Any views/opinions please? - tawse
Hi all,

I have been thinking about buying a Toyota Verso 1.8 petrol and, with all the rise in fuel and VED, I am begining to look around for an alternative. The other car which I am considering is the Ford C-Max.

I had a quick sit in one in Motorpoint a few weeks ago and, partly because I was not really aware of the car and so my mind was 'set' against one plus I find the way I had to wrap my legs on either side of the large steering wheel column in a strange way, I admittedly did dismiss it. However, I am going to take another look at one later on this week and would welcome views on the vehicle itself, quality, engines, etc.

My last car was a petrol 1.6 and I was hoping to downsize in engine with my next car but my height makes this impossible. I am looking at the likes of the Verso, the C-Max and so on because they allow me to feel comfortable and safe in the driver's seat as opposed to cramped and too near the metal. I am against diesels for health reasons but have to admit the 1.6 and 1.8 Ford diesels do seem very economical and I am told that they are the most refined diesels on the market - hate diesel clatter also - and the VED is low on them compared to both the diesel and petrol Verso VED... I think.

Thanks for any constructive thoughts,


Edited by Dynamic Dave on 28/08/2008 at 11:16

Views on C-Max please - rtj70
Please explain "I find the way I had to wrap my legs on either side of the large steering wheel column in a strange way".

You did adjust the seat position/height and height/reach of the steering wheel. I know it's obvious but maybe you didn't adjust the height of the wheel enough.
Views on C-Max please - tawse
Please explain "I find the way I had to wrap my legs on either side
of the large steering wheel column in a strange way".
You did adjust the seat position/height and height/reach of the steering wheel. I know it's
obvious but maybe you didn't adjust the height of the wheel enough.

It seems to be a problem with several of the new Fords - the Focus and Mondeo are like this, the Mondeo especially so. The arms on the steering wheel seem to have morphed into wide paddles and the column is very wide. You end up sitting with your legs on either side of it as if you are a woman about to have sex in the missionary position or give birth... and as a bloke that is a tad disconcerting.

Yes, adjusted the seat and all that, also had a friend of similar height sit in a Focus also and found the same thing.

The other problem with the modern Fords, but VWs and Toyotas also have this problem on some models, is the ever-widening centre console which, if you have long legs, means there is no-where for your left leg to move and can be very painful. You can often find posts online of people with long legs complaining about this and the left leg ends up banging against the centre console or is pushed up against it all the time - uncomfortable either way.

I am sure all car designers are tiny or they keep employing former F1 drivers to advise them :-)

Views on C-Max please - rtj70
Can you not tilt the wheel up a bit to clear your legs and also drop the seat?
Views on C-Max please - tawse
Can you not tilt the wheel up a bit to clear your legs and also
drop the seat?

Tried that on both the Mondeo and the Focus and it does not work. Have to revisit the C-Max as I only gave it a passing look at the time.

Views on C-Max please - CW
I'm 6'4" and have a 4 year old diesel C-max. I am very pleased with it- it is the only car I now feel comfortable in, with plenty of leg room AND head room. My legs fit beneath the wheel with no problem. It tips up and adjusts in/out. On average motoring (mainly urban) I get 40mpg and it certainly has power when needed. On long trips to Devon I get 53mpg.
Views on C-Max please - Jase
Hello tawse,

We have a 3yr old 2.0TDCi Ghia and are very pleased with it. It is very comfortable indeed and a good long distance cruiser. Quite smooth for a diesel and definitely less rough than rival VAG units, but not as good on MPG. We can get 50mpg on a run but drops to mid 30s in town. 6 speed box and 2.0TDCi engine make for good performance and I would advise seeking a Ghia trim as you get some nice toys. Plenty to choose from now. Only downside is they do tend to creak and rattle a bit and oh, if you don't like electronic parking brakes then avoid the Ghia actually.(contradicting myself!).

Not driven any rivals other than the Picasso 1.6 110HDi and much preferred the Ford.

Good luck - let us know how you get on.
Views on C-Max please - tawse
Thanks CW and Jase{P}

I assume the electronic parking brake is a button rather than a pull/release manual handle? I have never used one so have no idea about the pros or cons.

CW - out of interest what size diesel do you have?

I would be looked at a 1 year old/pre-reg one and was thinking about the 1.8 and 1.6 diesels for their MPG and VED economy. I am not sure whether the 1.6 would have enough power to pull a MPV though.

Glad to hear that tall b uggers can feel comfortable in one.

When I had a look in one in Motoropoint they only had a base model and I was not impressed but imagine I would look for something nearer the top of the spec. I see HJ gives a thumbs up to the 2.0 TDCi such as Jase has. I doubt I would go for that size engine as the VED shoots up then... I think.
Views on C-Max please - Jase
tawse - VED on 2.0TDCI is only £140 (or £135 even).

FYI - 1.6 & 2.0 diesels are the shared Ford/PSA ones and are v. smooth (relatively)

1.8 is older tech and an unrelated engine. Less smooth but less complicated I guess.

I don't think the 1.8TDCi is much more grunty than the 1.6 but both are adequate to haul it about. If absolute MPG not top priority I'd test drive them all and make a choice. 2.0TDCi is only choice if you want some boot.

Agree - avoid Style and LX models - these are poverty spec. Get at least a Zetec and there are loads around so maybe finding a Ghia with leather, privacy glass and front and rear parking sensors like ours should be easy. Front and rear parking sensors are great, don't mock!

The Electronic parking brake [EPB] is indeed a little paddle which you push down to release and pull up to engage the brake. The idea is that it frees up space for cupholders and a bigger tapes/CD box. I like it but my wife is less keen as it means balancing clutch against brake for biting point on hill starts is impossible. The EPB means you've got to do a bit of a timed "guess" to be fair.
Views on C-Max please - tawse
Thanks for the engine info - very useful.

My concerns about the VED are not about what it costs now but what it will cost from Jan 1st 2009 and then from 2010.

This is my reluctance about the 1.8 Toyota Verson - within a year I think it will be costing about £270 a year in VED and could go higher. Can't recall off-hand what the diesel model was but I think it was going up over £200 also whereas... the likes of the 1.6 diesels from Ford and others seem to be coming down in VED or just going up slightly.

Interestingly, I was reading a post on a Toyota forum last night from a chap in Holland. He said that VED in Holland was down to the weight of the car thereby making diesels much more expensive to tax than petrol. I think he said that insurance was much higher on the diesels also.

Ah, here is that post:

'But the choice here in Holland is somewhat easier. Our road tax is done according to weight (the diesel is 150KG heavier = 2 tax classes higher) and for a diesel there is a large surcharge, this is offset by the fact that diesel fuel is cheaper that petrol. But the bottom line here is the road tax for the:

1.8 Petrol is ?552 per year.
2.2 Diesel is ?1320 per year.

Insurance is also higher because it is also based on weight (3rd party part) and catalogue price (comprehensive part). Which means if you do less than 25,000 KM per year the diesel is just to expensive.'

The above is for the Verso in Holland. So much for the environmentally Dutch going down the CO2 route unless, of course, they know something that we don't!?
Views on C-Max please - Jase
Hello Tawse - just checked my records and our C-Max 2.0TDCi is £120 per annum VED for this year and next in fact. Then up to £125 in 2010-11. So pretty cheap really.

Don't know anything about Verso's I am afraid so can't compare relative merits of the two. Suspect Toyota build quality prob better but don't see why it's a "no brainer" as has been suggested by poster madf.

Let us know what you get. Suggest going for prolonged test drive in both perhaps?
Views on C-Max please - tawse
Thanks Jase - the Verso is basically going to end up as twice as much as the C-Max to tax... in fact, slightly more than double.

What is putting me off the C-Max though is, having read scores of owner reviews on various sites in the past few weeks, it seems to be hit and miss whether you get a good one or not. Some people report no problems and others seem to be pulling their hair out over build quality and/or faults.

I know buying any car today is a crap shoot but, well, I am hoping to try and minimise any issues by doing the research beforehand. My first choice initially was going to be a Honda CRV diesel but I ain't prepared to pay the high price of the new model and the previous model is a pain if you are long-legged. So that is out. Likewise, the RAV4 is no good leg-spacewise either so that has led me to the Verso and the CRV.

As a single guy though, with hopes of having sex again sometime before I die, something inside is telling me to avoid a 'baby carrier' :-)

I don't think I have much of a choice though.
Views on C-Max please - Jase
Fair point - I would buy at least an 05 reg when the TDCi gripes and rear washwipe problem (can't recall exactly what that was) seem to be resolved. I'd also acknowledge that the interior quality isn't Fords best effort. Then again there are a lot about to choose from so finding a decent one with a good spec shouldn't be too hard. Also you're going to get 1 or 2 yrs manufacturers warranty perhaps.

If you like Honda's, have you considered the Honda FRV with the 2.2 Diesel? This is the 2rows of 3 seats slightly funky/slightly odd looking MPV they offer?

Another alternative is maybe a Mondeo ST 2.2TDCi estate, which goes like a rocket, has space for all your gubbins and looks fairly menacing and purposeful to boot!

Suggest you need to start driving a few of your choices..
Views on C-Max please - cw
Yes- I too have the 2l turbo.
Views on C-Max please - Ravenger
I have a 2 year old 1.8 TDCi Zetec, bought from new, and on the whole I'm very pleased with the car.

I bought it because my children are growing up and needed the extra leg-room in the back, plus I car share, so I needed a car that had plenty of room for adults. I especially like the diagonally sliding rear seats which allow you to get loads more leg-room in exchange for the middle seat and a bit of boot space.

It's turned out to be a good car for my wife, who has back problems and she finds it very easy to get in and out of. It's very comfortable to drive on long trips, with a nice high seating position, though the A-pillars are very thick and you have to be careful to lean forward at junctions, past the blind-spots caused by them.

I'm not very pleased with its urban economy - I'm lucky to get 30mpg, but I do live in a hilly area. On my mixed 35 mile commute I get 50-60mpg depending on how I drive the car. I have managed to get up to 64.9mpg over 200 miles of motorway driving, by keeping to around 60mph.

I like the way it drives, doesn't feel like an MPV, has great torque and cruises effortlessly. It has started to develop a few creaks and rattles now though. Pity the trim warranty only lasts 1 year.
Views on C-Max please - Avant
A C-Max was on my shortlist this time last year and I seem to remember that Ford had brought back a proper manual handbrake on all models. Sensible if my memory is correct, as the electronic parking brake is a stupid gimmick which answers a problem than no-one had in the first place.

(Ditto separate starter buttons, which previously went out in the 1950s for perfectlty good reasons, and compressors and goo instead of a spare wheel.)

Well done VW - my Golf has none of these.

Otherwise I liked the C-Max but was put off by low residual values. I wouldn't buy a new Ford: that's not a criticism of Ford but there are just too many of them around which drives the price of a used one down.

Edited by Avant on 27/08/2008 at 01:32

Views on C-Max please - Ravenger
Yes, I believe the electronic parking brake has now gone from the C-Max range, and good riddance too. Prone to failure, and caused excessive rear pad wear.
Views on C-Max please - Brian Tryzers
Haven't driven the C-Max but I'm 6'5" and find the current Focus comfortable and easy to drive. The C-Max I tried in the showroom seemed to fit me well enough.

But we dismissed the C-Max quite early in the process and eventually bought a Verso, not because of anything in the front half but because the back end doesn't really live up to the MPV promise. We were looking for something that could take a third boostered child in the second row, and the C-Max's middle seat there is a pretty token effort. Tawse doesn't say how important that is to him, but the Verso's three, independently-staggerable seats work brilliantly - and fold flat too.

But, returning to comfort in the front, our Verso has just returned from a 1500-mile trip to and through western France, and although the seats may not be the best ever (our other car is a Volvo, so I've been spoilt), they're pretty good and I had no trouble getting or staying comfortable. Crucially, there's plenty of room beside the clutch, and a nice wide rest, for my size 47 left foot - I think the high-mounted gear lever helps here; my minor gripe is that, unlike the Volvo, there's no corresponding place for my right foot when cruise-controlling on a French motorway.

Oh and yes, the starter button is silly - and annoying when all you want to do is open the windows without starting the engine - but generally I'd give the Verso a thorough Tall, erm, Bloke's (sorry, Swear Filter) Endorsement.
Views on C-Max please - krs one
Having just gone from a normal Focus 1.6 tdci to the 1.8 version, there is a noticable drop in economy, without much increase in power.

I used to get around 48mpg from the 1.6, the 1.8 is averaging around 42mpg, although this may improve as the mileage rises (its currently done 12,000).
Views on C-Max please - Chris M
I have a 2004 1.8 Petrol Zetec.

I've read that the diesels have more poke, but I'm surprised how uneconomical they are around town - possibly because they take time to warm up. I get 34-35 mpg doing a mixture of motorway and town. My wife can get a few more on a run as she sticks to 70!

At 6' 2" I'm a bit shorter than the OP but also have short legs/long body so the steering column issue hasn't occurred for me. Seating is generally comfortable, but I can honestly say I find it no more comfortable overall than my old Vectra B. Took a while to get used to sitting on rather than in the car - good job there's a wheel to hold onto when cornering fast! Rides OK, but nothing special, fairly quiet, but could do with higher gearing. Interior quality pretty poor - plastics and squeaks. The door trims wouldn't look out of place on a commercial vehicle. Zetec seats stain easily - with water!

Suggest you go for a good long test drive first to see if you like it.
Views on C-Max please - CGNorwich
Had a C-Max - agree no more comfortable than most medium cars but was very easy to get in and out of. Build quality generally poor. Lots of rattles from dash. Plagued with faults - window mechanism failed, boot opening by itself, tailgate leaking, wiper motor failed, reverting to limp home mode for no reason, etc.
TDCI engine superb performance - Not so good the £950 I paid for a new clutch and DMF..

Generally the concept of the vehicle good but badly implemented. The last Ford I will ever buy.
Views on C-Max please - Gromit {P}
If the width of the centre console and steering column is an issue in the C-Max, try a Honda FRV for comparison. This has a clear floor across the front to accomodate three front seats. As did the Fiat Multipla.

I think the new Scenic has a dash-mounted gearchange which should encroach less too.

A Volvo C30 or V40/S40 with the flying buttress console design might also be worth a look?
Views on C-Max please - TheOilBurner
If it's anything like the new S80 with the same style centre console then taller people need not apply. Even an average height bloke like me found the edge of the floating console got in the way, plus it was quite a sharp edge and made the side of my knee ache after a couple of weeks.
Views on C-Max please - Ravenger
I'm 6 feet tall, and have no problems sitting in my C-Max, either in the driver or passenger seat. In fact it's the first car I've owned where I've not had to move the seat all the way back.
Views on C-Max please - Brian Tryzers
Ravenger: let me begin with an apology, since this is not directed at you personally. But it does rile me rather when we get onto the subject of cars that are comfortable for a tall driver and people of merely ordinary size chime in that they fit just fine. 'You' from now on refers to anyone, not Ravenger specifically.

Right, now I'm going to get this off my chest: if you're only 6'0", you are NOT TALL. Not tall at all. According to the chart in my son's baby log book, 50% of adult males are in the height range of 1.73m to 1.83m (5'8" to 6'0"). In other words, at 1.83m, you are shorter than 25% of adult males. You, on the other hand, are bang in the 5'4"-to-6'2" 'Typical' spectrum that car designers bother to consider when making their ergonomic decisions.

These charts, I should add, are based on data compiled up to the 1960s; today's generation is appreciably taller than that, so 1.83m won't even qualify for the 75th centile for much longer.

As a footnote, the smallest Beest, from whose book these figures came, is, at 5 years and 1.27m, somewhere near what ought to be the 101st centile. He's going to be appreciably bigger than me. Perhaps he'll be an ergonomist.

Views on C-Max please - Ravenger
I understand. My colleague who is at least 4 inches taller than me finds his knees are very close to the glove compartment when he sits in the front passenger seat of my car, and that's with the seat all the way back. He's not tried the drivers seat though. He finds the rear seats have more room, especially when the seats are slid back.
Views on C-Max please - Ravenger
Conversely if you search for C-Max on the website you'll see a report from a 6ft 7in bloke who says he can comfortably fit both legs under the steering wheel.
Views on C-Max please - tawse
Thanks all for the advice - I really appreciate it.

Having given it some thought I think I am going to stay with the choice of a 1 or 2 year old Toyota Verso and now only have to decide on petrol or diesel.

My gut says petrol but my wallet says diesel. I was interesting to see a post by HonestJohn, that someone posted a link to on here yesterday, pointed out the costs of repairing diesels out of warranty, Frightening!

Views on C-Max please - Nickdm
I rented a new C-Max for 4 days last month. It was a fairly base model (LX?) with a petrol engine that was barely up to the job and returned barely 35mpg. Definitely underpowered I'd say.

I couldn't judge the front of the car at all when parking, and the vast expanse of black plastic reaching out to the very distant front windscreen seemed both unattractive and a real waste of space to me?
Views on C-Max please - Chris M
"the vast expanse of black plastic reaching out to the very distant front windscreen seemed both unattractive and a real waste of space to me"

What else could you use the space for? In more conventional cars the front end would involve a more vertical windscreen and a longer bonnet. Under some of that plastic is the engine compartment.
Views on C-Max please - Ravenger
What else could you use the space for? In more conventional cars the front end
would involve a more vertical windscreen and a longer bonnet. Under some of that plastic
is the engine compartment.

On the Mk1 C-Max there's a very handy map compartment with a lid on the top of the dash. Unfortunately they removed that for the new version, just leaving a recess.

One thing I do dislike about the C-Max is the lack of cubby holes with lids to hide stuff, at least on the Zetec model I've got. My previous Citroen Car had some very useful lidded cubby holes.
Views on C-Max please - Jase
I rented a new C-Max for 4 days last month. It was a fairly base
model (LX?) with a petrol engine that was barely up to the job and returned
barely 35mpg. Definitely underpowered I'd say.
I couldn't judge the front of the car at all when parking..

Diesel engine and parking sensors rectifies both these problems. We have front and back parking sensors on ours, which I'd definitely recommend.
Views on C-Max please - madf
My experience of Toyota quality, service, maintenance and overall owning experience versus Ford makes it a clear no brainer choice.
The surveys are correct.

Edited by madf on 02/09/2008 at 17:19

Views on C-Max please - tawse
Thanks WillDeBeest - I am single, no kids but I want a vehicle that I can carry my surfing kit in the back and my boards on the roof. In winter, perhaps my bikes in the back.

Have you got a diesel or a petrol? If diesel, do you find it noisy. I have never owned a diesel and am kind of put off by stories of diesel noise.

I too have big feet so the footrest is actually vital.
Any views/opinions please? - Avant
You need to try both petrol and diesel Versos. The petrol is a 1.8 and feels quite a lot slower than the 2.2 diesel which is lively and reasonably refined.
Any views/opinions please? - mlj
Surfing kit, boards and bikes in a C Max? Am I alone in thinking Berlingo? Whatever you do buy, make sure it will do what you want it to: for a single bloke looking to carry such bulky and awkwardly shaped items, I wouldn't be looking at either a Verso or the Ford.
Any views/opinions please? - tawse
The surfboard would go on the roof, the plastic tubs that contain my surfing gear would go in the back.

I have considered the Berlingo but no woman, least of all surfie chicks, would have sex with me ever again if I turned up at the beach in an onion sellers' van!
Any views/opinions please? - Jase
Tawse - you're losing the plot! Owning an MPV is usually the result of sex, not the cause of sex!!

Maybe something like a VW Camper would make you cooler thus promoting chances of sex(and provide a decent space for the act too?)

Any views/opinions please? - tawse
Yes, this is what keeps going through my mind. I do feel that I am losing the plot and my gut keeps telling me not to buy the Verso, or any MPV, because I associate it with a missus and a couple of screaming kids in the back.

But they are safe... supposedly reliable... and they are smart on the inside.

I was looking at Bongo vans and VW camper vans earlier in the Summer but, because of my long legs, I cannnot fit in one. I can't fit in many cars because of my long legs and that Verso has loads of head and leg room and... Oh dear, there I go again...

I am at a loss to be honest. The only other car I like - don't laugh - is the latest CRV but I don't want to pay more than 10K for whatever I get, 12K at a push. Certainly not the silly Honda prices for new or nearly new.

I feel anchorless and this carless thing now is getting me down. Need to feel some wheels under me and get me out and about again...

I did begin to think about buying a small car - Yaris - which has loads of room and then buying a motorhome next Spring... Oh, dilemma, dilemma...


I have tried lying down in a VW camper and I am simply too long. The original plan was to buy a camper so I could head off down West Wales, go surfing and then not have to rush home each night, just park up and use the camper van... but the bongo was tiny, all the Japanese equivalents are the same and most of the VW camper vans likewise...

Did I say I feel anchorless?

Any views/opinions please? - ifithelps
...surfboard on the roof, tubs of gear in the boot....


Isn't all this a bit, er, sensible for your beach bum lifestyle?

Shouldn't it be forget the gear and wedge the surfboard into the passenger seat of a drop-top E-type?

A glass van is never going to be a babe magnet.
Any views/opinions please? - tawse
These are all good points and very much why I am hear asking questions.

I am 42 and have had a really, really lousey last 5 years healthwise. I lost my Mum a couple of years ago after more or less looking after since here for 15 years and now is the time for me to live... but I have forgotten how to. I have become very anxious - suffer from anxiety and panic disorder as the result of stress - and need to break out and break free and live life before I am too old.

I don't get enough sex. I don't think a Verso or a C-Max is going to help. But the Verso is so comfy for my long legs... I'll shut up now.... Right, where is my flat cap.

Seriously folks, car advice is welcome... I am a long-legged 6 foot 2 inch tall sod though :)
Any views/opinions please? - ifithelps
How abut a Jag estate?

Should pass the surfboard/gear test and, not that I'm any expert, but a car like that could have a bit of pull with the lasses as well.

Plenty around in your £10/12k budget- Jag estates, that is, not lasses.
Any views/opinions please? - tawse
I thought they got very expensive to repair and ain't the VED about to soar on them? I don't know why I am even typing this because I know nothing about cars other than they come with 5 wheels and... um, that is it.
Any views/opinions please? - tawse
The first paragraph of HJ's review of the X-type mentions that long-legged drivers have been complaining to him about it being no good for, um, long legged blokes who complain... or something like that :) or should that be :(
Any views/opinions please? - mlj
Tawse, Somewhere buried here is a thread I started 18 months ago. I reckon you just might like the idea of buying the car I went out to buy; a Subaru Legacy Tourer. My local dealer has an 06 model up at 8990. I suspect this is negotiable. I think this would tick all your boxes. Best wishes.

Edited by mlj on 03/09/2008 at 22:01


Value my car