Fleet News

Ford Focus C-MAX 2.0 TDCi Ghia

Ford

Review

FORD says in the marketing blurb for its ‘beautifully built’ C-MAX: ‘We may not live in a perfect world – but at least you can drive around in one.’

If the firm was to take honesty in advertising to heart, it would actually say: ‘We may not live in a perfect world – but at least you can drive around in one, for about 10 minutes.’

You see, if you put the C-MAX to the use for which it is perfectly suited – carrying families – then any parent will tell you life is never perfect.

Take a two-week jaunt to Devon I recently endured – sorry, enjoyed – with the family, including two children under three.

The C-MAX was perfect for the job, offering flexibility, refinement, good economy, adequate boot space – just – and a great convex rear-view mirror so you can watch the kids fighting without taking your eyes off the road.

Within seconds of strapping my eldest into the seat behind the driver, the rear of the front seat was defaced with dust from the soles of his shoes as he happily kicked away, but that was just the start.

Any parent will tell you that driving with children on long journeys is a perfect incentive for smooth acceleration, slow progress around corners and the gentlest braking possible.

This isn’t to protect your little treasures – although it helps – but is all part of a unique car sickness game parents know only too well.

It’s a bit like Russian roulette, with bile instead of bullets and a loaded son pointed at the back of your neck. Corners become hair triggers, so handling and performance count for nothing. Instead, you inch your way around country lanes, knowing the consequences of any rash move could be an emptied stomach chamber.

Twenty miles into a 250-mile journey, I lost. But I am happy to report that leather seats clean up very easily, unlike my son.

Once at our destination, the C-MAX turned its hand to a huge variety of roles, including general transport, van, bed, taxi, playground, diner, store room, fridge and ambulance (nothing serious, you will be glad to hear).

Some may criticise the C-MAX for its lack of seven seats, but I am happy without them, particularly because the Ford has three proper seats in the back for passengers, unlike some rivals.

It took a few miles to get used to the electronic handbrake, but after that, I didn’t miss a lever, even on hill starts.

Economy was good, hitting 47mpg on long runs, although I didn’t get on with the sat-nav, which I found difficult to cancel if I made a mistake.

However, the touch screen was clear and easy to use for all the other functions (CD etc).

Much of the time was spent on the beach during the holiday and I could have spent even longer there if it wasn’t for a friendly Land Rover driver who helped save me when I accidentally – and gently – stranded the car on a small dune.

Over a long distance, I found the car’s seating position was excellent, the quality was everything Ford promised and the whole package worked perfectly. But if you do live life to the C-MAX, just watch your back on corners.

Price (OTR): £18,690 (£23,715 as tested)
Mileage: 4,890
CO2 emissions (g/km): 148
Company car tax bill 2004/05 (22% tax-payer): £60 per month
Insurance group: 10
Power (bhp/rpm): 134/4,000
Torque (lb-ft/rpm): 236/2,000
Combined mpg: 50.4
Test mpg: 45.6

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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