As my family’s car is a Ford S-Max Titanium, I was intrigued to have my first couple of weeks with its smaller seven-seat sibling.
Trips to nursery, schools, cinemas and adventure parks seem to form an all-too-regular part of our monthly schedule, so the Grand C-Max has been pressed into use to see how a family of five manages with its smaller dimensions.
It is certainly a car with plenty of plusses. The sliding rear doors are a doddle to operate and ensure access is easy and damage free, both superb points when loading children is involved.
Its optional parking assistance system also makes negotiating into a space on the road outside school relatively stress free, and its Easyfuel filling system takes away any fears of misfuelling at the pumps.
It also drives extremely well. Its 2.0-litre turbodiesel with 138bhp is responsive and adequately powerful and, in our test car, is mated to a six-speed Powershift automatic transmission which is silky smooth and very efficient.
Consumers selecting the auto will pay a price however – with 154g/km CO2 emissions, 15g/km more than the manual equivalent, for company car user-choosers the 24% benefit-in-kind tax they’ll suffer is actually an extra 3% above that of both the manual alternative and my 139g/km S-Max.
Nevertheless, an even more emission-friendly 1.6-litre diesel is also in the Grand C-Max range, with 129g/km, cutting BIK down to 19%. And even in auto form this long-term test car has a three second advantage over the S-Max in a 0-62mph sprint.
On to the minuses. It has odd styling and little of the yummy-mummy appeal with which the S-Max conquested middle-class families in their droves when it first arrived. In reality, it is actually a four-seater with three extra seats suitable only for occasional use by pre-teen children, a reminder of our previous family runabout, a Mazda5.
While plenty of consumers are happy to make the compromise, familes with more than couple of youngsters in child seats may find the lack of accommodation a frustration, particularly on long distance excursions.
But ultimately, all this should’ve been ironed out by a salesman qualifying the customer properly. Grand C-Max is a fine car for the small, growing family.
And if it’s too tight for space, at least the Ford dealer has the S-Max in his armoury.
Engine 2.0-litre TDCi 138bhp
Performance 0-62mph 10.5 secs, top speed 123mph
Transmission 6-sp auto
Efficiency 48.7mpg, 154g/km CO2
RV 3yr/30k 30.9%
Start mileage 3,758
Current mileage 5,903
Rivals Volkswagen Touran, Nissan Qashqai+2, Citroën C4 Picasso
What's been said about the Ford Grand C-Max
The seven-seater could well be the best handling car in its segment and with its fantastic,
practical interior, could even be the best car in its class.
The central seat in the middle row is narrow, so it’s only really suitable for short trips.