With all manner of fancy technology fitted to the Grand C-MAX, it’s been a month of learning to trust the technology for Ian Robertson.
Regular readers will remember that in my last report, I bemoaned the fact that the Grand C-MAX had thrown up a warning that a tyre was deflated when on the motorway, yet all of them appeared to be intact. Well for the past month, it has been a case of driving on egg shells, worried that there might be a problem. All was well until just a few days ago, when the same warning message appeared on the instrument cluster. My initial reaction was to disbelieve the read-out, considering the past misdemeanour. However, a quick inspection of all four tyres revealed that one of them was indeed deflated – but despite close inspection, I couldn’t actually see any reason for it. A few moments pumping up the tyre returned it to its correct pressure and all was well again. I reset the pressures using the on board computer instructions, and thankfully the message disappeared. It wasn’t until I was walking back to the car another day, that I noticed the cause of the deflation – a screw in the tread of the tyre. £13 later and a trip to a tyre centre meant that it is now business as usual for the C-MAX – and the anxiety of problematic tyre pressures has now been extinguished.
And the puncture warning system isn’t the only piece of technology on the full-loaded Ford that I’ve been making use of this month, as I’ve been trying out the active park assist – fancy Ford speak for the system that allows the Grand C-MAX to parallel park itself – every chance I get. While early systems on other cars were a little on the crude side, and very often took an age to execute a perfect parking manoeuvre, the technology in my Ford is nothing short of cutting edge, and is simplicity in itself. Once you’ve pressed the button to activate the park assist system, you are coached through every step by the dashboard display. The system is only clever enough to work with parallel parking – like in the high street – and will seek out a space that is big enough to manoeuvre into (very often smaller than you will be able to manage yourself). Once a space has been located, the dashboard display will ask you to stop, select reverse gear, and then using the accelerator and brakes, you follow the instructions on the screen. It’s fascinating watching the car operate the steering itself, and by using ultrasonic sensors located around the car, ensures that each and every time, it completes a perfect manoeuvre – and to a considerably higher standard than most drivers will be able to achieve. When you first try it out, it takes a few moments longer than you would normally achieve yourself, but with greater familiarity, brings big improvements in the efficiency and speed of the parking action. Of course, no machine can replace common sense, and you’ll need to be fully aware of your surroundings, including pedestrians and other vehicles – the car simply takes the steering action away from you – something that many drivers have difficulty with when parallel parking, especially when pressurised by other waiting drivers.
With August traditionally a quiet period in the motoring calendar, it has allowed me time to get the bucket and sponge out, and give the Grand C-MAX a serious clean. Family life takes its toll over time, especially with a sticky fingered five-year old on board, but everything came up spick and span, thanks to the good quality materials that Ford has chosen for the cabin. With leather upholstery throughout, a quick wipe of the seats with a good quality leather cleaner is all that is needed, and a few moments with some polish gives the dashboard a deep lustre. All except the glovebox lid is looking as good as new, with battle scars evident from family life. While all of the other plastics have been remarkably resilient, the moulding for the lid seems to be made from a plastic that isn’t quite as good quality as the rest of the cabin, and as a result, a few scratches are letting the side down. A call to a friend who took delivery of a C-MAX just before we did has noticed the same issue, so it’s quite a relief, as I had started to think about pointing fingers and throwing around wild accusations.
Ford Grand C-Max Titanium 1.6 TDCi
|Price when new:||£21,445|
|Price as tested (including options):||£26,915|
|Optional extras:||18-inch alloy wheels, appearance pack, convenience pack, metallic paint, Sony DVD navigation system with rear view camera, Titanium family pack, Titanium X pack and towing pack.|
|Engine:||1560cc, 4-cylinder, turbodiesel|
|Power output:||113bhp at 3,600rpm|
|Maximum torque:||199lb ft at 1,750rpm to 2,500rpm|
|Maximum towing weight:||1,200kg|
|Fuel consumption:||57.7mpg (official combined)47.9mpg (on test)|
|CO2 emissions (Taxband):||129g/gm (E)|
|Benefit in kind tax liability:||28%|
|Size (Length/width with mirrors):||4,520/2,067mm|
|Boot space (Minimum/maximum):||115/755/1,742litres|
|EuroNCAP safety rating:||5 stars|
|Date arrived:||7th March 2011|
|Mileage to date:||2,657miles|
|Costs to date:||£110 (Rear light cluster) £185 (new tyre) £13 (puncture repair)|
|Faults to date:||None|