and back independently with a smaller centre seat that can be folded away for walk-through access. Overall visibility is better than the smaller C-MAX, but the thick front windscreen pillars still make manoeuvres such as pulling out of junctions a bit of chore.
What's it like to drive?
Ford has a reputation for building drivers’ cars and the Grand C-MAX surprises by just how much fun it is to steer. The steering is light enough around town to make manoeuvres easy, yet it feels sharp and precise at speed. Hit the corners and despite the extra height and length, there’s plenty of grip and a surprising lack of body roll. The ride is harder than the Volkswagen Touran and potholes make themselves known in the cabin – but the C-MAX always feels composed. We were also impressed with the lack of road and wind noise, which soothes occupants, even at higher speeds.
How powerful is it?
We first tested the 140bhp version of the 2.0-litre TDCi diesel, with a top speed of 123mph, and the dash to 62mph taking 10.5 seconds. It’s a smooth, refined engine that pulls well from low revs. It’s matched to a slick five-speed manual transmission. Another smaller 1.6-litre diesel is also available with 113bhp, along with two 1.6-litre petrol engines with 123bhp and 148bhp. The powerful petrol Grand C-MAX is the quickest, hitting 62mph in 9.9 seconds and a top speed of 126mph. Its most impressive trait is smoothness, with no hesitation at low revs and a crisp surge of power until you need the next gear.
How much will it cost me?
The Grand C-MAX’s running costs should be no worse than rivals and you can expect over 50mpg from the 2.0-litre diesel and a 134 g/km Co2 emissions figure. Petrol versions of the Grand C-MAX offer extra performance but are more expensive to run. The 148bhp 1.6-litre Ecoboost engine returns an average of 40.9mpg and emits 159g/km of CO2. Cheapest to run is the 1.6-litre diesel, with low emissions of 129g/km of CO2 and an average of 57.7mpg.
How reliable is it?
The previous Ford C-MAX had a solid reputation for dependability and despite all the new car’s technology, there’s no reason to think it should be any different. The engine line-up appears in the Focus, C-MAX, S-MAX and Galaxy with few reported issues. There has been one official recall affecting cars built between March 2010 and January 2011 to fix an issue which could result in the middle bench seat reclining without its lever being pulled.
How safe is it?
The Grand C-MAX is a top performer in Euro NCAP crash tests, with a five-star rating. All cars have electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), electronic stability programme (ESP) and front, side and curtain airbags, while a system that warns if a car is in your blindspot is available as an option.
How much equipment do I get?
Just Zetec and range-topping Titanium trims are available. But all Grand C-MAX models are well-equipped with alloy wheels, air-con, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, Thatcham category one alarm, DAB radio/CD and Bluetooth with USB connectivity and voice control. Our Titanium added auto front wipers, auto headlamps, dual electronic auto climate control, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, hill launch assist, keyless start, cruise control with speed limiter, a Sony audio system and tyre pressure monitors.
If you want a refined seven-seater MPV that’s enjoyable to drive and you like its styling, the Grand C-MAX is the best model in its class. We also think its two extra seats and sliding side doors make it worth saving up for over the smaller C-MAX.