New C-MAX looks up to big brother
After months of speculation, we can bring you the first official pictures of Ford's revised C-MAX
By Sam Hardy
Deep front splitter features as part of a sporty bodykit which will go on sale when C-MAX hits showrooms. The reshaped bonnet is also new. Buyers will be able to specify panoramic sunroof for first time
Cabin features square LCD screen on centre console and fresh instrument panel
Headlights taken from the S-MAX
After months of speculation, we can bring you the first official pictures of Ford's revised C-MAX. And when it goes on sale in May, the compact MPV will boast a whole host of updates to attract family buyers.
That's because competition has never been stronger in the people carrier market. New arrivals such as Citroen's C4 Picasso and VW's facelifted Touran are set to fight for sales with existing rivals such as the Vauxhall Zafira and Honda FR-V.
Ford has pulled out all the stops to give the C-MAX a boost as a result. Revealed at the Bologna Motor Show in Italy this week, the Ford debuts an all-new look - one that sees the popular model fall into line with the rest of the firm's MPV range.
The newcomer's front end has styling cues from the S-MAX, with twin trapezoidal grilles incorporating a small upper opening and a larger lower air intake. Vertical spotlights in the corners of the bumper and a reshaped bonnet are neat touches, too. However, the S-MAX-style bold triangular head-lights are the real 'stars', featuring new high-intensity bulbs and parking light strips which glow blue.
At the rear, LED tail-lights are the most significant change, although eagle-eyed readers will spot a fresh bootlid badge. Ford has dropped the word Focus from the C-MAX tag, again in line with the S-MAX.
The Bologna show car also wears a sporty new bodykit, with a deep front splitter, rear diffuser and smart 18-inch alloys like those on the new Mondeo. And there's exciting news for fans of the sporty accessories, because they will be made available as an option when the model hits showrooms - as will a fashionable panoramic glass sunroof, which appears for the first time.
Designers have overhauled the interior too. It retains the current model's five-seater layout with its sliding second row of seats, but the instrument panel, centre console and door bins have all been revamped.
The console gets a square LCD screen backed with glowing red lights virtually identical to that of the new Mondeo. It displays climate control and stereo information. There is also an auxiliary input allowing owners to connect Apple iPods and other MP3 players. Further changes include 'boomerang'-shaped interior door handles, additional stowage space, revamped seat designs and materials, plus a restyled handbrake.
Under the skin, engineers have left the new C-MAX alone. The model has always been regarded as the best handling compact MPV in the class, thanks to underpinnings which are shared with the second-generation Focus hatchback, so suspension settings are identical to the outgoing version.
Likewise, the engine line-up will also be carried over from the current model, with 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrol and turbodiesel units. Gearbox options will include five and six-speed manual transmissions, as well as a Durashift automatic.
However, trim levels will change. As with the styling and revised badging, the C-MAX will mirror the S-MAX line-up with a range of LX, Zetec and Titanium models. Standard equipment will include air-conditioning, electric windows and a CD stereo. Prices will be announced closer to the C-MAX's launch in May, but the range won't cost any more than the current line-up - Ford insists that its pricing will be 'value-led' - so it's likely to start at around the £14,000 mark.
Focus name dropped from badge
LED lights have been added at the rear