Despite the relatively scant difference in claimed economy figures, Ford’s EcoBoost engine isn’t a match for a good diesel on fuel economy out in the real world.
That’s not to say it’s thirsty in the C-Max. Our test car returned just under 40mpg over several days of mixed use. A small-capacity diesel, we suspect, could beat that by 25 per cent: more for those who spend plenty of hours on the motorway. Diesel’s still about eight per cent more expensive at the pump, so some of that’s offset – but not all of it.
Still, if you’ve got the kind of low-mileage service in mind that would render that economy gap inconsequential – and as second cars, many C-Maxes will perform exactly so – there’s an outstanding case here.
The engine’s smooth and quiet at low revs, but its chief virtue is range: it’ll pull stoutly from well under 1500rpm right the way through to 5500- with incredible linearity and almost entirely without high-frequency vibration. A peak 98bhp clearly isn’t going to make the car fast, but it is responsive and easy to drive. It seems unrealistic to expect more than that of a car like this.
The C-Max’s taut, fleet-footed handling remains an equally outstanding reason to buy, provided you’re inclined to value it. Without compromising ride comfort, the chassis tune makes for impressive body control. There are strong grip levels too, the steering’s direct and meaty, and all three things – in tandem with the willing engine – make this car a pleasing, spry sort of steer.
On practicality, while it might seem that an MPV without seven seats is like a sink without a tap, the car delivers a surprising amount. Compared with what you get in a regular five-door, the higher seating position, greater headroom, larger doors and bigger boot would all come in very handy during day-to-day family use.
With the second row in place, the boot offers more space than either a five-seat Toyota Verso or a Renault Scenic; it’s particularly deep and will swallow a pushchair with room to spare.