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C-MaxC-MAX Autumn 2011

All C-MAX testers had two or three children. Reasons for wanting to take part varied but included:

"We have always purchased Vauxhalls, never a Ford. I would be interested to see a Ford car and find out if it's as good as other makes." And: "I have considered buying either a C-Max or a Focus as I like the design and available space in both cars". One tester said in her application to take part: "a test drive from a dealer doesn't always give you a proper idea of the good and bad points about cars but a three week run would definitely give us the chance to see how they really feel."

Summary of comments from the review thread.

"For a bigger car, the power steering is very sensitive, and turns with ease. I love the speed limit control."
"The automatic tail gate function is so handy when you have a pram and shopping, you can just press a button as you get to the car."
"The tipping seats meant I could hoover under them and along the edges of the seats really easily."
"I've not been that enamoured with the parking sensor as it starts beeping when you are still fairly far away from things. It made me think I was much closer to objects than I was, which was pretty off-putting."

Performance and economy
"I love driving the C-Max on duel carriageways as it has so much power. I know I can over take when I need to, or pull out onto slip roads and get going very quickly."
"I am getting between 45-49 miles to the gallon. I have been well impressed with it"
"MPG (miles per gallon) on A roads while away averaged about 43-45, so not bad at all really."

Looks and comfort 
"It's very nice looking, although when it first arrived I was a bit worried about the size/bulk of it."
"Looks very smart and stylish. Bulkier than I'd imagined but appears very spacious inside."
"I have done a long drive of 125 miles to my parents house and I am usually pretty sore by the time I get there but this time I was really comfortable."

Car Seats
"So far I've only put DS in it in his high back booster, so loads of room for him."
"We only have booster [seats] here so there is plenty of space."
"I have three DC in varying car seats and they all fit comfortably in a row."

Boot space
"The boot space is small (but my own car is an Estate)."
"I'm pleased to report that the boot space was fine for our weekend jaunt, which included two holdalls, a small suitcase, buggy, travel cot, booster seat, Bumbo seat, various random carrier bags (all the stuff we forgot to pack in the main bags and remembered as going out the door), shoes, big coats/little coats (who knows with this weather!) and the obligatory big brolly and my walking boots (which appear to travel everywhere with me, but not quite sure why)."

Impression of Ford
"I never really considered Ford to be a brand that I noticed on the road, and when my friend recently bought a Fiesta Titanium I didn't really take much notice. Since the test drive began, I have been super-impressed with Ford cars and have started to look out for them and ask more questions of Ford owners - turns out most people who own a Ford love them!"
"I love the model I have but there is no way I could afford it. Not with two DC's in full time nursery "

Grand C-MAX Autumn 2011

Grand C-MaxAll Grand C-MAX testers had two or three children. Reasons for wanting to take part varied but included: "We have been talking about possibly downsizing from the Galaxy and this would be an ideal test to see if we can manage with less space," and "we want to see how the car works with us - me, short person who struggles to reach the pedals, tall husband, two Houdini-like kids who attempt to escape car - horribly busy family who rush from place to place and live out in the sticks". One tester wanted to try a new car even though "we love our ancient but very well-designed car so much [and] it would be interesting to see if a new car could capture our hearts".

Below is a summary of comments from the review thread.

"The kids think it is cool and I found the sliding doors a real advantage in the carpark"
"When it was parked up next to my Galaxy it looked small in comparison but when I got inside it felt spacious."
"I also like the sliding doors (great in tight car park spaces)."
"There is an airline type tray, which is great and the cup holders are good. I like the built in sun blinds, and also the clip in the front for pay and display."
"Bloody love the camera for parking - think it is fab."

"It's nice [to drive] - easy and light, not as much poke as my car but is a lot bigger. I really like the high up driving position, you get a really good view all round and it's pretty responsive."

Looks and comfort
"Really comfy as a passenger, really nice to drive."
"Really don't like forfeiting bootspace - can't fit the cheapest tiniest stroller in there with the rear seats up."
"I personally think it is a six-seater rather than seven because the middle seat on the second row is only really a half seat and wouldn't be able to accommodate a third car seat or an adult sat between two car seats."

Car Seats
"We have two Cybex high back booster seats and these fit OK, but we did have to remove the headrests of the rear seats to enable them to fit properly."

Boot space
"As long as all three DCs are in the rear seat, it's quite good."
"Big when rear seats are down, non-existent when they are up."
"We went to the beach yesterday and the boot was fine for our picnic bag, clothes bag, jackets and buckets and spades. Still had plenty of room, and the cup holders passed the "shakeaway" test (yum)."

Overall impressions
"We will be very sad to see this car go, none of us want to say goodbye to it and I am not looking forward to getting in my old car again. It will feel dated and heavy."
"It has been lovely to have it for the three weeks and I personally would have one as my first choice but DH still wants something bigger so I am going to have to work on him I think."

Focus Autumn 2011

All Focus testers had one or two children. Reasons for wanting to take part varied but included: "The new technology available with the Focus sounds both quite exciting and potentially reduces the risk of accidents; safety is very important to us" and one who wanted "to see how it compares to my 1999 Focus". One tester wanted to try the Focus as it "sounds like an exciting way to try and new car that I wouldn't normally consider".

Below is a summary of comments from the review thread.

"I also found the little green indicator signalling when to change gear very helpful in this situation."
"Active City Stop – should be in every car on the planet!"
"Auto Parking thingie – great – very easy to use. I can parallel park no problem but this took the stress out of parking near a busy school with tiny spaces and impatient drivers."
"Really liked the speed limiter, useful in average speed check areas."
"Keyless entry and ignition - brilliant. Love being able to walk up to the car with bags and find it ready to open."

"Light steering, nice chunky gearbox changes, very responsive. Pretty nippy for a 1.6 diesel I think."
"Really liked the six gears, seems weird to go back to five."
"A little slow to take off in first or second gear, takes a bit more foot to the floor than I would have thought and I have stalled it twice. However, in third and fourth gears it positively zooms so is great for overtaking at those speeds and the fifth and sixth gears give a really comfortable ride for longer distances."

Looks and comfort
"DS (five-years-old) said it was "cool". This is high praise indeed."
"[DS aged two] is mad for cars as it is, but one that has wing mirrors that open and close is like the best thing ever! He has had a good ol poke around and he likes all the switches and buttons and lights."
"Very impressed with how sleek it looks and love the slight tint to the windows at the back."

Car seats
"Generally all fine and simple to do, plenty of room for everything."
"Car seats – a high-back booster and a toddler full car seat – fitted as well as any other car. Seat belts flowed nice and freely and I DO like the loop in the belt that stops the buckle dropping to the bottom."

"There was loads of space! It seemed very spacious inside considering it didn't look that big on the outside. Boot space was average – not quite enough for a family holiday but okay for family day trips and big shops etc."
"DP loved the boot as it was high up but I thought it was a little heavy."

Overall impressions
"We really enjoyed driving the Focus and loved most of the gadgets."
"Think DH has been quite impressed with it, so if we were buying, we would definately consider one."
"I think this car is a bit more luxurious and FUN that I expected - my image of Ford was reliable but a bit dull and boring, a sales rep car. It's actually more fun to drive than I thought."

Kuga November 2011Kuga

All Kuga testers had one or two children. Reasons for wanting to take part varied but included: "We live on the outskirts of a small town, not too far away from two cities and close to the Mendip hills. We love it, but cars have to be multipurpose to survive." And one who was a bit worried about driving it: "I'm not sure how easy I'd find them to drive and especially to park". One tester wanted to try the Kuga as she: "spends my life in the car (or so it seems) and I'd like to do it in something nicer," and one said: "we want a car that is big enough for a family and pet, looks good and doesn't guzzle fuel."

Below is a summary of comments from the review thread.

"It took me a while to work out how to adjust the driver's seat but once I did, I had a good old play about with electrics. It's very, very easy to adjust which is very important to us, seeing as there's about 8" difference in height between me and DH."
"There is an iPod/MP3 dock in the arm rest, Bluetooth phone thingy, CD, voice activated commands for climate, temperature, music, etc (again which DS has been 'enjoying'.)"
"Even if the rest of the car was a crumbling wreck, the panoramic window roofy bit would still send me all gooey behind the knees ... I even get a bit narked that I'm having to look at the road ahead and can't gaze upwards like the kiddies in the back!"
"We've had some really chilly weather lately and both DH and I are impressed with the heater, it's really efficient and quick at clearing any interior mist and warming up the car."
"So far, I've yet to find a real use of the split tailgate. It seems a little gimmicky to me and I just find myself opening the boot using the bottom handle as per the norm."
"I'd also like a push button feature to open and close the panormaic window blind. Babies with sun in their faces cry! And that's not too clever if the sun comes out suddenly and you're crawling along on the M60 and can't pull over any time soon."
"We took it for a spin up Cheddar Gorge to make the most of the panoramic roof. The kids loved it. Yesterday we drove through a tree covered road with my two DDs and a friend in the back. As I entered the tree-covered bit there was a collective 'ahhh' from the back. We are going to miss this car so much."

Performance and safety
"We live in a rural area, so main driving was on rural roads and single track lanes. It coped pretty well, though it did take me some time to adjust my driving style to suit the conditions."
"It has been far more efficient than I thought and I got good mileage out of the tank."
"I am impressed with its handling around our narrow twisty lanes."
"It's also got lots of oomph and is really light on the steering."
"We did a fair bit of motorway driving on the weekend and both DH and I were pleased with how it handled. Normally I am a motorway-phobe. I was involved in a horrible accident a few years ago and since then I am a very nervey driver and even nervier passenger on motorways. However, in the Kuga I felt very, very safe. I found there to be great visibility at all times and it really is a very smooth ride."
"[On] windy country roads - I can see quite far ahead being high up and feel very safe."
"Driving down country lanes in the pitch black was marvellous due to the excellent lights on the car - the area they cover is vast and with full beam I felt the road ahead of me was almost flood lit. I'm am quite concerned about the dazzling impact of these lights though."

Looks and comfort
"On first seeing the interior I was overwhelmed with an array of buttons and it all looked so smart with the half leather seats and tinted rear windows. The seating position is much higher than my normal car, almost like driving a van."
"One of the mums at school said it makes me look posh."

Car seats
"I have a Britax First Class Plus car seat, as DD is not yet 9kg she is still in the rearward facing position. This caused a few problems in the Kuga as the seatbelts were not long enough to go around the seat, so I had to use the Britax seatbelt extender to ensure a suitable fit. This is not the first time we have come across this problem, most new cars have shorter seatbelts meaning that we invested in a seatbelt extender at the same time as the car seat to allow grandparents to use it."

"I was slightly worried about how high DD's car seat is on the back seat as I am a little short, but my worry was put to rest as it was quite easy to fish her out."
"The depth and height of boot space in the Kuga is good, but the width was narrow and have had to put the buggy in diagonally, meaning some of the usual boxes I carry around have had to go in the rear footwells as there wasn't the space to put them flat. The boot does make a great changing surface for DD, plenty of space to spread out and make a change in comfort."

Off road
"We didn't go too far and it certainly wasn't challenging terrain, but it felt very confident, sturdy and capable. It had no problems in mud or fields so a big thumbs up!"
"It is a 4x4 and is pretty good off road. I spoke to a chap in the Ford showroom who had an off road day in it and said it was amazing."
"I drove it on country lanes, motorways, through towns, up steep hills and on the beach and the car was a dream in all weather conditions."

Overall impressions
"DH who it has to be said is a car snob I think is quite reluctantly impressed with it, he even felt it was more impressive than the 2.0 Audi A5 which given that is about £10,000 more than this was pretty interesting."
"I've always thought of a car as a means to get from A-B, as long as it gave heat, had some audio and was relatively economic to run then I was happy. Until the Kuga I'd never thought about the optional extras you could get. Now if I was to buy a new car I think I would add on some extras to make my driving experience more pleasurable."
"If I bought a Kuga I don't know if I'd bother with all the extras, but the panoramic roof would be top of my list."
"It's really opened my eyes to how some of the features that I'd imagined would only be available on the really expensive luxury car brands are actually readily available on a more mainstream brand"
"The keyless ignition was inspired! Being able to unlock the car from the house, then put the key in a pocket, load everyone and everything in and then jump in myself and just push a button to get it going without having to rustle through my pockets to find the key again was brilliant."

Last updated: over 3 years ago