Think I'm about to buy one. - midlifecrisis
In the (still) never ending search for a replacement car for 'er indoors, I've just been to see a Focus C-Max at a local Indy. It's a 1.6LX, FSH, 37000m, 1 owner, 54 reg. It's showing a screen price of £5995, but I said I'd seen it in the local rag for £5200 and he dropped to that immediately.

I've been researching the C-max and this seems to be a decent price. I've no trouble with the 1.6 engine as it will be a second (practical) car for the wife and kids. The only issues I can find on the petrol engine models are regular reports of air-con packing up. The dealer is a well established operation, with decent premises/workshops and certainly doesn't have an 'Arthur Daley' image. When I turned up unannounced this morning, the car was actually in the workshop having the passenger door/wing sanded in preparation for repair of a small scratch/dent. Had a good look and no sign of anything sinister.

I'll be looking to p/x our reliable but dull/small Hyundai Getz. 1.3 Gsi, 54 reg, 32000m. I didn't have the car with me but he said £2500-£3000 p/x. On that basis I'll take £3000 as the starting point. The deal I'd be looking for is the Getz and £2000 cash.

Thoughts on the deal appreciated as would any horrors I should look out for where the C-max is concerned.
Think I'm about to buy one. - Chris M
I have an '04 1.8 petrol Zetec and am quite happy with it.

The air con on mine needed attention when I bought it. Not sure if the problem affects all models, but on mine it was a fractured pipe from (or maybe to) the pump. I have read of one owner that has had three of them go - just down to poor design I think. Mine was replaced for £125 all in by local mobile chap.

If you do go ahead with the purchase, prepare yourself for the creaks and rattles - they all seem to do it. They come and go from day to day.
Think I'm about to buy one. - BobbyG
MLC, not sure if it is relevant or not, but IIRC the Zetec model and above has the heated front screen. I know that is a separate debate altogether re its pros and cons.

I recently helped a friend buy one at auction and she was adamant it had to be the Zetec, think this also brings alloys and a/c , electrics but not sure. Hers is a 1.6 and she is delighted with it. Had no problems whatsoever.
Think I'm about to buy one. - Ravenger
I've got an 06 1.8 TDCi Zetec, and on the whole I'm very happy with it.

It's a lovely car to drive. Lots of room, and an extremely comfortable driving position, with a clear and easy to read dashboard.

The only major problem I've had is the front steering bushes go, which caused the steering to creak. Was fixed under warranty.

The LX doesn't have the flexible rear seating system though, which I find very useful, though others have said they don't really use it.

I've not heard of any major problems with the petrols (especially compared with the diesels). I believe the 1.6 petrol is quite thirsty though.
Think I'm about to buy one. - stevek
I have a 2004 1.8 Zetec. It had a failed air con pipe replaced under warranty. Very pleased with it. 36 mpg average consumption. 45 on a run.
If you need to remove the rear seats anytime they are very heavy and the locating lugs can dig into your legs if not careful.
Never use the flexible seating system.
Think I'm about to buy one. - Chris M
I've never seen more than 36 mpg out of mine, even on a run. How do you manage 45? Are you very light footed?

One of the disappointing things I have with the car is the relatively poor economy - partly due to the low gearing. It's doing a bit under 4,000 rpm at 'keeping up with the flow' motorway speeds. It could do with an extra gear.
Think I'm about to buy one. - audi dave
I have a TDCi Zetec CVT auto. which has a heated screen as an extra - which I find invaluable for winter mornings.

I do use the flex-seating system, which is very handy for trips with one or two adult passengers in the back, since the passengers get tons of legroom at the expense of a bit of boot space. The middle seat folds back and the two outside seats seats slide inward and backwards. This is very quick and easy. Taking the back seats out is a bit of a fag, but once done the load space is enormous.

The C-Max suffered a bit because it was the first use by Ford of CAN bus electrics and there were a number of electrical glitches that took a year or two to iron out.

My 1.6 110 diesel auto has enough power, without being quick and is a great cruiser.

I have a mate at work with a 2005 1.6 petrol Zetec and his wife uses it to ferry the kids about and loves it, although he says it's a bit underpowered for high speed use, especially when loaded up.
Think I'm about to buy one. - midlifecrisis
Not too worried about the economy as it will only be doing about 6000 miles/year. I'm a little concerned about the number of aircon faults reported.

Any thoughts on the price, £5200 seems pretty reasonable to me.
Think I'm about to buy one. - Altea Ego
Any thoughts on the price £5200 seems pretty reasonable to me.

The interesting part will be getting it at a cost to change of 2 grand!

Think I'm about to buy one. - Ravenger
Another thing about the C-Max, is that rear visibility is a bit poor when reversing. The rear window seems quite small. I've got reversing sensors on mine, and they're invaluable.

My wife actually likes driving this car. She's not a very confident driver, but out of all the cars we've had, she likes the C-Max the best. She's got a bad back, so the upright seating position and ease of getting in and out is a big plus.

Think I'm about to buy one. - 1066
i had a 54plate 2.0tdci zetec and was a great car but i couldn't stand the interior bland black any longer so it had to go. my parents have just got a new 2.0 petrol zetec auto and the interior is brighter but has blue cloth trim. an acquired taste
Think I'm about to buy one. - midlifecrisis
After the interior of the Getz, it's a massive improvement.

The cost to change will be the interesting part. I know what I want to pay. If he won't go for it, he's got my phone number so to speak. We can keep the Getz until we find a deal we're totally satisfied with. Plenty more fish in the sea and we've got a completely open mind on what we get.
Think I'm about to buy one. - stevek
Extremley light footed and the car rarely goes above around 3200 rpm. I tend to drive at a constant 60-65 on motorways.
You are quite correct about the gearing. It could do with an overdrive.
Think I'm about to buy one. - CGNorwich
Just got rid of mine - 2004 TDC I 2.00 Zetec which had from new and glad to see the back of it.

Good points

Great to drive handles almost as well as the Focus - my previous car.
Engine superb with bags of power
Very comfortable and easy access - great if you have a back problem
Not many cars will match the acceleration once you get moving
Plenty of room for four - not really a 5 seater

Bad points

Succession of electronic problems including the notorious fault of switching to limp home mode for no apparent reason - highly dangerous if you happen to be joining a main road at the time. Self opening of the rear hatch was a problem which I thought had been resolved but had just started again the week before I sold

The car eats front tyres - had the 17" fitted. Got through 4 sets of Continentals in 46,000 miles. Tyres around £150 each

Poor quality interior lots of squeaks - nothing quite fits

Rear seats ingenious but heavy to adjust - never really used them

Seats lack sideways support

Problems with air conditioning

Recurring problems with electric windows

New clutch and flywheel at 39,000 miles £900 - My first new clutch since my mini back in the 1970s

Set material highly prone to water stains. Seats get wet easily when doors opened when raining due to design of door opening.

Last 4 cars have been Fords. Have just bought Skoda Octavia

Think I'm about to buy one. - charlesb

I think the Continentals may be the problem in the tyre eating stakes. My Touran got through it's original set of Continentals in 15K, far less than I expected. I've since switched to Pirelli's and after 15k, they're still got plenty of tread left.

Think I'm about to buy one. - Avant
Can someone satisfy my curiosity? Apart from the flexible rear seats, which not everyone sems to use, what is it that a C-Max can do that a Focus estate can't?

Ford seem to acknowledge that there may not be much in it, as they are approximately the same price model for model.
Think I'm about to buy one. - Nomag
I think the thing that sets it apart from the Estate is ease of access - my parents got one 2 years ago, both in their 60s, and they love it for this. HJ has praised it for this in the past.
My dad's is a 1.6TDCi, 50k on the clock, one warranty job to get rear hatch external latch working otherwise no problems. Very refined engine, reliably above 50mpg in motorway driving, helped by the very high top gear (although only 5 speed box). Much nicer engine than the VW group 1.9 TDi with similar power output.
My dad never uses the slide inwards seats, but does the fold/remove thing regularly and when removed you do have a much bigger load area than an estate (albeit no longer).
I like it, and he'd definitely have another.
Think I'm about to buy one. - Phil J
I've had mine three years now (1.6 TDCi manual) and it's been a reasonable car, no more no less. I've had a few electrical faults including Engine Management Failure (limp home mode) engage quite a few times. No genuine faults according to Ford, but something trips it! No problems with air-con. It eats brakes as well.

Practical for a family and a reasonable car, but the LX doesn't have much equipment as standard. On the upside, when I'm in an "enthusiastic" mode, it's an involving drive.

Think I'm about to buy one. - Jase
Hello midlifecrisis,

We've got one of these (05 2.0TDCi Ghia) and love it. As others have noted, they are amazingly comfortable and very easy to get in and out of. They also drive well and the extra height is nice and suits us as it makes it easier to get the baby in and out of her seat. We've never used the rear seat slidy thing in ours, but have had them out, which is useful and makes the load bay better than the estate. Not sure they do anything else that the estate can't do though!

As others have noted, they do creak and rattle a bit inside. Ours is the Ghia but even then the quality is nothing special.

I would definitely try and seek out at least a Zetec spec. The LX spec is spartan and there are loads of Zetecs out there. Can't remember exactly what you get extra, but it's at least alloys, heated screen and front driving lights. Zetec's do look nicer than LX's to be honest. We have front and rear parking sensors on ours and I'd recommend one with those fitted if you can find one.

We've got the 2.0TDCi in ours, which goes like a rocket if that sort of thing appeals to you. Of the diesels I think the old school 1.8TDCi has been least troublesome, although to be fair I think Ford have sorted most of the problems that affected the early 1.6/2.0 TDCi's. If you're only considering petrol then you won't care about this anyway.

Probs - had a fuel rail leak (guess this would afflict diesels only), rear parking sensor failed and it chewed through a set of rear pads AND DISKS in 22,000miles. Have no idea how much of this wear had been caused by the first owner though. Set of front tyres lasted 22000 miles also, although only £83 each for identical replacements, not £150 for us. Again, suspect a lower power, lighter petrol would not be a savage on items like this.

Very happy overall.

Good luck
Think I'm about to buy one. - Round The Bend
Have n't they all got "front driving lights"? Do you mean fog lights?
Think I'm about to buy one. - midlifecrisis
Well, that was short and sweet.

Arrived at the garage and as we walked up to the car, missus says "that's too big". Now this s despite me showing her a C-Max on numerous occasions and (I thought) getting an acknowledgment. Just shows she never listens to me.

I also looked at the wing and door that was being repaired on my last vist. It looked like it had been sprayed with a dozen tins of Halfords spray paint. I didn't even bother the salesman. We turned and walked off. (But not before showing her a 'normal' Focus and agreeing that would be a suitable replacement)

Value my car