Parkers overall rating: 3.3 out of 5 3.3
  • Simple lineup with two petrol and one diesel
  • Diesel best match for fully-loaded MPV
  • Don’t discount entry-level petrol, though

There’s a decent if narrow engine choice for the Ford C-Max. The range kicks off with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol - Ford’s small engine of choice, and one you’ll find in the Fiesta and Focus as well as its small vans. 

It’s turbocharged and produces 125hp, so it punches well above its weight and is actually quite well-suited to the bulk of the C-Max. There’s no denying that it struggles somewhat when the car is fully loaded with people and luggage, but as long as you take it relatively easy it’s relaxed, hushed and efficient. It’s paired to a six-speed manual gearbox.

2019 Ford C-Max dynamic

If you need more grunt but don’t want a diesel, there’s a 1.5-litre, 150hp, four-cylinder petrol paired to a six-speed automatic. It’s pretty powerful, but it wouldn’t be our pick of the range due to its thirst and high emissions.

Far more useful is the 1.5-litre diesel, which produces 120hp but significantly more low-down shove than either petrol. It can be paired with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gerarbox and returns the best fuel economy, the lowest CO2 emissions and the most relaxed drive. It is more expensive than either petrol, however.

What the range lacks is a good, powerful diesel engine - like the 150hp unit in the Volkswagen Touran or the 160hp Citroen C4 Spacetourer. There's also no hybrid or electric model planned, though in defense of the C-Max it's only the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer that offers this.

Handling

The C-Max handles like a Focus, which is high praise - as that’s one of our favourite family hatchbacks. It drives with more vim and vigour than any rival, cornering supremely tidily.

There’s little body roll and sharp, nicely-weighted steering. Put simply, there’s no other compact MPV that comes close - and even most SUVs struggle to reach this level of involvement.