Today I’m talking about one of my favorite cars, the Ford C Max I. A car so versatile that it can host a handball match inside, no exaggeration. And it won’t even break your legs economically.

That’s because the Ford C Max I is a Ford Focus II with higher seats and an oven tray for a dashboard. And with that, I can go home in peace and contemplate this affordable car even for the poorest of the balkans.


Launched around the same time as the Mazda 5, with which it is as related to as beer is to a cigarette, the Ford C Max I had a pretty tough job. In a world dominated by Touran, Alhambra, Scenic but also S Max or Galaxy and to a small extent Toyota Verso, the first C Max had to make its place, and it did. Bought mainly by those who wanted a Focus but were gettind old and needed high seating position. You can make fun of them all you want, but arthritis will get all of us lucky ones to get old enough for arthritis.


The question comes though, if when I pull a punch and it hurts, does that mean I’m strong or weak? Wait, not that. Why buy a C Max and not a Focus? Because of the high driving position and the big boot. Sure, and the C Max has the semi-independent, bonus-laden suspension of the Focus, but I highly doubt people bought the C Max because it’s a sports minivan and they want to perform through the Isle of Man. Interestingly, however, many models come with petrol engines, especially Mazda’s 125-horsepower 1.8. So we might find something interesting here. Much more interesting than what I found this morning in the dumpsters when I went to get my weekly supply.


Ford C Max I Engines


  • 1.6 MPI with 101 and 117 horsepower – A genuine Ford recipe that shouldn’t surprise you in any way, pleasantly or unpleasantly. It’s out there.
  • 1.8 MPI of 125 horsepower  – Here you have two engines. First, you have a Mazda-sourced engine which is the sportier choice, and a Volvo-sourced engine which is the more economical choice. That’s because there’s also a FlexFuel version, for those who want to hook up an LPG system because they hate the idea of diesel. As for the Mazda engine, the only issue is the oil consumption which comes later in life.
  • 2.0 MPI of 145 horsepower – Amazingly, this Mazda 2.0 engine doesn’t have such a big issue with oil consumption. And the sportiest sports engine available from the Ford C Max I. That is if you’re interested in sportiness in something like this.


  • 1.6 TDCi of 90 and 109 horsepower – Do I have to talk about this mechanical disaster again? This engine has managed to ruin the reputations of Volvo, MINI, Peugeot, Citroen, Ford, Mazda, and wherever else it has wreaked havoc. Issues with the injectors but also with the turbos, more specifically the oil filter in front of the turbo, that clogs and leaves you without a turbo.
  • 1.8 TDCi of 115 horsepower – If the 1.6 is the French recipe, the 1.8 disaster is Ford’s own recipe. Famous for the noise it made under the bonnet of the Mondeo II, the 1.8 TDCI has injector issues the same way I have issues with HR girls and their luscious asses forcing me to fill out sexual harassment forms.
  • 2.0 TDCi of 136 horsepower  – the only diesel worth your money. Sure, it’s pretty rare, but at least it doesn’t have any specific issues that are that serious and it’s by far the most reliable diesel on the list. Now you just have to find it.


Ford C Max I General Issues

  • Beware of automatic transmissions, which I would avoid altogether. You have two gearboxes and I can’t decide which one sucks more than the other. The CVT box is garbage, and the PowerShift box is even bigger garbage. So do yourself a favor and go manual, because in your old age it’s important to keep moving and not let arthritis mess with your body.
  • The throttle sticks, in sweet Ford style. But at least it can be cleaned/changed in the block yard because I’ve seen a few such operations live. All you need is 6 packs of Birra Moretti, some keys and that’s it.
  • And speaking of barn door mechanics, replacing the headlights would be an operation you’d think you’d take advantage of. And you’d be wrong replacing the headlights is the anatomical equivalent of sticking your finger up your bum.
  • Electronic parking brakes existed as an option, an option you want to avoid. That is unless you want to remain stranded in the parking lot like the epidermis of the male genital organ.


Ford C Max I Verdict

Yes, it doesn’t have the 7-seat option. But it’s a roomy and comfortable car, the opposite of the Ford Focus somehow. And let me tell you a real scenario about what this car can do. I know someone who, at the age of 60, pulled a C Max out of this and started building a small cottage in the country at about the same time. The bulkiest thing he carried was a bathtub, and he didn’t stay cramped at all. So if you’re older and want something practical and comfortable, the Ford C Max I is one of the best cars for you. Especially at the decent reliability and especially at the price it demands.



What engines do you recommend? For petrol, I recommend any petrol in essence, with the top choice being the 125 Mazda 1.8 MPI. And for diesel definitely the 136hp 2.0 TDCI, even though 99% of the ads are coming with the dreaded 1.6 diesel.