The C-Max is sharp and agile to drive, with smooth composed engines that offer refined performance
Perched-up driving position gives a good view forward but wide windscreen pillars demand extra-careful checks at junctions. Lots of useful storage spaces
Plenty here, from seat-belt reminders for all seats to a blind spot information system. Awarded the full five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests
Ford hasn't covered itself in glory in customer satisfaction surveys, so we can't guarantee a trouble-free experience
Ok for seven but seating system could be cleverer. Sliding rear doors are handy in tight spaces
Even the cheapest version has alloys, Bluetooth, air-con and rear parking sensors
There are two 1.6 petrol engines: the cheaper has 123bhp but the 148bhp EcoBoost is stronger and more willing at lower revs. Two diesels are also offered: the 113bhp 1.6 should be gutsy enough for most people, making the 138bhp 2.0-litre almost redundant. Both are smooth and refined, and only sound a bit rough when you rev them hard. The 1.6-litre petrol Ecoboost and the 2.0-litre diesel get six manual gears; the other versions make do with five. The steering is light enough to make low-speed manoeuvres a doddle, but it's also quick and precise at speed. Strong grip and good body control add to the car's agile feel, and the ride is impressively settled on the motorway. The car can thump a bit over potholes, but it quickly recovers its composure. Some wind noise builds up around the door mirrors and front pillars at motorway speeds, but road noise is rarely an issue.
Dense, soft-touch plastics with metal and piano-black detailing give the cabin a classy feel. The driving position is raised and there's lots of seat- and steering wheel adjustment. However, the thick windscreen pillars can obscure your view at junctions. The heater controls are simple to use but some of the other buttons are a bit fiddly. The Grand C-Max is 140mm longer than the standard car, which has allowed Ford to squeeze in an extra pair of seats that fold up from the boot floor. The middle row comprises two full-sized seats that slide back and forth independently, and a small central seat that can be folded away to let passengers get to the seats at the very back. Sliding rear doors give easy access in tight parking spaces. Even the cheaper Zetec cars come with alloy wheels, air-conditioning, Bluetooth and rear parking sensors; upgrading to Titanium brings climate control, automatic headlights and wipers, cruise control and keyless start.
Ford finished 16th out of 27 manufacturers in the 2012 J D Power customer satisfaction survey, and some owners of the previous C-Max complained about reliability problems. Safety provision is more reassuring: the Grand C-Max has a maximum five-star Euro NCAP rating, and every model comes with electronic brakeforce distribution, stability control and front, side and curtain airbags, though the curtain airbags don't extend to third row of seats. Deadlocks, marked parts and an alarm help protect against theft.
The Grand C-Max isn't cheap to buy - particularly when it doesn't have the three full-size rear seats of the Peugeot 5008 or Citroen C4 Grand Picasso - but it should prove affordable to run; the 1.6-litre diesel averages 57.7mpg and even the petrols average over 40mpg. Retained values are rather weak, however.