2004 Ford Focus C-MAX Zetec from UK and Ireland - Comments

20th Mar 2006, 07:50

Very picky though. Frankly what do you expect from an MPV it isn't going to handle as well as your Primera and MPV's arn't designed to travel at 100 MPH+. Good review, but I think you were a bit too picky. C-Max is Quicker than a 1.4L Clio. Tried and tested. I'd much rather have a crash in the C-MAX than an older Primera.

20th Mar 2006, 12:46

I fail to see how and why this is a good review.

95% of the poster's complaints should have been obvious on a test drive at the dealer's and he should NOT have bought the car in the first place.

It's obvious he hated most things about the car before any quality issues popped up, so there is really no way he would have ever liked this car even if it was perfect.

As for the rest, Ford has always had horrible reliability issues and buying a first year model of any Ford is a crapshoot.

21st Mar 2006, 04:13

Fabulously written review, even if not finely balanced between objective information and personal views. BUT:

To call the poster 'picky' is an understatement.

There is no such thing as a perfect 'do-everything' car. One should always buy according to one's priorities. If I want good handling I will choose low-roof hatchback instead of a tall-roof one (essentially what a C-max is). If I want more space I will choose a 'compromise' like the Touran or indeed a C-max, bearing in mind that terms like 'instant turn-in', 'roll', 'cross wind stability' will be, ermm, *compromised*.

Interestingly enough, the poster is very satisfied with a Mazda 3, which is based on the same platform as the Focus and the C-max, but with a lower roof (and consequently a lower centre of mass and more favourable aerodynamic characteristics). As for the comments on the fit and finish- this is one of the things being noticed during a thorough test drive (handling, noise & vibrations and general sturdy feel being the others).

P.S Once again I really enjoyed that review though, even if I do not fully agree with the poster's views.

21st Mar 2006, 07:37

Thank you for the valuable comments received thus far to the review I posted concerning my Ford Focus C-Max 1.8 Zetec. I am pleased to see that my words have engendered a debate, because to restate my case, this is not just a bad car in my opinion, it is a dangerous one, and needs to be redesigned. The only way for that to happen, is for the C-Max’s failings to be brought out into the open. The version Ford UK are about to receive is over 6,000 words long, and goes into greater detail still.

Certain shortcomings in the C-Max design were indeed in evidence from the beginning, but not everyone is fortunate enough to see them for themselves. I too initially missed the significance of the poor design of some of the features I describe. When an average motorist sits in a car for the first time, there is far too much information to take in and things get overlooked, which is why it is so important to listen to those who have actually owned a certain vehicle for a reasonable period of time. When I bought my C-Max, owner reviews were pretty thin on the ground because the vehicle was so new.

I freely admit that I knew the vehicle’s acquisition was going to be something of a compromise - I just didn’t know how much of a compromise. There were lots of little things I wasn’t entirely happy about, but that said, the vehicle seemed to be a vast improvement upon other MPV’s I had seen, so I went for the ‘least worst’ option. I accepted from the outset that the C-Max would never live up to the performance of my Nissan Primera 2.0 SRi, but certain things are a constant across the motoring spectrum, and safety is one of them. My condemnation of an awkward-to-use sunglasses holder may seem ‘picky’, but that is merely something which is pointed out to enlighten others. To expose serious design flaws which suddenly put a person’s life in danger cannot be considered in the same light-hearted context, and the C-Max has several of the latter.

My initial test drive was taken over a short distance on a dry road in summer, and I doubt if Jeremy Clarkson himself could make a proper evaluation of a vehicle over such a short distance, yet with what I could see and feel, coupled to what I read in the motoring press, I made the choice to buy. I read chapter and verse of the C-Max’s great road holding abilities. That, I have since found, is just plain balderdash. The front end constantly tries to break away if pushed on bends. I could steer a runaway pig more effectively than I could steer a C-Max!

These days, I try not to get too carried away with what is written in the motoring press by co-called ‘professional’ journalists. The official acceleration figures suggest that the Renault Clio 1.4 is slower 0-60 MPH than the Ford Focus C-Max 1.8 Zetec, so one sunny morning, on a quiet country road, my daughter and I put that to the test. My C-Max could not catch her Clio, and take my word for it, I know how to drive.

Top speed for the C-Max is stated as 119 MPH, which seems to suggest that the cars were indeed intended to be used in that region. Rather them than me. The induced lateral oscillations (side-to-side wobble) at 60 MPH, together with the vehicle’s high centre of gravity told me to leave the magical ton well alone. It has been a long time since I drove a car which was so ungainly at speed - not since the 1970’s - but I thought things had moved on since then, and designs had improved. Had I been permitted to exceed 70 MPH on my initial test drive, that might have swayed me (both metaphorically and physically) not to buy one.

In retrospect, I wish I had written much more about the C-Max instead of trying to condense everything into around 2,500 words. Had I done so, I would have included a couple of paragraphs about the car’s suicidal tendency to swerve towards the ditch under moderate braking. A quick look around at other contributor’s comments tells me that I am not alone. I promise to let everyone know what if anything Ford intends to do to make this poor car into a safe one.

Tad Davison, Cambridge UK.

19th Apr 2006, 16:29

Oh dear oh dear. I can't believe ur even comparing this to a Primera SRi. It is an MPV it is not designed to be lugged about or driven at stupid speeds.

It is a well written review, but ur trying to compare an MPV to Performance Saloon. Say like comparing a Saxo VTR to a Clio 182.

If you are so bothered about the 1.8 C-Max's peformance then why didn't you just go for the 2.0L??.

Also A C-Max is going to be quite heavy it weights 1422 KG. and a 1.4 Clio is 1000 KG. Next you'll be moaning because you can't out handle a VTS Saxo or Clio 182.