Used Ford C-Max
Ford's C-Max was originally introduced as a rather lacklustre add-on to its ultra-successful Focus in 2003, unimaginatively named the Focus C-Max. Buyers didn't really pay much attention until 2007's revamp, which not only gave the C-Max an identity of its own by dropping the Focus tag but, with Ford having filled the seven seater market gaps with new models the S-Max and Galaxy, it also gave the Ford C-Max a distinct market niche of its own as a five seat, compact MPV. 2010 brought a new C-Max plus a seven seat Grand C-Max.
Engines spanned the range neatly with three petrol models: a 100bhp 1.6i, a 125bhp 1.8 and a 145bhp 2.0 litre, plus the more desirable diesels at 90bhp 1.6 TDCi, 115bhp 1.8 TDCi and an excellent 135bhp TDCi.
Bang for your buck
With Ford understandably keen to capitalise on the impressive and popular Focus, 2007's new C-Max was a neatly revised version of the previous over-conservative Focus C-Max with some well-thought out personality traits all of its own. Style has not been abandoned in favour of practicality and versatility, showing a relatively sexy body for a family car with a modern front end and including LED tail lights and optional bi-xenon headlamps.
Interior proportions are extravagant for a five seater, but the used Ford C-Max also has a unique trick up its sleeve in the form of its 40-20-40 rear seat arrangement, whereby the rear centre section folds into the boot, leaving the two side seats room to slide over slightly into the centre, giving rear passengers armchair levels of comfort. Even in standard configuration five can ride comfortably in the approved Ford C-Max along with generous luggage space, but the rear seats can even be removed, allowing you to fit almost an entire house in the back.
Specifications are generous, with the entry level model badged the Studio, moving up to Style, Zetec and Titanium. MP3 connectors are standard equipment across the board, while the Titanium model includes blue tinted windows. A rather cool optional extra was a good-sized panorama glass roof, featuring convenient internal blinds and a Solar Reflect coating so you don't suffer from sitting in a greenhouse. The optional sports pack included smart alloys, sports suspension and seats, a three-spoke steering wheel and body coloured spoiler.
Don't discount the 2003-2007 used Focus C-Max, which might lack some of the later model's sophistication but still benefits from a Focus chassis with superior C-Max cabin features.
What you'll pay
Used Ford C-Max cars for sale are available at £6,000 for an entry level, petrol powered Studio trim on an 07 plate, plus an extra £900 for the sportier Zetec. Price difference between the 1.6 and 1.8 versions is negligible and the 2.0 litre is only about £200 more.
You will understandably and rightly shell out more for the diesels, with the 1.6 TDCi Style starting at £7,200 and an extra £1,000 for the 1.8 litre. The best of the lot, the 2.0 TDCi, opens at £9,000 for an 07 Style, going up to £13,500 for an 09 Titanium.
What to check
Engines and mechanicals are great, coming from the well-proven Focus, especially the diesels. Being a family car the used Ford C-Max engine doesn't suffer too much from boy racers but the interior may show some wear and tear from infant passengers at trim level. Always favour a comprehensive service history and check electricals including air conditioning.
As a Ford, this is where the used C-Max rewards you. A clutch assembly is £115 and an alternator about £165, with brake pad sets at £35 for front and £45 for the rear. A full exhaust system will set you back £275, dampers £60 each, radiator £140, catalyst £285 and a front headlamp replacement is around £140.
How it drives
The approved used Ford C-Max very comfortably straddles the line between practical family run-around and rewarding drive, a rare thing in the MPV market. Fuel economy is exemplary, depending on loading and how heavily you use your right foot. Its Focus foundations are apparent every time you drive, with polished handling, elegant feedback and, particularly in the case of the 2.0 TDCi, a very lively throttle with a funky six-speed gearbox. The flexible rear seating, increased roof height and more upright seating positions make it significantly more family friendly than the average hatch, but the handsome Focus chassis makes it a driver's car and a leader in its class.