Ford's Grand C-Max is equally deceptive in both how it drives and how functional it can be.
In the Metal:
Much of the styling differences Ford has applied to the Grand C-Max over the five-seat C-Max are focused around the rear in order to accommodate the provision of two more seats. The front has been given the same visual treatment, which has resulted in a much cleaner design featuring that now trademark style trapezoidal grille along with sleeker headlights.
Unlike its five-seat counterpart, the Grand C-Max does away with a conventional set of rear doors, instead utilising sliding doors to give easier access. Not only does this make life in tight car parks that bit easier, younger children are sure to love the novelty of the sliding doors. Adding to the practical side of things Ford has also made available the option of an electrically-operated hands free tailgate that can be opened by waving one's foot underneath the rear bumper.
Apart from the addition of an extra row of seats in the rear that neatly fold flat when not in use, there is no significant difference to the layout and look of the interior of the Grand C-Max in comparison to the smaller five-seat model. Ford's seat engineers once more deserve a pat on the back for the ease at which the setup in the Grand C-Max can be adjusted. The middle seat in the second row can be quickly folded and stowed inside the outer right-hand side seat to create a walkway through to the third row, for instance. There are also plenty of storage areas including a useable - rather than token - glovebox and two of the deepest cup holders we have seen in the centre console, which, according to one of the engineers we spoke to, were designed to accommodate virtually every type of drinks container. Thankfully, they include a rubber filler to make it easier to use conventional cardboard cups too.
Surprisingly, given the intended use of the Grand C-Max, there isn't an additional small convex rear view mirror to make it easier to keep an eye on all of the rear passengers while on the move - a small and cheap item that Ford could easily have included.
Many potential buyers of the Grand C-Max are going to be more concerned about how easily they can get everyone in and out of the car and its other functionalities rather than how well it can tackle a series of corners. In any case, no party should have cause for concern. From a driving perspective the seven-seat Ford impresses. Of particular note was how well suited the 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engine was to the car. Ford doesn't expect the 150hp unit to be the most popular choice amongst Irish buyers, but if you are looking for something with plenty of pulling power it is well worth considering.
The super smooth roads of our Balearic test routes didn't trouble the suspension that Ford says has been improved in terms of damping. The steering, which has also been enhanced through a new setup, feels plenty sharp for a car of this type and it is certainly a car that can be hustled along at a fair rate when required.
What you get for your Money:
With a €2,600 price walk from the five-seat C-Max to the seven-seat C-Max you will need to be sure that you're likely to be regularly carrying more passengers to get your money's worth. Ford will offer the Grand C-Max in both Zetec and Titanium specifications. The former will feature 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, rear privacy glass, powerfold mirrors, automatic wipers and Ford's MyKey system.
The higher-grade Titanium adds 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, ambient interior lighting, scuff plates and roof rails as well as keyless start and a centre armrest up front.
Ford's Grand C-Max is indeed capable of lugging seven passengers around in relative comfort though it remains more of a 'five plus two' rather than a dedicated full-on seven seater. Its 2.0-litre TDCi engine may not be the most popular choice but it makes it a very capable performer in the driving stakes.