Ford Focus C-MAX With EcoBoost

Ford Focus C-MAX With EcoBoostFord Focus C-MAX With EcoBoost

Some new Fords immediately grab your attention - if I was getting first dibs on a Focus RS, I'd be abuzz with texts from folks back at the office asking how good it is. But a new C-Max... radio silence... check the screen for a ‘SIM error' message. But stick with me here.

The New C-Max isn't just important to people who buy small MPVs. It's the first of a new generation of Focuses. It shows off the brand-new efficient and powerful petrol engine, new gearbox, new steering, new instruments and cabin finish, new body structure, and all sorts of other bits that'll be rolled out across the rest of the new C-Max, Focus, Kuga and related ranges. Which will be sold all around the world until it amounts to a staggering two million cars a year in 10 body styles by 2012. If this range stiffs, Ford is in a distinctly unhappy place.

The C-Max was always the best-driving of the small MPVs, but Ford had always thrown the match by refusing to build a seven-seat edition to go into bat against the likes of the Zafira, Grand Picasso, Grand Scenic and Touran. This time around, the omission has been rectified, with a two-body range. The Focus C-Max Electric is a five-seater with conventional hinged doors. The Grand C-Max is 13cm longer in the wheelbase, has seven seats in three rows, and sliding rear doors.

Under the stubby hood, we find the headline ‘EcoBoost' engine, Ford's take on the downsizing game. It's a 1.6 with variable valve-timing, direct injection and a turbo for 150bhp. There's a technically similar 2.0 in the Mondeo and S-Max now, but the 1.6 is lighter and more compact and beautifully suited to cars this size. It's got diesely torque, but a far smoother, more refined nature, and pulls with vigour from sub-2,000rpm until it just tails away a bit towards 6,000, so it's a fine motor for overtaking or dispatching twisty roads without too much gearchanging. Or you can shift up very early and get fine economy and relaxed, quiet progress.

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