Ford C-MAX (2010-2019) Review

The Ford C-Max is a taller and more practical version of the Ford Focus family hatchback

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Handles well
  • Versatile and robustly built
  • Good petrol and diesel engines
  • A bit noisy at speed
  • Middle rear seat is small
  • No sliding doors, unlike Grand C-Max
Ford C-MAX prices from £7,689.
Finance from £177.95 / month.

The five-seat Ford C-Max is a medium-size people carrier. It's a larger and more practical version of the Ford Focus hatchback, but notably shorter than the seven-seat Ford Grand C-Max.

Unlike the most recent raft of people carriers such as the Citroen C4 SpaceTourer and Renault Scenic, which feature stirking, super-modern looks, the C-Max looks like an ordinary car, just a bit taller. But that extra height is the key bit, freeing up a good amount of passenger and luggage room.

But while the C-Max is undoubtedly very roomy inside, it lacks some of the truly clever and versatile touches found on other Ford people carriers, such as the pillarless layout of the smaller Ford B-Max and handy sliding doors of the larger Ford Grand C-Max.

Inside, raised-up seating positions front and rear, and large windows, ensure all occupants should be comfortable and have great view out, so this is a good car for keeping kids happy on longer journeys. Standard equipment levels are strong and running costs are low thanks to modern petrol and diesel engines.

As the C-Max is based on the Ford Focus, it shares that model’s precise steering and sharp handling, so even for a big family car, it’s good fun to drive. Decent suspension means it doesn’t lean too much when going around corners, despite being quite tall.

Ford has an extensive UK dealer network, so regular servicing and reasonably priced repairs should not be a concern even for used models. This is also a safe car, incorporating clever active systems as well as the usual airbags, traction control and Isofix child-seat fixtures. It achieved the maximum five-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating on its debut in 2010. The system was much less stringent than the current crash test format, however, so a newer car with a five-star rating will be notably safer in reality.

Key facts

Warranty Three years / 60,000 miles
Boot size 432 litres
Width 1,828mm
Length 4,380mm
Height 1,626mm
Tax (min to max) £0 to £145

Best Ford C-MAX for...

Best for Economy – Ford C-Max 1.5 TDCi ECOnetic Zetec

The ECOnetic version of the C-Max offers the lowest running costs in the range. It’ll manage nearly 75mpg according to official testing (50-60mpg is more realistic) and older models (pre-2017) cost nothing to tax.

Best for Families – Ford C-Max 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium

It’s worth stepping up to Titanium spec to get some features that’ll make family motoring easier and more comfortable, such as automatic lights and wipers, plus dual-zone air-con, voice control for the media system, cruise control and extra storage areas. The 1.0-litre petrol engine is a strong performer and is surprisingly efficient.

Best for Performance – Ford C-Max 2.0 TDCi Titanium

The powerful 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engine in this model gets the car from 0-62mph in under 10 seconds and is a good choice if you expect to spend a lot of time on the motorway.

One to Avoid – Ford C-Max 2.0 TDCi Titanium X Powershift

The C-Max also starts to look quite expensive when specified with the most powerful diesel engine range-topping Titanium X trim and the Powershift gearbox.


  • October 2010 Goes on sale in UK
  • May 2013 More efficient EcoBoost petrol engines added to line-up
  • May 2014 Updated with a refreshed interior and exterior styling
  • April 2015 2.0-litre TDCi engine gets stop start as standard, 120hp 1.5-litre TDCi and 1.0-litre EcoBoost with 100hp or 125hp join the range

Understanding Ford C-MAX names

Engine 2.0 TDCi

Each C-Max engine is identified by its size, in litres. Diesel versions are badged TDCi, while the petrol engines are labelled EcoBoost.

Trim level Titanium X

Each trim level offers a different amount of standard equipment. Titanium X makes for the best C-Max money can buy.

Gearbox Powershift

Ford's automatic gearbox is called Powershift.

Ford C-MAX Engines

1.0 EcoBoost, 1.5 EcoBoost, 1.5 TDCi, 2.0 TDCi

Like most Fords, the C-Max has benefitted from the company’s range of ‘EcoBoost’ small turbocharged petrol engines which are popular in the smaller Fiesta and Focus models. These offer more power than you’d expect given their small size, as well as reasonable running costs. That’s why we recommend the 100hp 1.0 EcoBoost for most buyers, but it’s worth trying the more powerful 125hp version if you expect to be driving with a fully loaded car on a regular basis.

If you need more power, but don't do enough miles to justify a diesel engine, a stronger 150hp 1.5 EcoBoost engine was also available. It's hard to recommend, though, as its fuel economy figures aren't as good as the smaller 1.0-litre unit.

The older 1.6-litre petrol engine offers the same 125hp that the new 1.0 EcoBoost engine offers, but feels more breathless and performs worse when it comes to efficiency.

For diesel fans, there’s a wider choice, ranging from the modestly powerful but very efficient 1.5 TDCi with 120hp right up to the 150hp 2.0 TDCi – a very strong performer. The lesser-powered version will probably strikes the right balance between economy and power for most buyers, however. You may find older models with a 115hp 1.6 TDCi diesel engine - this isn't quite as efficient as the newer 1.5-litre unit.

The automatic gearbox wasn't available with every engine, which may affect your decision when it comes to buying used. It's not as efficient as the manual gearbox, either, but it's smooth enough for most daily commutes.



Fuel economy


Acceleration (0-62mph)

1.0 EcoBoost





1.0 EcoBoost





1.5 TDCi





2.0 TDCi





Ford C-MAX Trims

Zetec, Titanium, Titanium X

The entry-level Zetec trim level of the C-Max doesn’t leave buyers feeling short-changed. It comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, front foglights, power-adjustable heated door mirrors, digital radio, Bluetooth air-conditioning, a central front armrest, a heated windscreen, electric front windows, a leather gearknob and steering wheel, and hill-start assist.

We do feel it’s worth making the step up to a C-Max Titanium if you can afford it, however, as this version brings with it some useful additions, such as automatic headlights, cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control, an eight-inch touchscreen interface for the media system and extra overhead storage.

Titanium X feels a bit more superfluous, as well as being quite pricey. But if you feel like splashing out, it boasts eye-catching 17-inch alloy wheels, bright bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, a panoramic glass roof, part-leather sports seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat and heating for both front seats. Find a used example of this version and you will not be disappointed.

Ford C-MAX Reliability and warranty

Fords sell in big numbers and are generally well thought-of by the car-buying public, but C-Max owners who responded to the 2015 edition of Auto Express magazine’s Driver Power customer satisfaction survey weren’t particularly happy with their cars’ reliability and build quality. They ranked it 120th and 151st respectively in those categories out of 200 cars looked at. On the plus side, Ford has an extensive dealer network and its parts and labour rates aren’t extortionate, so if your C-Max does go wrong it won’t break the bank. Warranty cover is only average for the industry, though, at three years and 60,000 miles.

Used Ford C-MAX

The C-Max is unsurprisingly popular on the secondhand market, thanks to its suitability to family motoring, reasonable running costs, generous standard equipment and pretty affordable price.

Try to nab a high-spec Titanium or Titanium X version if you can – the original owner will have paid a premium for their extra kit, but you may be able to get one for not much more than the cost of a Zetec model of similar age, mileage and condition.

If you've been put off by diesel, we recommend a C-Max with the 1.0 EcoBoost engine.