Ford had a big presence at the Geneva Motor Show with the new Focus and Focus estate attracting attention. However the C-Max family provided two of the star attractions on Ford's stand at the show. Developed as part of the company's ambitious global C-segment strategy and with a bold and dynamic two-model line-up, the C-MAX pair bring new levels of style and desirability to what Ford calls the compact multi-activity vehicle market.
Ford is now set to offer two similarly styled, yet distinct in functionality, C-segment MAV models. There is a choice of a new five-seat C-Max or a distinctive new seven-seat Grand C-Max, which features twin sliding doors and innovative seat design to provide great space and flexibility.
The new C-Max range introduces a number of advanced new technologies to the compact MAV class. Ford says these focus on enhanced comfort, safety and sustainability, including the availability of new and powerful yet highly fuel-efficient low-CO2 Ford ecoboost petrol engines.
To deliver the extra space it has achieved, the Grand C-Max has a 140mm longer wheelbase, and is also 40mm higher than the C-Max. Within its 4.52m overall length, it packs good room for seven passengers, or for five occupants with a generous amount of luggage.
The five-seat C-Max has similar exterior dimensions to the current model, retaining the traditional C-Max virtues of room and practicality within its attractive new kinetic design silhouette. The new model will reinforce its appeal to customers who value its comfortable accommodation, high seating position, flexibility and compact footprint.
Ford tells us the new C-Max and Grand C-Max have been deliberately designed with individual characters, reflecting the differing priorities of the typical customers for each model. The five-seat C-MAX departs from usual MAV thinking by adopting a sportier feel with a stylish passenger-car look. It features a coupé-like, sweeping roofline which falls off to the rear, but without compromising the comfort and practicality of the vehicle.
Equally dynamic in character, yet signalling its more functional approach, the seven-seat Grand C-Max also uses bold graphics. Yet its overall shape highlights the extra space provided by the car. With its longer wheelbase, the seven-seat model features a higher roofline and thinner pillars which emphasise the generous room and visibility on offer.
Twin sliding doors are seen for the first time on a Ford vehicle in Europe, and are neatly integrated with the rail cleverly concealed by the undercut line on the shoulder of the vehicle. The large tailgate design ensures a low loading height, while the intersection between the tail lamps and rear glass gives a family resemblance to the Ford Galaxy.
Inside the new C-Max the main design themes are an evolution of those developed for the Ford Fiesta, with muscular, expressive shapes and very bold graphics which are inspired by the stunning forms explored in the iosis Max concept car.
While the interior design is stylish, it is also practical, with a large number of carefully designed storage areas throughout the cabin, including generous front door pockets, a large glove box, and additional stowage space and cupholders in the centre console and in the rear passenger compartment.
To maximise the versatility of the seven-seat layout, Ford engineers have developed an ingenious new seat folding concept for the second-row seats. This features a mechanism which allows the centre seat to fold quickly and easily under the right-hand seat, creating a handy 'walk-through' space between the two outboard seats.
Passengers can access the third row, in general, without having to tilt or slide the two outer seats which is particularly helpful when those positions are occupied by child seats or booster cushions. Owners thus have the option of deploying a convenient 2+2+2 seating layout, or switching quickly to a full seven-seater when required.
The second and third-row seats have also been cleverly engineered to fold down to create a flat load floor, irrespective of how many seats remain in use. All of the folding mechanisms are designed so that they require just one hand to operate.
In addition to upgraded versions of Ford’s highly acclaimed Duratorq TDCi diesel engines, the new C-MAX line-up will also feature a choice of petrol engines, including the first application of the all-new 1.6-litre four-cylinder Ford ecoboost engine.
The new C-Max vehicles are the first Ford models globally to be fitted with the new 1.6-litre Ford ecoboost SCTi engine. This four-cylinder ecoboost powertrain represents a new generation of downsized, high-efficiency, low-CO2 petrol engines from Ford.
The 1.6-litre Ford ecoboost engine delivers class-leading fuel consumption for petrol engines of this output. With the 180PS engine, the C-Max achieves combined fuel economy of 42.7mpg and a CO2 output of 154g/km. Compared to the 145bhp 2.0-litre petrol powertrain in the previous model, this equates to a 10 per cent reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, from an engine which provides 24 per cent more power and 30 per cent more torque.
A Ford spokesman told us: “We believe the new C-MAX will surprise many customers who won’t expect a compact MAV to be agile and fun-to-drive.”
Well you know what - after driving the new S-Max and new Galaxy recently - I am expecting the new C-Max to drive superbly when it arrives here later in the year.