What is it? The Ford Grand C-Max, in frugal 114bhp 1.6 TDCi form. And it’s no mistake that it’s on a website headed ‘The Thrill of Driving’. In high-spec Titanium form tested here, it costs £21,445, but the C-Max range begins at £17,205. Technical highlights We’ve already driven (and raved about) the regular five-seat C-Max. The Grand C-Max is 140mm longer, 58mm taller and packs two extra seats and sliding rear doors. Our test car came with a Sony satnav system and rear-view camera, a £750 option that’s worth having. The camera is clear and confidence-inspiring in a car that’s long, boxy and, with a rear full of distracting children, potentially susceptible to an unfortunate parking prang. What’s it like to drive? This is where the Grand C-Max really interests us, and earns its place on the pages of evo. The 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine isn’t going to win it any traffic-light grands prix – the car’s 77bhp/ton power-to-weight ratio is lower than a 1-litre Toyota Aygo’s – but it feels punchier than 114bhp in a 1.5-ton car ought to, and (when the car’s barren of kids or flat-pack furniture) maintaining momentum is very rewarding. The steering is very good, with much more feel than the majority of electric systems, and the six-speed manual gearbox is sweet. If you love driving, you’ll revel in flicking up and down the ratios to keep the engine in its powerband, while the impressive grip levels and pointy front end will see you carry way more speed through corners than the minibus side profile would have you expect. It echoes the fun drive many recent Fords have offered, bigger people carrier siblings like the S-Max and Galaxy included. This isn’t what MPVs sell on, admittedly, but away from the school run and the Grand C-Max’s usual remit, the Thrill of Driving is present. How does it compare? A comparable Renault Grand Scenic or Peugeot 5008 will be cheaper and more comfortable (the Grand C-Max rides firmly) but if you want a compact, seven-seat family car you can enjoy driving but run cheaply (129g/km, 57.7mpg), this car is surely class champion. Anything else I need to know? The bigger and better-looking Ford S-Max has seven seats and we like that too, and if you can forgo the C-Max’s Titanium trickery you can get one for around £1500 more.
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|Engine||In-line 4cyl, 1560cc, turbodiesel|
|Max power||114bhp @ 3600rpm|
|Max torque||199lb ft|