Episode 102. Ford C-Max. FD04 NLX. (Part 1).

I don't really know what to say about this thing. In a moment of madness I found myself to be the owner of a 2004 Ford Focus C-Max. This one...

Hideous! So why buy it? Well, like I said, it was a moment of madness. I was looking for a new car for Mrs Clint because as you know, I have sold her car, and she isn't too happy about it. Infact, she's so unhappy about it that she's using the Trans-Am as her daily driver! Oh, and she's not happy about the fuel consumption of the thing either! By all accounts it's nowhere near as good on fuel as the CR-V! I would like to say that this came as a complete shock to me... But it didn't! Anyway, this thing was advertised on the book of faces, with no price, just £OFFERS! It was adertised as having 'problems', but it was running, driving, et cetera. Being just 40 odd miles away I figured that it wouldn't hurt to go and take a look, especially as my brother would be passing close by on his way to an evening out with some friends in Brighton. So I figured that he could drop me off on the way. I asked my brother who agreed to drop me off and wait until I either bought it, so I would just drive it back to BelongaClint. Or didn't buy it, and he would just drop me off at the next train station so I could catch a train home.

So after a brief inspection I figured that I would buy it as, although not really what Mrs Clint wants (an early Rav4) it would possibly do for her while I try to convince her that the Daewoo is the way forward for her! I figured I'd tell her it was a temporary measure that was cheaper to run than the Trans-Am, and it would only be until we found something that she wanted to drive to replace it. I'm still pressing for the Daewoo, I mean, we've already got that, and we know it's good! I asked the seller what its 'problems' were, and he said that it's just lots of niggly things that if he had time to sort out he would, but he just wants rid of it as he's got other cars to play with. He went on to say that it was long overdue a service, and it could do with a good clean. So I said to him, what sort of offer he was looking for, and he said he didn't know, but he'd know it when he heard it! He then asked me what sort of offer I had in mind. I said, I dunno, two hundred quid? He held out his hand, we shook, and the deal was done! My Brother then said he didn't know why I'd want this crap, before he headed off to meet his friends who were another fifty miles away. So paperwork done, I jumped in, turned the key, and headed out onto the open road.

I mean, how bad can it be, it's only 14 years old, and has only got 119,421 miles on it. My feeling was that it should do for now. Within about ten miles I was thinking that this was a truly dreadful car, and I'd go as far as to say that it was worse, far, far worse than the CR-V. Sometimes it really is a case of better the devil you know! 

So whats wrong with it? Well, like the CR-V this is clearly a car for people who want to go from point A to point B without having to worry about enjoying the car that they are driving! It is sinfully dull to drive. Honestly the CR-V is like a thrill ride in comparison! But here's what makes it really bad, although it's only got just under 120,000 on it, it feels quite play worn, infact, it feels worn out! I really could understand what the seller meant by lots of little niggles! Then, just as I was thinking what a hateful car I'd bought the engine develpoed a misfire. This quickly got worse, so as I approached the next junction on the motorway I thought I'd pull off, and try to drive home along the B-roads. As I came off the motorway and pulled up to the junction on the slip road it was coughing and spluttering like an old man whos smoked forty a day all his life! Then, just as I tried to pull out onto the roundabout it cut out completely!!

I tried to restart it, but it was having none of it. I wasn't loving the thing in the first place, and this wasn't helping to endear it to me. I got out, and pushed the damn thing onto the verge. I was pretty glad that it wasn't busy, and there were no cars about. I figured that I'd try it again, but after several more attempts it still did nothing! So the next thing I thought I'd do is just sit there a while, let it cool off, not that it was hot, then try it again.

To fill the time I thought I'd check all the fluids, and have a proper look round at what I had bought. All the fluids were ok, and seemed to be the right colours, although the oil was quite thin I thought. Then I had a look around it. The bodywork is a little scruffy, with plenty of car park type markings on it. After a bit of a walk round I tried to start it again. Nope... Nothing! It turned over ok, but it just wouldn't catch! Damn! I've let my RAC membership lapse so there was no point in phoning them! I was gonna need to phone a friend! I phoned one of my friends who is a mechanic, and asked him if he was available to come and tow me home with his pick up! He told me that he had an evening of 'relationship aerobics' with his girlfriend planned. I asked him if it was at all possible for him to put it on hold for an hour or so. His response to this was, "Yeah, that should be fine. She needs to wash the dishes anyway!" His girlfriend was obviously in earshot as I heard her say that he was such a charmer!!

As I sat there wating for my friend to turn up I turned my attention to the interior...

Yep, that is grubby. Now, I don't know about you, but if I'm trying to sell a car I always like it to look its best for the new owner. But this was filthy, the photos do it no justice! Worse than how grubby and stained the seats are, the steering wheel and gear knob are sticky! Not just a little bit either, they're really sticky! I can only imagine that whoever used to drive this car did so while they were eating sugary foods. It's nasty!

In the back it's no better, if anything it's worse. There are some dubious stains on the back seat, and I can only imagine from the smell of the interior that it has been used to transport wet dogs, and probably wet children fairly frequently! Much like the steering wheel and gear knob, the trays on the back of the front seats are very sticky, as are the door handles, and tops of the door cards!

My initial thoughts when I bought it were that I was going to give it a damn good cleaning, then sort out the various niggles as we went along. However, now, sitting there by the side of the road, my rose tinted glasses removed, thrown on the ground, and stamped on, I was thinking about setting it on fire there and then, and just letting it burn!! Just as I was wondering if it would be possible to set it on fire with the cigarette lighter in the car my friend showed up!

He got out, and as I walked towards him to say hello he just held up his hand to silence me. He quickly hooked the C-max up to his truck, then he looked at me and and just said, "What the funk did you buy this heap of crap for? Let's go!"

Inside the cab of his truck we chatted as he drove along. Mostly about buying a rubbish car. I told him that it was a sort of knee-jerk reaction, to which he replied that it was just a jerk reaction! He said that he couldn't understand why a guy who buys and drives the sort of cars I do, suddenly then goes out and buys a C-max? I told him that I really had no idea, and could only justify it by saying that I might be having a mid-life crises... Or a mental breakdown! I must admit that I was questioning my sanity ever since I laid eyes on the thing. This isn't my kind of car, it isn't even Mrs Clints kind of car, but as we drove on back to my friends workshop I really did start to wonder just how much I would get for the C-max if I just sold it to a breaker, at just £200 would I get my money back? Surely it would be close. But back at my friends workshop he un-hooked it from his truck, and the damn thing started first time! Typical! He drove it into his workshop and said that he would take a look at it this week for me, and see whats wrong with it. I told him that would be great, but not to spend too much time and money on it, as I've already pretty much had my fill of the thing! We laughed, and then he offered me a lift home, which as he lives four miles from me I accepted, and to thank him for collecting me and missing out on his 'relationship aerobics' with his girlfriend I filled his tank full of diesel on the way back.

Outside BelongaClint he asked me again, why I bought the C-max? Really? I said that I really didn't know, I just sort of fancied a change! Yeah, he said, but a C-max? There must be loads more interesting cars out there. I said that there were, but I was kinda in a hurry, this came up, it was cheap, and near(ish) so I bought it. I went on to say that it was a temporary measure, just for Mrs Clint while we find her another car. As he got into his truck he looked at me and just said, "y'know, I'm selling my truck soon!" Damn!! I really need to convince Mrs Clint that the Daewoo is the way forward... I've never had a Nissan, and I've always fancied a Navara!