Ford’s C-Max has always looked a little dowdy and functional when compared to its sister S-Max. The latter has shrugged off its size with sharp angles and a car-like drive, and shot off forecourts as a result.
Thankfully Ford has now turned its attention to the baby family carrier, finally giving the C-Max a splash of kinetic design to bring it in line with prettier rivals like Citroen’s C4 Picasso.
So what’s changed with the Ford C-Max facelift?
On the face of it, not much. The C-Max is still a compact, van-like shape but a few subtle alterations have made it just that bit sharper and more interesting to look at.
The biggest exterior changes are found up front. Ford has adorned the C-Max with its new trapezoidal family grille and reshaped the headlights and foglights to give it a bit more S-Max style and presence.
Opt for bi-xenon headlights and the sidelights form a strip which follows the leading edge of the bonnet, looking a little like angry eyebrows when they’re switched on.
Around the back, redesigned rear light clusters feature a strip of LEDs, encased in clear plastic. Overall it looks more aggressive. Perfect for the stressed-out parent late for the school run.
Interior quality has taken a few steps forward but still trails behind the Mondeo, with a few visible moulding lines spoiling the otherwise robust feel. But it’s well laid out and feels tough enough to survive family life.
Click 'Next' below to read the rest of our Ford Focus C-Max first drive
What’s the Ford C-Max like to live with?
The Ford C-Max may have dropped its Focus badge, but it offers the driver almost as much as its sibling. There’s a little more body roll, which is to be expected, but it feels well balanced, only slipping into mild understeer when pushed.
The 2.0-litre 136bhp TDCi unit is most popular choice for Titanium spec models, and is a good match for the compact family carrier, with enough go for easy overtaking and impressive fuel economy to boot. But it suffers from a narrow power band, and rarely feels urgent on the road.
Other occupants are just as well catered for, with ample head and legroom for five adults. All rear seats can be folded or removed independently, and on Titanium models the centre seat folds away allowing the two outers to slide further back, creating a bit more room for broader, taller rear seat passengers.
It’s not short on family-friendly features either, an optional convex interior mirror allows the driver and front seat passenger to keep an eye on the kids, and the redesigned centre console cubby hole easily swallows a 1.5l bottle of Coke.
Ford’s mid-cycle revision of the C-Max has made it an altogether better looking vehicle, which will appeal to those wanting a bit more style for the school run.
Good looks and a Focus-like drive make it a joy to live with, but with no third row of seats, even for short journeys, it’s missing a trick in a segment where flexibility still accounts for a big part of buyers’ decisions.