What is it?
We like the Ford C-Max. Granted, it's easy to question the ultimate purpose of a so-called MPV that seems to offer little over a normal hatchback other than a higher roof, but in the scheme of such things, the C-Max has always offered sprightly handling and decent running costs.
Now it gets sleeker styling, an updated dash and multimedia system, and a range of more efficient new engines including the 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol, the 1.5-litre diesel we've already seen in the new Focus and the 2.0-litre diesel whose power is now up from 138bhp to 148bhp.
Thing is, the compact MPV territory has changed dramatically over the past few months or so with the addition of the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and Volkswagen Golf SV, so these updates to Ford's offering need to give the C-Max the necessary firepower to fight its corner against newer and more upmarket competition.
What's it like?
Whatever witchcraft Ford has been wielding in its chassis department for the past couple of decades, the spell is clearly still working. Within the modest realms of the compact MPV class, the C-Max remains the best to drive.
In fact, it handles with remarkable composure and willingness for a slightly dumpy-looking high-roofed family hatch. Swing it into a corner and you'll enjoy decent levels of communication through the fairly precise steering, making it easy to place accurately on the road, and it gives you plenty of warning when you're running out of grip and about to stray into some moderate understeer.
For all of its cornering ability, the C-Max has well-judged damping that softens all but the most rucked-up surfaces, and the body is kept from lolling about too heavily, so it's perfectly comfortable even over poor roads.
The only engine we got to drive in the C-Max is the 1.5-litre Ecoboost. This particular powerplant won't be coming to the UK, however, and that's a shame because it’s a great engine.
It’s a refined unit and spins freely through the rev range, only getting harsh and whiny if you really run it out towards the red line, but given that only 1% of buyers in the UK bought the high-powered petrol offering on the outgoing model, it’s easy to see why Ford has decided not to bother bringing it in this time around.