David Motton

See other tow car reviews written by David Motton

The Ford Grand C-Max is both practical and great to drive, so now it is time to see how it performs in Practical Caravan's comprehensive tow car test

Overview

Ford has a habit of making MPVs which drive better than anyone else’s, and the Grand C-Max lives up to that reputation. Precise steering, nimble handling and strong grip make the Ford more enjoyable from the driver’s seat than most of its peers.

Towing

A keen drive and a practical cabin would count for little in this review if the Ford Grand C-Max didn’t tow well – and aside from a couple of reservations, the Ford is a very competent tug.

Hitched up to a Swift Expression 442 caravan with a MTPLM of 1250kg, the Ford proved relaxed and stable on the motorway and handled our emergency lane-change manoeuvre with ease. So long as the handbrake was pulled on firmly it coped well when subjected to the hill start test, too.

However, we have reservations about the Powershift gearbox. We found it reluctant to change down, sometimes leading to uncertain and jerky progress at roundabouts and junctions. It’s not a problem we’ve experienced with other Fords fitted with similar gearboxes, but in this car it’s a trait which annoyed several test drivers. Even when the gearbox is in the right gear, acceleration when towing is rather steady as the 16.7-second 30-60mph time shows.

Everyday driving

We've said that the Grand C-Max lives up to Ford's reputation for building family movers that even keen, enthusiastic drivers can take pleasure in piloting, and this is the case whether towing or driving solo. It goes, handles and grips well, while ride comfort also impressed. The Poweshift gearbox was our biggest grumble, as mentioned above.

Space

So excellent handling and a supple ride are the Ford Grand C-Max's plus points, and passengers should be just as happy. This is partly because ride comfort hasn’t been sacrificed for agility, but also thanks to the Grand C-Max’s roomy and flexible cabin.

There’s room inside for seven with every seat upright, although that leaves precious little luggage space. However, there is a lot more room for bags with the third row of seats folded into the floor. Stow the middle row as well and there are a whopping 1742 litres to fill.

So there's a lot to be pleased with inside this car. In fact, the fussy dashboard is the main downside of this otherwise cutting-edge cabin.

Running costs

The price of £24,500 isn’t cheap and resale values are fairly low, but impressive fuel economy (48.7mpg on the combined cycle) should help keep running costs down.

Technical specs

Kerbweight1634 kg
85% KW1389 kg
Towball limit75 kg
Maximum towing limit1500 kg
Power138.0 bhp
Torque236.0 lb ft

Verdict

So, what is Practical Caravan's verdict on the Ford Grand C-Max as a tow car? It is sharp to drive and it is also a practical MPV, but we’re not fans of the gearbox.

Conclusion

Pros

  • It grips and handles well
  • Fuel economy is impressive
  • The steering is precise and it has a comfy ride

Cons

  • The gearbox lets this model down
  • It's not that cheap
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