Ford Grand C-Max 2021 review

The Grand C-Max is a seven-seat MPV that’s great to drive and is good value for money

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Out of 5


  • Comfortable
  • Good to drive
  • Pleasant styling


  • Interior quality could be better
  • Tight third-row seats
  • Not much trim choice
Model review

Ford has established itself as a leader in the MPV world in recent years, offering more choice than most. Even before its van-based people carriers are considered, the firm offered five different models in this class, ranging from more compact vehicles to the roomiest seven-seaters. 

And slotting right in the middle of the range is the Grand C-Max – one of the more compact seven-seaters that impresses with its driving attributes and more pleasant styling than is customary in this class. 

While the Focus-based C-Max had been around since 2003, it wasn’t until 2011 and the second-generation arrived that the option to have a ‘Grand’ model came along – bringing with it the flexibility of seven seats and sliding rear doors, while the standard C-Max makes do with five seats, helping to preview some of the technology seen on the upcoming Focus. 

Latest model

The only major update for the Grand C-Max came along in 2015, when the model had a more modern revamp to keep it looking fresh next to newer rivals. Boasting a more stylish design, the interior benefitted from a decluttered layout and enhanced comfort and refinement for passengers. 

It also had a bit of a tech makeover, bringing with it features that were rare for a model of this type at the time. Highlights include adaptive cruise control, semi-autonomous parking functionality and a handsfree boot. It also came with a new eight-inch touchscreen system, while a new 1.5-litre diesel was introduced – replacing the previous 1.6-litre option. 

The Grand C-Max would continue in production until 2019, with Ford then culling it off to focus its efforts on more popular SUVs instead. It was axed along with the five-seat C-Max version.  

Value for money

With the Grand C-Max only now available on the used market, it means examples now start from as little as £3,000 for high-mileage Zetec models. You can increase your budget by £500 for the Titanium and £1,500 for the Titanium X, while the cheapest low-mileage examples are available from around £5,000 for something with around 60,000 miles on the clock. 

Good savings are available on the end-of-the-run models, though. At the time of writing, a late two-year-old example with 10,000 miles on the clock could be had for £11,000 – representing superb value for money. 

Looks and image

MPVs might not be bought for their looks, but if you’re looking for something a bit more stylish as a family car, the Grand C-Max is an appealing choice. All versions come with alloy wheels, while the more modern design of the facelifted 2015 version certainly elevated its appeal. Higher-spec Titanium models also come with a cooler chrome grille, which adds to the appeal. 

The Grand C-Max’s interior can’t quite deliver in the same way, though, as it adopts a rather plain layout, though one that’s functional and easy to use – something many owners will likely appreciate over design. Choose a mid-spec Titanium model and you also get an eight-inch touchscreen, it’s not the best system in the world, but gains satellite navigation and smartphone mirroring. 

The best thing about the Grand C-Max, though, is the way it drives. You might not expect a seven-seater to appeal in this area, but those Focus-based underpinnings are excellent, and make this model feel like a hatchback behind the wheel. At the same time, though, it’s also quiet and comfortable and a true all-rounder in this area. 

Space and practicality

As we’ve mentioned earlier, the move to the Grand C-Max gets you a third row of seats, though really these are best reserved for young children as anyone else will struggle to get in the back. 

So really you’re best choosing the Grand C-Max if you want a large boot as with five seats in place, the boot is vast, while space in the second row is generous, too, even for adults. Another big bonus of this Ford is its sliding rear doors, which are ideal in tight car parks and if you have children – preventing the inevitable embarrassment of a kid opening their door onto another car. 


Let’s start with the engines available on the facelifted 2015 Grand C-Max, with a turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engine kicking off the range, and it’s available with outputs of either 99bhp or 123bhp. While this engine works well in the Fiesta and Focus, it struggles for power in a car of this size, especially with the less powerful of the pair. The punchier 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine could be a better option, then, and it also features an automatic gearbox, where the 1.0-litre units use a six-speed manual instead.

As for diesel, there’s just a single 1.5-litre option available on the later cars. Producing 118bhp and available with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes, it’s not the quickest around, but is a good fit for this MPV. 

If you’re looking at earlier Grand C-Max models, the engine choice includes a 113bhp 1.6-litre petrol, 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel options. 

Running costs

If you’re looking to keep running costs down on the Grand C-Max, it’s the diesel you should go for, with Ford claiming this will return up to 45.6mpg, with CO2 emission of 131g/km. The 1.0-litre petrol will also manage around 40mpg with similar emissions. 

However, the 1.5-litre petrol is a thirsty choice, with Ford claiming it will return just 32mpg, with CO2 emissions of 179g/km. 

Insurance costs should be affordable as well, while the C-Max’s shared parts with the best-selling Focus means maintenance should be comparatively inexpensive. 

Things to look out for

The Grand C-Max should prove to be a fairly dependable choice, though as with any MPV, you should look out for signs of abuse from hard family life, such as loose interior trim. Also ensure all seats fold and slide as intended, as otherwise it compromises this model’s flexibility. 


While MPVs might have fallen out of favour with buyers next to SUVs, when it comes to spaciousness and versatility they’re quite hard to beat. Similar rivals to the Grand C-Max include the Renault Grand Scenic, Volkswagen Touran, Kia Carens and Citroen Grand C4 Picasso/SpaceTourer

If you need something even roomier, Ford’s large S-Max and Galaxy are both worth considering, though they are more expensive. 


While the Grand C-Max was hit by steep initial depreciation when new, many models have now shed the vast majority of their value, and are now appealing used options for that reason. Tidy, low-mileage examples are also likely to hold their value once they reach rock-bottom prices. 

Trims explained

Three trim levels were available on the Grand C-Max – Zetec, Titanium and Titanium X. Equipment highlights and used prices are as follows.


Standard equipment on the C-Max is generous and includes 16-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, rear parking sensors, a heated windscreen and autonomous emergency braking. You also get cruise control, air conditioning, Bluetooth and voice control.

From £3,000 (used)


Upgrading to the Titanium adds 17-inch alloy wheels, additional chrome styling, keyless entry and start, automatic lights and wipers and LED daytime running lights. It also features an eight-inch touchscreen with DAB radio, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, dual-zone climate control, ambient lighting and electric folding mirrors.

From £3,500 (used)

Titanium X

At the top of the range, the Titanium X gets loads of standard kit, including a panoramic glass roof, revised 17-inch alloy wheels and Bi-Xenon headlights. Inside, part-leather seats, heated front seats and an electric driver’s seat are also included.

From £4,500


  1. Adds two additional seats to the standard C-Max
  2. On sale between 2011 and 2019…
  3. Received noticeable facelift in 2015
  4. Sliding rear doors are very useful
  5. Third row of seats best reserved for small children
  6. Otherwise roomy interior
  7. One of the best MPVs to drive
  8. Plenty of standard kit
  9. Sleek design for a people carrier
  10. An appealing used MPV, but more spacious rivals are available

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