Used Ford Grand C-Max
Ford has long been a leader in large 7-seat MPVs but has tended to struggle in the smaller class dominated by the Renault Scenic and Vauxhall Zafira. It was late to the party with the C-Max in 2003 and it only offered 5 seats. The second generation C-Max launched in 2010 came along with a 7-seater Grand C-Max version offering three rows of seats and sliding rear doors.
There's a choice of three petrol and two diesel engines. Petrols are the 1.6 Zetec with 125bhp, a 1.6 150bhp turbo EcoBoost which comes with a six-speed gearbox and a 1.0 three-cylinder EcoBoost with 100 or 125bhp. Diesels are 1.6 and 2.0 TDCi models, the larger engine being available with a six-speed Powershift automatic.
Bang for your buck
There are only two trim levels, the Ford Grand C-Max Zetec and Titanium. Standard on Zetec models are alloy wheels, air con and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. You also get a DAB radio/CD with USB and Bluetooth connectivity and voice control. There are power operated child locks for the rear doors and rear parking sensors.
The Titanium trim adds automatic wipers and headlights, an auto-dimming rear view mirror and automatic temperature control with two zones. There's also hill launch assist, keyless start, cruise control a Sony audio system and powered folding door mirrors.
The used Ford Grand C-Max's seating allows the centre seat in the second row to fold away under one of the outer seats so you have a clear central passage down the car – handy for dealing with child seats.
What you'll pay
Prices start at around £12,500 for a 60 plate 1.6 Zetec, an 11 plate 1.6 Diesel with Titanium trim will be closer to £14,000. At the top end an ex-demo 62 plate 2.0-litre diesel Titanium will be in the region of £18,000.
Insurance groups range from 13 to 20 depending on the engine. 1.0 EcoBoost models offer cheap road tax thanks to low emissions
What to check
These are cars that are popular with families so check for scuffed and damaged trim. Early cars had very strong springs on the centre seat backrests and they can spring forward when released so take care. Automatics need a fluid change every three years at a cost of about £250 so check that this has been done.
Being a Ford parts are relatively cheap and easily available. A clutch will be about £120, a radiator £140 and an alternator around £170. Brake pads will be about £35 for the fronts and a replacement headlamp will cost you around £140.
How it drives
The second hand Ford Grand C-Max has a high, commanding driving position but it handles better than you might think. Its taut chassis and well-controlled suspension means it's stable through bends but soaks up the bumps well too. The power steering has good feel so although it's no sports car the Grand C-Max offers an enjoyable driving experience after you've dropped off the kids. At the same time the steering is light enough to make driving round town and parking easy enough. There's a bit of wind noise at motorway speeds though road noise is well suppressed.
Most cars on the market will be 1.6 Zetecs or diesels. However the 1.6 EcoBoost is worth seeking out if you can find one as it offers 9.9 seconds to 62mph and 40+ mpg economy along with good mid-range pulling power. It also comes with the six-speed box where other models make do with five.
The interior is nicely designed with soft-touch plastics along with piano black and metal trim for a classy feel. The seating arrangements are flexible but taller passengers won't be comfortable for long in the back so this is one for younger families rather than those with lanky teenagers. Luggage space is limited with all the seats up but that's a common complaint in this class.
For the first time Ford has a presence in the 7-seat compact MPV market with the Grand C-Max. It's good looking, versatile and retains the driving dynamics of the older model which puts it well ahead of its competitors on the road. Those with growing kids will want something bigger but for young families the Ford Grand C-Max for sale makes a compelling choice.