The United States’ love affair with the sport utility vehicle is not a phenomenon that has been seen to the same extent around the world. Crossovers, SUVs – you name it, we love our big vehicles.
As a rule, small and functional vehicles haven’t sold well here – if they are functional, we like them big. That just so happens to be the opposite of what the Focus C-Max has to offer.
In Europe, the multi-purpose van (MPV) is a big segment. While the U.S has fallen in and out of love with minivans, manufacturers apparently think we are ready to embrace them.
Toyota has rolled out the Prius V and Ford is joining the fray with the decidedly more attractive Focus C-Max. The move is part of a plan to globalize the Focus, with the same model sold in different markets across the globe.
As such, the car looks to be very similar to the Grand C-Max offered in Europe. And that’s a good thing – in essence, it is a small minivan with Focus cues. That makes it far more attractive than any minivan currently on the market. It is set to compete against the Mazda5 and Toyota Prius V.
For C-Max duty the rear end has been lengthened and designed to accommodate two extra passengers, albeit small ones. With a total of 7 passengers, Ford refers to the Focus C-Max as a 5+2. We can see why – the rear area is only really suitable for children or adults for a short period of time. However, the ability to carry more in a pinch is a nice bonus.
Ford intends the C-Max to be targeted at young Generation Y families with small children. The sliding doors offer practicality and there is a nice amount of luggage space with the third-seat down.
Pricing is expected to to top out at around the base price of the C-Max’s more traditionally-sized competitors like the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey. With Ford’s high technology and a more stylish package, it is hoping it can sway a few customers from its bigger rivals. Is Ford looking ahead to a potentially big market with the C-Max? We’ll see when the Focus C-Max goes on sale this year as a 2012 model.