2004 Ford Focus C-MAX TDCI 1.6 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


A good family car that's real fun to drive



General Comments:

Fast, reliable, frugal, superb chassis and just goes very well.

Good driving position, plenty of adjustments and sitting that little bit higher makes parking a doddle.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th October, 2005

2004 Ford Focus C-MAX Ghia 2.0 TDCi turbo diesel (136PS) from UK and Ireland


Fabulous car that does just about anything you ask of it


Firmware update needed on ECU to fix disappointing initial fuel consumption (<30 mpg).

Otherwise fault free.

General Comments:

This is a fabulous car, and as an all rounder, probably the best I've owned, including many more expensive models.

Although clearly designed as safe, comfortable family transport, the car is actually good enough in handling terms to warrant going out for a blast on your own. It turns crisply, can be balanced on the throttle, and the steering oozes feel. It's actually more fun and "sportier" to drive than my old Bora (1.8T) and seems to "shrink" around you when pressing on (obviously minus the kids in the back). This is something that no other MPV that I drove (VW Touran, Fiat Multipla, Vauxhall Zafira) even hinted at, and is great for those of us who cannot afford the luxury of a "weekend toy" fun car to get our thrills.

The engine is superb too, pulling incredibly strongly throughout its rev range and providing class leading performance. I must admit to not being a diesel fan, but having driven the 2.0 petrol initially, I found the diesel version superior in almost every way. That said, initial economy was appalling at 28-30 mpg (salesman hinted at 45 mpg!), but after running in and a firmware upgrade, this has now settled at around 40 mpg. This is, to my mind impressive for such a big barge of a car, which is capable of 0-60 in around 9 seconds. The engine has not missed a beat and only needs the odd oil top up (twice between both services so far).

The rear seating accommodation is very clever with an innovative 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat, and the ability to tip, tumble or remove each rear seat individually. The outer seats can also slide diagonally inwards if the centre one is removed to give more shoulder room for the occupants.

Interior fit and finish and quality of materials is first class. It has withstood a year and a half of abuse typical of young children, and still cleans up as new.

Although it was an expensive option, the 7500 model DVD system has proven to be worth its weight in gold when taking the kids on a long journey. There is a roof mounted console with a DVD player and a flip-down 7" screen. A clever touch is that the two pairs of headphones supplied are wireless (infra-red) which is much easier for kids. There's also a touch screen DVD sat nav system up front (another expensive option) which works superbly.

The supplying dealer has been very professional and servicing/maintenance costs over 27000 miles haven't broken UKP 500 yet, including a pair of front tyres at 18,000 miles. This is a very pleasant surprise after a Volkswagen. I've marked the dealer down slightly however because courtesy cars are unavailable unless you book the service a month in advance, and they have never cleaned the car before returning it to me. In terms of the standard of work, professionalism of the staff and the quick diagnosis and fix of the only fault though (poor fuel economy), I cannot fault them.

To summarise, this is a well made, fun, practical and good looking family hack, which is superb to drive and comes with every bit of kit you can think of. If this were stolen or written off tomorrow, I wouldn't even bother test driving anything else. My only complaints are the price (>£20k with the options I specified although dealers will drop if you work at it), and some aspects of the dealer service.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th June, 2005

8th Aug 2005, 08:44

My 1.9TDCI C max has been very good and reliable with around 42mpg, but squeeks and rattles from the facia on to the screen is a nuisance. Solved by a piece of folded cardboard, but should be better as it is sold as beautifully built! Just had a service at 37500 miles and still on the original tyres all round and no problems.

Electric handbrake is not very good and caused the rear pads and discs to wear out at 34000miles.Ford would not accept liability of it being the handbrake despite front pads being less than half worn and all tyres still having around 5000 miles on them. This shows it has been driven carefully and the only time you can apply the handbrake is when it is stationary.

Other minor problems are loss of time on radio and gear linkage coming apart in reverse.

I think I would have another one as mine was an early example and hopefully the problems have now been sorted.

Trevor Shelley.