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Ford Focus C-Max – 2003 onwards

The Ford Focus C-Max is an excellent mid-size MPV with one major flaw: it’s only available with five seats. Aside from this, C-Max has many strengths, including some strong diesel engines, an up-market and refined interior and a strong safety record.

Prices at Ford dealers start from around £7,500 for an entry-level 1.6.

Driving and performance

C-Max is built on the underpinnings of current Focus and it shows – it’s the best handling MPV on sale. The ride is supple, it corners with ease, the gearchange is snappy and the steering is almost sports-car precise. However, the 2.0 TDCi needs to have the ESP system kept on to control the power.

Comfort

The cabin looks good and is well insulated from wind, road and engine noise. The steering wheel adjusts for reach and rake and the driver’s seat is adjustable, which makes for an excellent driving position. The driver gets a good view of the road and all-round visibility is very good. Controls are well placed, easy to use and look smart.

Engines

Good selection of engines, ranging from 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrols to 1.6 and 2.0 turbo-diesels. The modern diesels are quick-off-the-mark, torquey and refined. The 2.0 has a six-speed gearbox, which makes for relaxed cruising.

Safety

ABS and dual front airbags are standard and all models (except base cars) get side bags. Pretty strong four-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating, but missed out on five stars for occupant protection. On the security front, C-Max has marked parts and etched windows. Some models get an alarm.

Fast movers
Focus C-Max 1.6 TDCi LX
LX trim is well-equipped without being over spec’d.
Trade: 0353-0505: £6,900-8,600. Retail: 0353-0505: £9,000-11,100

Focus C-Max 1.8 Zetec
Zestful, quick, good to drive.
Trade: 0404-0505: £7,450-8,100. Retail: 0404-0505: £10,500-11,500

Ones to avoid
Studio specification
Misses out on air-con, now a must for buyers in this sector

In the workshop
Two recalls: one in 2004 for a failing electronic handbrake and another in 2005 for an overheating wiper arm.

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