It’s not always easy to see the point of a five-seater midi-MPV, particularly when it’s based on a car as capable and comfortable as the Ford Focus. But as a family wagon offering extra space and versatility, the C-Max is a compelling package – and the new 1.6-litre TDCi powerplant adds even further appeal.
There’s the same low-set driving position, VW-rivalling cabin quality and class-leading dynamics as the 2.0 version we tested last year, but added to the mix are a lower price tag, better economy and the option of a £1100 continuously variable transmission.
On the road you rarely miss the 2.0-litre’s extra 26bhp and 55lb ft of torque. It lacks the hot hatch-style turbo punch, but the 100kg lighter 16-valve common-rail Duratorq 1.6 offers a smooth, linear power delivery and rarely feels off the pace. It’s impressively refined too, with 70mph recording a lazy 2250rpm. The five-speed manual ’box is not as light as big brother’s six-cog option, but it’s more positive and meaty and only at over 80mph does the engine’s slightly laboured note make you miss that extra ratio.