Review: Ford C-MAX (2010 – 2019)

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Neat styling. More practical than a Focus. Fine blend of ride comfort, handling and driver enjoyment. 1.6 TDCi emits 119g/km. High quality interior.

Small back window cuts rearwards visibility. 18-inch wheels give hard ride. 1.0 Ecoboost has same driveline problems as Focus. Lot of injector failures on 1.6TDCIs. Axed from Ford model range April 2019.

Ford C-MAX (2010 – 2019): At A Glance

The original Ford C-MAX was a compact MPV with a good reputation for handling and build quality but was left behind by the competition in certain areas, not least a lack of rear seat flexibility and the fact it only had five seats. With similar-size people carriers such as the Vauxhall Zafira and Volkswagen Touran offering seven seats as standard, the C-MAX couldn't compete.

However, Ford has addressed that problem by introducing two new versions of the C-MAX. There's the seven-seat Grand C-MAX which is actually seen as the successor to the previous C-MAX. And then there's this new C-MAX (with the standard five seats) which is designed to appeal to buyers who are after more space than a regular family hatchback, but who don't want to sacrifice a sporty design or good handling.

The marketing experts at Ford reckon that for those owners who liked the practicality and comfort of the outgoing Focus, the C-MAX will be the car for them, with the Focus aimed more as a 'driver's car'. The C-MAX and Focus share the same chassis so it's no surprise that the compact MPV perfectly blends ride, handling and comfort together.

There's a choice of three petrol engines and two diesel engines. Making its debut in the Ford C-MAX and Grand C-MAX is the all-new four-cylinder 1.6-litre 150bhp and 180bhp Ford EcoBoost engines which come with a new six-speed manual gearbox. This gearbox is also fitted in the 1.6 TDCi and 2.0 TDCi models while driver's who prefer an automatic transmission, the dual-clutch Powershift six-speed automatic option is available with the 2.0 TDCI engine and delivers emissions of 149g/km.

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What does a Ford C-MAX (2010 – 2019) cost?

Contract hire from £230.88 per month

Ford C-MAX (2010 – 2019): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4379–4380 mm
Width 1858–2067 mm
Height 1610–1626 mm
Wheelbase 2648–2649 mm

Full specifications

Ford has improved further on the original C-MAX interior which was well built with this new model adding a dash of style along with an upmarket feel. The first thing you notice once inside is the leather multifunction steering wheel which not only looks sporty but is great to hold with neat thumb rests built into the thick rim. The instrument dials are good too, with a nice blue backlighting and a contrasting blue for the needles.

Rather than smooth lines there's quite an angular theme to the C-MAX and it works well, especially the chunky air vents and the door handles. It's more distinctive than the old C-MAX and shows what the interior of the new Focus will look like. The standard stereo system features DAB digital radio and is very easy to use while Titanium models (shown in the picture above) get a stylish Sony stereo. They also get an ambient interior lightin system which uses LEDs to create a stylish look at night. The air conditioning controls are well placed next the high gear-lever so you don't need to take you're eyes off the road for too long to change the temperature.

In terms of practicaility the C-MAX retains much of the same features as the previous version with three individual 40/20/40 folding rear seats plus you can opt for the clever Comfort System which lets you fold away the centre seat so that the outer two can slide diagonally backwatds to create a more spacious 2 + 2 layout. It feels very spacious from both the front and back seats and there's also an optinal 'panoramic' glass roof (which isn't actually panoramic but does cover almost the entire roof area) which comes with an internal blind.

Sitting in the back there's plenty of space, even with three six-footers sat side by side, with generous head and knee room. Getting in and out is easy too thanks to low sills and high-placed seats (although there are now small bolsters on the sides of the seats that impede this process slightly) and it's the same story in the front, while the raised driving position gives a good view out and is especially useful when parking or at tight junctions.

Storage is good too and as well as large door pockets in the front there's a large glovebox and cupholders next the gear lever. Titanium models have a larger centre console unit which includes a storage box with a sliding armrest cover. And when it comes to boot space the C-MAX is useful too with 432 litres (that's with the mini spare rather than the tyre inflation kit).

Impressively the C-MAX comes with Bluetooth as standard while an optional package is available which includes Bluetooth audio streaming so that music stored on a mobile phone can be played wirelessly through the stereo system. There's also a USB port enabling music files on an iPod, MP3 player or memory stick yo be played and controlled on the audio system.

Standard equipment from launch (October 2010):

Zetec is the standard trim level but comes very well kitted out as standard with all models getting 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, a leather steering wheel, a heated front windscreen, leather steering wheel, Thatcham category one alarm, a DAB radio/CD, Bluetooth and USB connectivity and voice control.

Titanium trim adds 17-inch alloys, automatic windscreen wipers and headlamps, dual electronic automatic temperature control, front seat-back tables an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, hill launch assist, keyless start, a premium Sony audio, interior ambient lighting, cruise control with a speed limiter, plus a tyre deflation detection system.

Child seats that fit a Ford C-MAX (2010 – 2019)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Ford C-MAX (2010 – 2019) like to drive?

The new C-MAX is based on what Ford calls its global C-car platform, which will eventually form the basis of a whole new generation of cars this size. And the C-MAX shows is that Ford has once again managed to set the benchmark for handling, ride and comfort.

It's a great all-rounder and is even more impressive when you remember that this is still a fairly tall MPV (at about 1.6 metres). It's always composed with plenty of front end grip and good steering feel too, giving you plenty of confidence to push it into fast corners. This is partly down to the clever Torque Vectoring Control system which uses the car's braking system to balance engine torque between the front two wheels. It works on the same principals as SEAT's XDS stsrem, so when accelerating through a tight corner, the system (which by the way will be available on the new Focus...) brakes the front inside wheel so more power goes to the outside wheel, giving better grip, a sharper 'feel' and meaning less steering lock is needed.

The ride is slightly on the firm side but still forgiving, however it's crashy on the optional 18-inch wheels - they may look good but they're not worth the extra money as the standard 17-inch wheels are far more comfortable. There's also very little noise on the move thanks to excellent sound insulation from the engine plus there's hardly any noticeable wind noise at higher speeds. So long motorway journeys can be stress-free (if the kids are behaving themselves that is) and it feels like a much larger car than it is in terms of refinement.

When it comes to engines it's not very surprising that most people choose one of the diesels. There's a completely updated 1.6 TDCI with 115bhp (there is a 95bhp version but it's not available in the UK) and despite its modest size it's an impressive engine, not least because thanks to CO2 emissions of just 119g/km VED is cheap while the average claimed economy is 61.4mpg. It has plenty of torque available with 270Nm and an extra 15Nm on overboost (useful when overtaking). It's also pretty quiet and refined and makes a good long distance engine.

But if you're after a bit more in the way of performance (and if you regularly have a full load of passengers to carry) then the 2.0 TDCI will certainly tick the right boxes. It has 140bhp plus 320Nm of torque giving it a 0-62mph time of 9.6 seconds (with the standard positive-shifting six-speed manual gearbox). Where it really comes into its own is acceleratiion from around 50mph to 70mph where it's very strong, ideal for motorway driving and means you don't have to change gear to often.

The petrol line-up includes the quiet 1.6-litre Ti-VCT which is available in two versions - one with 105bhp and one with 125bhp which are both more than adequate if you drive mainly in town and get a five-speed manual gearbox. The best petrol though is the 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine with 150bhp. Despite the extra power, CO2 emissions are the same as the 1.6 Ti-VCT at 154g/km thanks to the use of a turbocharger and high-pressure direct injection. This means it can provide strong low-end torque and the kind of responsive performance you'd expect of a larger engine. It is in fact the quickest engine on paper with a 0-62mph time of 9.4 seconds yet economy is still good at 42.8mpg.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.0 EcoBoost 100 55 mpg 12.6 s 117 g/km
1.0 EcoBoost 125 55 mpg 11.4 s 117 g/km
1.0T EcoBoost 100 50–50 mpg 12.6 s 117 g/km
1.0T EcoBoost 125 49–50 mpg 11.4 s 117 g/km
1.5 TDCi 105 ECOnetic 74 mpg 12.1 s 99 g/km
1.5 TDCi 120 59–60 mpg 11.3 s 105 g/km
1.5 TDCi 120 Powershift 57–60 mpg 12.4 s 115 g/km
1.5T EcoBoost 150 Powershift 37–37 mpg 10.2 s 174–176 g/km
1.6 43 mpg 11.5 s 149 g/km
1.6 105 44 mpg 12.6 s 149 g/km
1.6 125 44 mpg 11.5 s 149 g/km
1.6 EcoBoost 150 46 mpg 9.4 s 144 g/km
1.6 EcoBoost 182 46 mpg 8.5 s 144 g/km
1.6 TDCi 115 63 mpg 11.3 s 117 g/km
2.0 TDCi 140 58 mpg 9.6 s 129 g/km
2.0 TDCi 140 PowerShift 51 mpg 10.1 s 144 g/km
2.0 TDCi 150 64 mpg 9.5 s 114 g/km
2.0 TDCi 150 Powershift 59 mpg 10.3 s 124 g/km
2.0 TDCi 163 58 mpg 8.6 s 129 g/km
2.0 TDCi 163 PowerShift 51 mpg 9.3 s 144 g/km

Real MPG average for a Ford C-MAX (2010 – 2019)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

28–62 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Ford C-MAX (2010 – 2019)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Ford C-MAX - 1.6 Duratec or 1.0 EcoBoost?

We are thinking of replacing our 2013 Ford Fiesta, which uses the 1.25 Ford Duratec engine. We are looking at the C-MAX, but can't decide between the 1.6 Duratec or 1.0 EcoBoost. Having talked to a few friends in the trade they all say avoid the EcoBoost. Are they really as bad as people say?
I'd agree with your friends in the trade. We've had many issues reported with the 1.0-litre EcoBoost:
Answered by Andrew Brady
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