The public debut of the Ford C-MAX / Grand C-MAX facelift and the new generation of the S-MAX has been made last year during the 2014 Paris Motor Show and I’ve recently had the chance to test them on a 2-day trip to Palma de Mallorca.
The compact minivan is in its second generation and it is offered in two body styles, the C-MAX, with a 5-seat design and regular rear doors and the Grand C-MAX, with two extra seats in the rear, available at demand, and rear sliding doors, providing an easier access to the rear seats. The model is instantly recognizable as it has received the Ford global front grille, which is already found on models such as the Fiesta, the Focus or the Mondeo. Ford says that the exterior design has been slightly tweaked too and the cabin hasn’t been left aside from this equation.
The facelifted version of the C-MAX has a minimalistic design for the dashboard. This has an improved layout which is driver-oriented. Some of the materials used inside it have been upgraded and the overall feel is that this is above the Renault Scenic and on the same level with the more expensive BMW 2-Series Active Tourer and the Mercedes-Benz B-Class. Ford has added the SYNC2 on the updated minivan, the Park Assist, Lane Departure and Lane Keeping Assist, the High Beam Assist, the rearview camera, ultrasonic parking sensors, Active City Stop, Brake Assist and much more, making a huge difference between it and its “predecessor”.
One thing worth mentioning is the MyKey, which is allowing owners of the car to set the speed limiter and the radio volume automatically and this comes in pretty handy when you have your teenager driving it too. If you have a numerous family, you can go ahead and order the Grand C-MAX which is coming with two extra rear seats on demand and with rear sliding doors. These are the main differences between the two body styles. Ford also says that the two extra seats are electrically adjustable / foldable. One nice touch is the improved noise insulation and, this being a family-oriented vehicle, you also get about 20 options of storage inside.
Engines and Transmissions
The base petrol variant is offered with the 1.0-liter EcoBoost, rated at 100 HP and 170 Nm of torque. This unit is also coming in a more potent version of 125 HP and 200 Nm of torque and both of them are connected only to the 6-speed manual transmission. The 1.5-liter EcoBoost is also offered in two versions, with 150 HP & 240 Nm of torque and with 182 HP & 240 Nm of torque. The less powerful one can be had with the 6-speed manual / 6-speed automatic and the other one is only available with a 6-speed automatic gearbox.
The diesel range starts with the 1.5-liter TDCi, offered again in two versions, with 95 HP & 270 Nm of torque, connected to a 6-speed manual, and with 120 HP & 270 Nm of torque, available with the 6-speed manual / PowerShift. The range topping diesel has a 2.0-liter TDCi unit under its hood, rated at either 150 HP & 340 Nm of torque or 170 HP & 400 Nm of torque. The first one can be connected to a 6-speed manual / PowerShift while the latter is only offered with the PowerShift.
After having a go in almost all versions, the best recommendation I can make is that you should go for the 1.5L TDCi if fuel consumption and torque is what you are interested in but the best choice would obviously be the range-topping 2.0L TDCi PowerShift. Don’t expect a sporty ride even if you will choose the 1.5L EcoBoost with 182 HP because this still remains a compact minivan.
Besides working on the exterior and upgrading the cabin, Ford has also updated the suspension system and we have to admit that there is really a big difference between the C-MAX and the Grand C-MAX, so if your driving is sportier, you’re better set with the larger version. Surprisingly, all variants can corner pretty good and, after having a go recently in the BMW 2-Series, I can honestly say that the C-MAX is in a league of its own, up there with the Mercedes-Benz B-Class and above the Renault Scenic.
The Ford S-MAX is in its new generation. It has been previewed by the S-MAX Concept, a couple of years ago, and it is coming with the instantly recognizable Aston Martin-like grille, just like almost every other Ford vehicle out there. The MPV has been put together using the new Mondeo generation and if you are a fan of what is probably the best mid-size sedan out there, you will enjoy driving the S-MAX too.
Ford says that it managed to sell no less than 400,000 units of the old model and 65 percent of buyers have chosen the second one too. Out of these, 70 percent went for the range-topping Titanium which can only mean one thing – the S-MAX is one good ride.
The new generation of the S-MAX has an evolved design. It has received the familiar front fascia, with the more prominent grille, the advanced LED technology, the A-pillar has been moved backwards, the headlights are now slimmer, it has muscular shoulders, a higher beltline, a rocker panel integrated in the door, improved visibility, LED taillights, a spare wheel mounted underneath its rear end which cannot be found on one of its main competitors, the Volkswagen Sharan and the overall looks of a premium ride.
The design of the dashboard has changed. The carmaker has paid a lot of attention to details, quality leather can be found in the range-topping versions on just about any surface, premium materials have been used throughout the cabin, you will get a rear ventilation and AC controls, an easy entry to the third row of seats, the massage function for the front seats, a Digital Cluster which is customizable, an intelligent speed limiter which is working together with the navigation system and the road signs making sure you won’t get a speeding ticket but this can be overridden by pushing the throttle to the floor.
Ford has added the easy folding seats, the Emergency Assist, the electrically adjustable power column, seats and side mirrors, an auto washable front camera which is allowing drivers to look left / right without fully pulling into the road, a seatbelt reminder for all seats which should bring it extra points with Euro NCAP, a selectable driving mode between “comfort”, “normal” and “sport” and a lot of extra goodies which will make your life easier.
Engines and Transmissions
The petrol range is made out of the 1.5 liter EcoBoost, with 160 HP and 240 HP, connected to a 6-speed manual transmission, which is offered on the entry-level variant. Choose the more potent 2.0 liter EcoBoost and you will get 240 HP and 366 Nm of torque, connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Diesel lovers will have to choose between the 2.0L TDCi, offered in three versions, with 150 HP & 350 Nm of torque, 180 HP & 400 Nm of torque and 210 HP & 450 Nm of torque. The base TDCi has a 6-speed manual transmission but it can also be ordered with the PowerShift and it can also be had with the all-wheel drive system. The mid-range 180 HP variant has a 6-speed manual / PowerShift in the 2WD and only the PowerShift in the AWD variant. The range-topping 210 HP diesel is offered with 2WD and a 6-speed PowerShift.
My favorite engine in the range was the 2.0L TDCi diesel, with 210 HP and 450 Nm of torque, connected to the PowerShift. It is simply better than the 2.0L EcoBoost with 240 HP because the extra torque is really noticeable and it’s not like you are going to run out of revs in a family MPV. The fuel consumption between the two cannot be compared either, because in a sportier driving style, the 2.0L EcoBoost indicated about 16L / 100km while the 2.0L TDCi stood at about 10L / 100km. If fuel consumption is your main worry, you should choose the entry-level TDCi with its 150 HP & 350 Nm of torque, but make sure to go for the PowerShift because it will make your life easier.
Ford is offering on two diesel versions an all-wheel drive system, which is basically taken from the Kuga, so if you’re familiar with it, you should have no problem trusting it too. Being based on the Mondeo means that cornering can be done pretty fast and you won’t feel like you’re driving with a brick wall hanged to the front grille. You can also set the suspension and engine between the three driving modes mentioned above and Ford has added the Adaptive Steering System, which is working on small speeds, helping you pull the wheel less than needed.
Ford Accessibility Program
Ford is launching its new Accessibility Program in Romania. It will debut with the facelifted C-MAX and it basically means that you will have a 20 percent down payment and a 50 percent future granted value on a 36-month financing period. After these months have passed, you can turn you car in to any local Ford dealer and it will be offering you a minimum 50 percent of the car’s value. With the Rabla Program Value (2,500 EUR) and the Ford Value (2,000 EUR), you will be buying a new C-MAX 1.0L EcoBoost 100HP from 14,000 euros, with the Trend Pack (250 EUR) or for 130 EUR / month. The Trend is coming with body colored mirrors, power adjustable mirrors, power front windows, leather wrapped steering wheel and gear knob and 16-inch alloy wheels. For 1,500 EUR more, you can add the Titanium, with the Halogen headlamps with LED DRLs, keyless start, high center console, ambient lighting, auto dimming rearview mirror, 16-inch alloy wheels and so on.
The Trend Pack is coming from 2,000 EUR, adding the 6-speaker sound system, 8-inch touch screen SYNC2, floor mats, fog lamps, console lev.2 with armrest and DEATC. The Titanium Pack is adding 3,400 EUR and it is bringing tinted glass, 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails (Grand C-MAX), active ark assist, handsfree tailgate, keyless entry, SYNC2 with 8-inch touch screen and 9 speakers. After the financing period of 36 months has passed, you can leave the car in the showroom, you can keep it or you can offer it as a down payment for another Ford vehicle, less expensive or more expensive and the program will continue for another 36 months. The Ford dealers are obliged to offer at least 50 percent of the car’s value.
The Launch proposition for the new S-MAX generation means 27,000 euros for the Trend 2.0TDCi 150 HP, coming with standard 17-inch wheels, power side mirrors which are heated and foldable, power front windows, keyless start and cornering lamps with fog lamps. For 350 euros you can get the Trend Pack, adding the SYNC2 with 8-inch display, rain sensors, heated windshield, heated front seats and 17-inch alloy wheels.
The S-MAX Titanium 2.0TDCi 150 HP costs 30,000 euros and it is bringing LED DRLs, 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights with Auto High Beam and a grille with chrome surround. The Titanium Pack costs 350 euros and it is bringing the SYNC2 8-inch display, radio SONY, adaptive headlights, power tailgate, privacy glass, heated steering wheel and a parking system. The intelligent all-wheel drive system costs 1,500 euros more.