I normally spend weeks if not months considering which replacement car to buy, but in this case a quick decision needed to be made as in 36 hours it was to be driven down to the south coast across the ferry and then down to the Alicante area of Spain.
For once I knew what I wanted to buy, a diesel 1.6 ltr C Max with reasonable miles. It turned out to be a 2012 model, before the Aston grill, a basic Zetec model. The car I put in part Ex was a 2009 Volvo S40 saloon, which I believe to be a much better car than it’s demand.
The 2012 Ford Cmax How It Drives
Comparing a saloon to a MPV in how it holds the road is not really a fair comparison. The centre of gravity is not in the same place and the higher roof, inevitably means small roundabouts need to be taken with a little less speed than the saloon, just traded in. But in terms of power, I was surprised on how it pulled away. Forget the official figures, I noticed very little difference between the 2.0ltr diesel Volvo Engine and this 1.6 super economical diesel Ford engine. It wasn’t however, as quiet when it came to road noise as I expected to be. The older Volvo was quieter. On saying this it drove really smoothly and was quiet enough.
Driving though the night in the UK from the North East down to Portsmouth was very easy and comfortable. The high driving position and good mirror position, gives confidence and can see a lot of miles being down on motorways with a family in the back. But when hitting the quieter Spanish roads where the speed limit is 120km I did feel a “hick” in the engine every now and again, as if not quite enough fuel was getting through for the speed. To be fair though, we had just filled up with 95 diesel and could not account for its quality. Going forward, next time we hit the motorways we will try the 97 grade fuel.
The basic model does not have electric seats etc, but were comfortable, although it did take some time to get my driving position right, sitting higher up and a nice little back support handle, that reshaped the seat.
What about the Ford C Max’s Interior.
The whole point of buying a C Max, was for the extra load space and the ability to things down to Spain, that just wouldn’t fit in the old saloon, and on this score it rates well. We have always made a point when making this journey to not look like foreigners driving down from the UK (even though it is UK registered), so we never show any load we are carrying. so it was important that the parcel shelf covered our load and nothing but coats or basic stuff on the seats. There have been reports of hi-jacking (although rare), so always hide what you are carrying. Again, the C Max delivered this requirement and computers and valuables all hidden.
After we had arrived and went to pick a piece of furniture I was a bit disappointed in how the rear of the back seats are made. They are just covered with a loose material that I believe would be easy to rip when pitting say wood or a piece of furniture in the back, especially when folded down flat. Having a hard plastic fill, or tough material would have been better. Something we will be careful about going forward. Also a lack of cup holders and basics in the back. The Titanium model does have a folding down arm rest with a shelf and cup holders, but for me this is a basic requirement in what is a People Carrier. There are indented round holes on the side door storage that can accommodate certain bottle sizes, but nothing for anyone sitting in the centre seat, which is where I wanted my 8 year old to sit.
It is good there is a proper seat belt for the centre seat also, rather than just a lap belt. it is in 2 parts, in that you pull the seat belt from the roof, fasten this part in, then extend another part across your lap, to get a full seat belt function.
More Interesting Features
The basic C Max is not brimming with electronics to change your driving forever, but it does have the basics, that most would want, from electric windows (front only), air conditioning (not climate control), electric heated mirrors. But the lights are basic and the radio nothing special.
It does have blue tooth connectivity however, that allows you to connect to your mobile phone o other devices. To say how the simple process of connecting is explained in the hand book is a bit annoying. It forget to explain how to activate the 4 options along the bottom of the screen. I spent ages, using the arrow butting to scroll across only to find later, purely by accident that the 4 buttons, situated well below the radio, are the ones used to select that menu. Nowhere in my hand book does it tell me that. what seems so obvious now, was annoying for some time. My second annoyance, was if you select automatic download (to connect to your phonebook), my mobile phone would ping for at least 5 minutes every time I switched the engine one. Until I deactivated the automatic download option.
Now that I a connected, I have to say it works very well and feel safe talking and driving. The voice control option, also works well and recognise my voice well too. expect the word Mobile needs to be pronounced “Mobeel” to recognise my phone numbers.
The parking assistant is also very helpful. It does park itself like some newer models, but it beeps when reversing near any object and the beeping noise gets faster the nearer you are, something useful, with the high rear window.
Fitting EuroLites To The Headlights
The car is spending a few months in Spain, so in order to make it legal, I needed to deflect the main light beam, so as to not blind any Spanish drivers. Initially I found it quite difficult to find on whether Eurolites would actually work. The Ford C Max Handbook, just states to get advice from the main dealer. I also had to understand what lights were actually on the car, as the handbook, did not offer a list of what spec I had. In the end I just did what I had done in the past and bought some Eurolites and watched their video first. The video did something Ford couldn’t. It explained how to identify what types of headlights were on the car, normal or focused halogen for example.
In the end it took a few minutes t figure out the beam deflectors, needed to be the circle shape only and fitted at the 7 o clock position on both lights. Very easy, shame ford had to make it more difficult.
All in all very happy with the Ford C Max, and hope we have trouble free driving in Spain and again back in the UK when it will return soon.