2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:36
Ford refreshed the C-Max. The compact van is available with four petrol and three diesel engines. Sebastian Viehmann has tested what the C-Max can do.
By Sebastian Viehmann
"The new C-Max is a bold step towards more dynamism and emotionality of our brand", says Ford's PR boss Wolfgang Riecke happily. Designer Chris Bird demonstrates this with a few quick lines on the drawing board: The old C-Max looked rather conservative at the world, the new one looks much more agile - thanks to the narrow grille and the headlights that rise like eyebrows. At the rear, striking lights flash with a small LED strip in the middle. But that was it with the big changes. The C-Max is now being marketed as an independent model, but details such as the “Focus” lettering on the floor mats are still reminiscent of the compact relationship. Technically, the new C-Max is identical to its predecessor anyway, and the changes in the interior are purely cosmetic at second glance.
Seniors as a target group
But it doesn't matter, because there wasn't much that could be improved. The space is extremely generous at the front, but still good at the back. The seating position can be optimally adjusted, the gearshift lever on the center console is perfectly within reach. The view to the rear is better than with many other minivans thanks to the large windows. It is particularly easy to get in through the wide-opening doors. This is no coincidence, because when developing the C-Max, Ford focused particularly on seniors. With a special suit, the engineers were able to simulate how comfortable the car is when one's mobility is restricted. More than 40 percent of all C-Max customers are 60 years or older. The second large target group are people aged 35 to 45, mostly with one child.
The passenger cabin can be used variably. The rear seat backrests can be folded down individually or the seat can be folded up as a whole and attached to the headrest of the front seats with a strap. The trunk holds 550 liters up to the roof and 1620 liters up to the front seats. So the C-Max swallows a little less luggage than the VW Touran. New in the family Ford is the panoramic glass roof (880 euros), which, like the Renault Scénic or Skoda Roomster, provides fantastic views. You can also order a normal glass sunroof. The interior design, depending on the equipment with the mixture of wooden strips and aluminum panels, is not exactly the latest craze, but brings a solid dose of comfort into the car.
"The way the C-Max looks, it drives too", claims Ford's Marketing Director Jürgen Stackmann. And that's true - for the most part, anyway. The chassis is comfortable and skilfully swallows any bumps, but also allows fast cornering. The steering is a bit too indirect for sporty driving. The gearshift has a long way, but does not have any problems.
Diesel for the brisk journey
Four petrol engines from 100 to 145 hp and three diesel units (90, 109 and 136 hp) work under the hood. We first tried the 136 hp diesel. He delivers powerful thrust, only makes a little slack in the upper rev range. The driving performance also meets brisk travel requirements (acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h in 9.6 seconds, 200 km / h top). Ford specifies the average consumption at 5.8 liters. On our test drives, it leveled off at around 7 liters, but this remains within the range in the class comparison.
Thirsty ethanol aggregate
We were less convinced of the 1.8 l FlexiFuel, which runs on bio-ethanol. The 125 hp unit is strenuous and loud at high speeds, the pull rather slow. When it came to consumption, we were amazed: According to the on-board computer, 12 to 14 liters flowed through the pipes, which could not be reduced even when driving with a gentle foot pedal. That is almost twice as much as the average consumption of the normal 1.8 liter petrol engine (7.1 liters). With the small fuel tank (53 liters), there are no long ranges. Bio-ethanol has a calorific value that is 30 percent lower than gasoline, so consumption inevitably rises. But if the fuel gauge still shows more than three quarters and only 320 kilometers range is in the display, the bio-alcoholic is not exactly recommended as an alternative to diesel. With prices between 90 cents and one euro, the liter of bio-ethanol is not much cheaper either. Ford promised to look into the matter.
The Cologne-based company want to focus more on bio-ethanol in the future. Since the end of 2005, Ford has sold 30,000 FlexiFuel models across Europe, 1,000 of them in Germany. From 2008 Ford also wants to offer the S-Max, Galaxy and Mondeo models as FlexiFuel versions. "But we won't stop there," says marketing man Jürgen Stackmann. Small cars should also benefit from bio-ethanol at some point. The car manufacturers must, however, hope for the support of business and politics. Because the network of dispensing stations is still extremely thin. “So far there are only 100 filling stations with bio-ethanol in Germany, but the network is growing all the time,” says Stackmann.
Doubtful environmental balance
Bio-ethanol has the advantage over natural gas or liquefied gas that retrofitting costs only 300 euros. After all, neither an additional tank nor special injection technology are required. The engine management must be adjusted so that it recognizes the mixing ratio in the tank. It can then optimally adjust the ignition timing at any time. The ethanol content in the fuel must not exceed 85 percent. Basically any mixing ratio is possible. So you can also drive completely on premium gasoline. The contribution that bio-ethanol makes to environmental protection is controversial, especially when it comes to CO2 emissions. Since the fuel is obtained from plants, the CO2 balance is theoretically neutral: Because the plants absorb a large part of the carbon dioxide as they grow, which is later released when the fuel is burned,the exhaust gases have less of an impact on the climate. However, depending on the type of organic crop production and the energies used for it, experts argue about how the life cycle assessment should actually be assessed.
FlexiFuel from 19,875 euros
The C-Max FlexiFuel costs between 19,875 (Ambiente) and 23,475 euros (Ghia or Titanium) depending on the equipment, each 300 euros more than the normal 1.8 l. The 2.0 liter TDCi diesel is available from 26,425 euros (Ghia or Titanium). The cheapest C-Max with the 1.6-liter petrol engine (100 hp) is available from 18,450 euros. The two versions Ghia and Titanium are the same price and differ mainly in optics. The Ghia has a wood look in the interior, 16-inch rims and cruise control. The sporty titanium rolls on 17-inch models, has blue-tinted heat protection glass and a brushed chrome look in the interior. Both models are equipped with on-board computers, electric windows, air conditioning, leather steering wheel, fog lights and rain sensors. A full safety package with ESP as well as front and side airbags is standard on all C-Maxes. Airbags for head and shoulder are available for both rows of seats.
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