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The latest compact MPVs, such as Citroen's dramatic C4 Picasso, prove that people carriers don't have to be dull. That goes some way to explaining Ford's decision to facelift the dull-looking C-MAX in 2007. On sale since 2003, it was certainly due one. The previous 'Focus' part of its name was axed - and with it, the hatchback-inspired shape. The styling was brought in line with the larger S-MAX, a deliberate ploy by Ford to align the two models more closely. There were very few immediate changes at the back; it's up front where the biggest differences appeared. Angular headlights, a large trapezoidal lower grille and a redesigned front bumper with stylish vertical foglights help the model stand out from its predecessor. Ford used to be out on a limb by offering a compact MPV with just five seats, but now rivals such as the Citroen C4 Picasso and SEAT Altea have reinvigorated the sector. Besides, Ford argues, if buyers do need seven seats, the S-MAX is available - that's part of the thinking behind the realignment of the C-MAX.

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