Ford's third-generation Grand C-MAX is one of the few MPVs that you could put a deposit on sight unseen. The Ford Grand C-MAX seven-seat compact MPV has been spruced up with sharper styling, more efficient engines and a whole host of clever technological highlights.
If asked what sort of MPV we'd recommend, we'd normally ask "do you like driving?" and if the answer came back positive, the answer has tended to be a Ford Grand C-MAX lease if you need the extra space. It seems simple but that right there is the big draw card of the Grand C-MAX. It's a car that operates in the distress purchase sector of the market, where it's needed rather than wanted, but still manages to bring an element of surprise and delight. The sheer joy of realising that MPV ownership needn't be boring is something to behold.
This time round with this improved MK1 model, Ford has paid particular attention to improving refinement. Noise, vibration and harshness have been improved through the use of thicker side glass and more absorbent seals around the tailgate and rear view mirror. The engine bay heat shield has been filled with acoustic damping material to reduce powertrain noise and diesel cars are equipped with extra acoustic seals to further reduce noise intrusion. A retuned dual mass flywheel helps to reduce shaking forces when the engine is under load, while revised engine mounts offer improved refinement during Auto-Start-Stop operation. The star of the engine line-up is the 120PS 1.5-litre TDCi diesel engine, seen for the first time in the C-MAX, replacing the old 1.6-litre unit. Power goes up by five per cent while emissions drop by six points. There are also the multi-award winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engines, offered once again in 100 and 125PS outputs. The big banger in the range is a revised 2.0-litre diesel.
If there's one criticism you could make of the Grand C-MAX, it's that Ford hasn't exactly been adventurous with the restyle. In fact, it'll pass unnoticed by many. The front end looks a bit more chiselled, with an inverted trapezoidal grille, and the screen washer jets have been secreted beneath a cowling to give a cleaner look. The tailgate has been given a smoother and more sophisticated one-piece appearance.
The interior has been tidied up quite considerably, Ford moving away from its 'more buttons are better' school of interior design. There are now a good deal fewer controls and switches, while the new black satin trim and chrome detailing contributes to a cleaner look. Functions are simpler to use, such as the air-conditioning controls that now feature buttons that are easier to recognise and distinguish from each other. Practicality improves too, with a redesigned centre storage console. As before, there's a clever 2+3+2 seating layout and luggage space ranges from risible with all seven seats in place to up to 750+ litres in a five-seat layout. Fold all the seats down and there's over 1,700-litres to play with.
If you're in the market for a seven-seat MPV, you can't afford to leave the Ford Grand C-MAX off your shortlist. For many buyers, it'll be on a shortlist of one because they want a vehicle that can do the family duties but still feel reassuringly car-like to drive. That apparently simple requirement is beyond virtually every other rival and is the reason why the Grand C-MAX continues to rack up huge sales.
The updates to the latest car hinge around improving refinement on the road, building in more high-tech features and bringing us ever-more pragmatic engines. The running costs of this seven-seater now mirror what you'd have forked out for a Fiesta only a few years ago. The 1.5-litre diesel is probably going to be the biggest seller in the UK but don't overlook the 1.0-litre powerplant if you're a low-mileage driver. Until Volkswagen really brings its talents to bear on a seven-seat compact MPV, the Ford is still going to be the default pick.Click here to find out more about our Ford Grand C-MAX range