Gad­gets­give Maxben­e­fit

The Jewish Chronicle - - MOTORING -

HERE’S A nice t o u c h i n Ford’s C-Max: pull down a lit­tle hinged unit above the driv­ing mir­ror, e x - pect­ing, per­haps, to find a con­tainer for sun­glasses and in­stead it’s a much more use­ful panoramic mir­ror, so the driver can keep an eye on those in the back and check how the chil­dren are be­hav­ing.

There are many more thought­ful touches in the C-Max, such as the small com­part­ment for odd­ments on top of the fa­cia, the space for sun­glasses in each front door and a good stor­age area for CDs un­der the cen­tre arm­rest.

There’s no front ash­tray, but com­pany cars now au­to­mat­i­cally ban smok­ing. Space for sweet pa­pers and other de­bris is pro­vided in a lid­ded com­part­ment, which also serves as a twin cupholder, be­side the hand­brake.

The C-Max is a tall, roomy fam­ily car, with a bright in­te­rior, thanks to the big glass roof with spring-loaded sun blinds (an ex­tra, at £400).

The three rear seats are in­di­vid­ual and each can be folded flat, then tipped for­ward or re­moved. Chil­dren will ap­pre­ci­ate the lift-up trays fit­ted to the backs of the front seats. C-Max comes with a wide choice of en­gines, start­ing with a 1.6-litre petrol unit. Top model is the pow­er­ful 2-litre diesel Du­ra­torq, as in the test car.

The C-Max re­turned 43.9 mpg and proved very quiet and smooth. The sus­pen­sion gives a rather firm ride, with dis­ap­point­ingly high lev­els of tyre roar and wheel thump over bumps, but the ben­e­fit of the taut sus­pen­sion is very crisp and re­spon­sive han­dling. The steer­ing, too, is pre­cise and di­rec­tional sta­bil­ity is ex­cel­lent.

Sur­pris­ingly, there are no con­trols other than the horn pad on the steer­ing wheel, but a lever un­der­neath the wheel gives con­ve­nient fin­ger­tip con­trol of the au­dio unit. The CD unit for the nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem takes up a lot of space in the com­part­ment fac­ing the pas­sen­ger, and a CD player for the au­dio unit is mounted be­neath the front pas­sen­ger seat.

There is a neat com­puter read-out be­tween the in­stru­ments, se­lected by a touch on the end of the in­di­ca­tor stalk, and there are also time, date, trip and to­tal mileage read­ings, as well as out­side tem­per­a­ture among the mass of in­for­ma­tion sup­plied. Large, clear cir­cu­lar in­stru­ments are pro­vided, with white dig­its on a black sur­round and red point­ers.

Small quar­ter win­dows in the front sides are more a styling fea­ture than a prac­ti­cal aid to vis­i­bil­ity, so it’s im­por­tant to move your head around to en­sure noth­ing is hid­den be­hind the large blind area at junc­tions. A high seat­ing po­si­tion helps to see over this ob­struc­tion. Wipers park neatly at the base of the wind­screen and rear view is par­tic­u­larly good.

The front seats have five-stage elec­tric heat­ing and a lever on the inside of each front seat al­lows back­rest firm­ness to be ad­justed.

Well-placed at the top of the con­sole is the screen for the nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem, au­dio and ventilation.

Even with the top Ti­ta­nium trim as on the test car, the nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem is a costly ex­tra at £2,500, though this in­cludes the un­der-seat six-pack au­dio changer. It’s a very ef­fi­cient nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem, any­way, pro­vid­ing a clear map in colour. In­struc­tions are good, with rapid re-pro­gram­ming if the driver di­verts from the route, and it is easy to set a des­ti­na­tion (ex­cept for the fact that it will not ac­cept a post­code).

Some driv­ers may re­gret the lack of a cruise con­trol on the C-Max, but it is oth­er­wise well equipped, even though the op­tions on the test car added £6,100 to the price, mak­ing the fi­nal pack­age very ex­pen­sive at £24,845. A hefty item in the to­tal was the £1,000 cost of the Sport Pack, which in­cludes firmer sus­pen­sion and 18in wheels in­stead of the stan­dard 17in ones. With­out this op­tion the C-Max might give a qui­eter and more yield­ing ride.

C-Max: good-look­ing fam­ily car with many un­ex­pected ex­tra fea­tures

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