I have to confess, Ford’s MPV line-up does confuse me a little bit. Sure, there’s the Galaxy, that’s the big one. And then there’s the S-Max, which is the sporty one.
The B-Max is for those who want a Fiesta with a bit more practicality, while the C-Max is essentially a slightly bigger Focus. But then there’s the Grand C-Max, with its seven seats, and let’s not even think about the Tourneo Custom and Connect (they’re essentially Transits with windows and seats, if you must know).
It’s more than a tad befuddling. Buying a five-seat C-Max, like the one we’re running on our long-term fleet, is like saying “I want as much practicality as possible, but with just the five seats please.”
But for a recent autumnal camping trip to Cornwall, that is precisely what I wanted. Two seats would have done, in fact, as the rear seats were folded down to cater for a week’s worth of camping kit. And that’s quite a lot, as it turns out – comfortably filling the C-Max’s 1,684 litres of boot space.
When it’s full of gear, the extra weight is noticeable. But even with the 1.5-litre turbodiesel, it’s fine at making progress along the M4. It’s only when negotiating Cornwall’s steep hills that I started to wish I was in the bigger 2.0-litre diesel.
On Cornish lanes, the C-Max starts to feel a lot bigger than it actually is. At 1,828mm wide it’s only 5mm wider than a regular Focus but, even so, extra care is required on roads lined with Cornish hedgerows, full of rocks ready to jump out and scrape the C-Max’s gleaming frozen white paint.
Overall, though, the C-Max proved to be the perfect companion for a week away. Manufacturers often go a bit lifestyle in their marketing for cars such as this, but it’s certainly capable of being loaded with kit and traipsing around challenging Cornish lanes.
- The dark nights have highlighted a reluctance for the C-Max’s self-dimming infotainment screen to self-dim. I’ve had to turn the brightness down manually when driving in the dark… a bit of a hassle
Price (October 2015): £23,395
Price with options: £25,220 (metallic paint £250, rear parking sensors £225, key free system £700, blind spot information system £400, SYNC2 DAB navigation system £250)
Engine: 1.5-litre TDCI turbodiesel
Torque: 199lb ft
0-62mph: 11.3 secs
Top speed: 114mph