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2011 Ford C-Max at Frankfurt Motor Show

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  • Competes with: Mazda5, Kia Rondo
  • Looks like: Ford is truly going global
  • Drivetrain: Turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder
  • Hits dealerships: Late 2011

On one hand, we want to be excited that Ford is bringing its European offerings to the U.S. On the other hand, how excited can you get about a car no one will be able to buy for more than two years?

The Ford C-Max, the company’s small minivan that’s currently available across the pond, gets a redesign for next year, and Ford has officially announced they’ll finally bring it to the States, sliding rear doors and all. As we reported earlier, the new C-Max will be the first vehicle based on the next-generation Focus platform. That new Ford Focus will debut at the Detroit auto show in January 2010, which sounds like it will go on sale in the U.S. before the C-Max.

We’re not sure what will power that Focus, but an all-new turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder will get the C-Max going. This is part of the company’s EcoBoost engine offerings. While the company hasn’t released specs yet, rumors have the engine’s power around 180 horsepower and returning gas mileage numbers that are similar to the current Focus’ high numbers.

Only a seven-seat version of the C-Max will go on sale in North America. It’s actually larger than the five-seater, which is available only in Europe, and that allows for the seven-seater’s sliding rear doors. The interior looks upscale for the class, a trait of most of Ford’s European products.

The performance, mileage and utility of this little van should be a big hit if consumers continue to downsize. It’s too bad we’ll have to wait so long to get this for a test drive. More photos below.   

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Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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