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Ford Grand C-Max: final report
On fleet since: February 2011
Total mileage: 3,800
Official combined mpg/CO2: 57.7mpg - 129g/km
Actual mpg: 42mpg
Costs: £0 so far
Engine: 1.6 Duratorq TDCi 115hp turbodiesel, 6-speed manual
Trim: Titanium, with Titanium X pack
Performance: 0-62 in 12.3 seconds/112mph top speed
Power/torque: 115hp/199 lb ft @ 1,750rpm
Insurance group: 16E
List price: £21,445
Options fitted: metallic paint (£495), Family pack: power tailgate, rear sunblinds, 230V socket (£525), appearance pack: roof rails, privacy glass (£275), Titanium X pack: leather trim, heated front seats, power driver's seat, panorama roof, solar windscreen, xenon headlights (£2,000), mini spare wheel (£75), sat-nav (£750)
Price as tested: £ 25,565
Pros: Quality interior, versatility, sliding doors
Cons: niggling annoyances, cost, performance
So we come to the end of our short three-month test of the new Ford Grand C-Max. We wanted to know what running our first medium MPV was like, and indeed our first Ford to boot. I've always preferred estates to MPVs, so was I convinced by this one?
What was great about it?
Sliding doors - which admittedly are hardly unique to this car - are great when dealing with small children and small, cramped parking spaces. I loved them, and also the fact that the windows slid all the way down to boot. But such doors are notably absent on arch-rival Grand Scenic, so this is a big plus: no more worries about your doors hitting other people's under the inexpert control of six-year-olds.
I liked its versatility, and certainly the ability to carry seven (mostly small!) people was very useful, with the usual caveat that doing so reduced the luggage capacity very significantly. The walk-through ability was very useful on the brief occasions we used it: the way you can make it happen and stow away the central middle seat in a jiffy could come in very handy.
The ability to plug in a 240V device also came in useful with endless proliferation of power hungry music players, laptops, electronic toys and the rest - and surely it is high time they became commonplace, as those stupid fag-lighter powered devices are surely old hat today.
The car is a very good drive: eager steering, limited body roll, and a pliant gearbox allowed for enthusiastic driving when I was on my own with the car. Loaded up with children, I was less bothered.
Some very nice details in the car - the small but powerful halogen courtesy lights will remind many of their bathrooms, while I appreciated the hue of all the dials, lit in 'Ford blue' at night.
I liked the long panoramic roof, which when (electrically) open really created an airy interior. Whether it's worth its part in the £2,000 Titanium X pack I'm not so certain though.
What wasn't so great?
Shortly after our test, I drove the new Ford Focus for the first time, upon which this car is based. However, while that car offers 'big car' tech like adaptive cruise control and a lovely info screen between the dials, this car gets neither, and in the latter case gets a small dotmatrix number instead.
I expect more in a £25,000, top-of-the-range car - especially as adaptive cruise is so handy on the sort of long family journeys this car is destined for.
I was never convinced by the car's 115hp turbodiesel engine. It seemed laggy and lacked oomph and the need to work it definitely ate into its economy: we always struggled to average mpg in the early 40s - disappointing compared to the listed combined number of 58; indeed, we recorded worse than the listed number for the urban cycle as well.
It could be the engine needed further running in to reach optimum economy, but it was still a disappointing result
for a modern diesel.
I was never convinced by its looks: it looks good enough from the front, but its side view is let down by those pedestrian-looking 16-inch alloy wheels. While I appreciate this is a family car, I'm not sure all men will appreciate a car that is so obviously a school-run wagon rather than anything else - an area in which big brother S-Max scores so well of course.
Was it expensive to run?
Nothing went wrong and needed fixing, so great from that point of view. But less good was its fuel consumption, as noted.
Would I recommend it to you?
I really liked the car's family qualities: the ability to carry children and tons of clobber around without fuss, in a well built, intelligently designed family car. It was good to breathe in the new Ford focus on interior quality, and while it is not yet up there with 'premium economy' players like Volkswagen, it is heading in the right direction.
As our first long-term Ford then the car scores well. How about as our first medium MPV? The car certainly grew on my wife, and she appreciated the higher driving position more than I did, but does she prefer this type of car to a more traditional big estate? No is the short answer.
She certainly did appreciate the occasional ability to transport seven people, but as she noted - having once owned one - "if you do, you then have as much luggage capacity as an MX-5." Certainly handy for school runs though.
Big estates don't do seven-seater options much anymore, so this is probably the biggest single attraction of the car, together with those sliding doors.
What am I driving next?
A different sort of test: we're downsizing this time, into a Skoda Yeti Greenline 2. Will it be big enough? Will it be economical enough? Does it deserve all that praise and that long waiting list?
Report 1: Ford Grand C-Max: arrival
Report 2: Ford Grand C-Max: month two
Report 2: Ford Grand C-Max: final report (this report)
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