Soon after its arrival – with mileage barely into three figures – it suddenly refused to start. Not only that, on turning over the engine, clouds of smoke billowed from the exhaust.
Parked alongside a host of shiny new test models in the car park, it soon drew a huddle of amused onlookers and eventually had the ignominious fate of being winched on to a lorry to be returned to Ford HQ after it was decided that the problem was too severe for roadside assistance, and warranted a full exporatory plug-in to a powerful computer.
The technical bods at Ford discovered that the problem was a loss of memory in the exhaust gas recirculation system, but they've cured this bout of amnesia, and since then, the C-MAX has performed in exemplary style, doing all that's asked of it in an efficient and unfussy manner.
After driving a low-slung sporty number for a few days while it was being fixed, getting back in the C-MAX reminded me that cornering at speed can be a somewhat uncomfortable manoeuvre, despite its well-documented ability as the best-handling mini-MPV.
The extra height that makes it feel as if I'm leaning at a precarious angle and although I know it's highly unlikely to overturn, I remain to be convinced and have taken to driving round bends like a pensioner with nine penalty points on his licence.
The C-MAX is still only achieving an average of around 35mpg, though its use has been mainly restricted to the urban cycle so that's probably to be expected. It will be interesting to discover whether it manages the forecast 62.8mpg extra-urban and 50.4mpg combined.
Company car tax bill 2004/05 (22% tax-payer): £60 per month
Power (bhp/rpm) 134/4,000
Torque (lb-ft/rpm) 236/2,000
Figures based on three-years/60,000-miles