Retrofitting Isofix for a Ford Focus C-Max

June 8, 2010 · Posted in Children, Transport 
Focus C-Max

height=”150″ Focus C-Max Mk I pre-facelift

In October 2009 we bought a 56-plate Ford Focus C-Max (Mk I pre-facelift, 1.8 petrol) to replace our 54-plate Ford Focus (also Mk I pre-facelift, 1.8 petrol). Due to an impending new edition to the family, we wanted a car that has Isofix anchor points for the car seat which the old Focus didn’t have.

Odd really as it was the same age as my Mazda RX-8 (6-speed, 231ps), a demonstrably less family-friendly car with its ‘suicide’ (or ‘clamshell’) doors, that does have factory-fitted Isofix points!

Having done some research on the car seat, I settled on the Maxi Cosi Easy Fix Isofix Base. It has won Which? Best Buy awards for years and if you look around Mothercare for a while (how life changes with a child!) you’ll notice that at least every second car seat being pushed/carried is a Maxi-Cosi. Quite a few pushchairs and travel systems are also ‘Maxi-Cosi compatible’, so they’ve pretty much got the market sewn up. This base is not yet on the list of those approved for use with the C-Max and I think this is because of the false floor panels covering the storage areas in the footwells. However, I have found that this base fits just fine (with safety indicators showing green†) if the support leg is fully extended into the base of the storage area (i.e. the deepest part of the footwell – the chassis).

Some further research showed that the C-Max Isofix fitting are (or at least were in 2006) a free option at the time of purchase. Presumably this is because all these cars actually have the anchor points, it just depends whether the first owner has any use for them. If not it looks a bit tidier if they are not showing.

And that is the point of this blog post because, in order to fit the Isofix fittings, you need to cut through the fabric (or leather) covering of your rear seats! So there I was, gazing at my new (or new to me) pride and joy glistening on the driveway, readying myself to take a knife to the upholstery – heady stuff indeed…

I hope that the information here gives others the confidence to carry out this job themselves. It’s a bit fiddly and takes a while (allow about an hour), hence why you’ll be quoted £100-150 for both seats if you go to a dealer or garage. You are paying for their labour, but it’s not a job that required technical expertise. To do it yourself you’ll need one Isofix retrofit kit per seat (i.e. two fixings in each pack). These are available from any Ford dealership, but I have some spare if you want to buy one for £31 + £3.99 p&p (UK delivery only). Just click on the Buy Now button below:

Step by step guide:

Rear nearside seat
Rear nearside seat

First you probably need to remove the rear seat that you want to install the new Isofix fittings to. You could do it in situ, but I found it a lot easier to work on this way.

Rear seat folded

Rear seat folded

To do this you fold down the seatback and then lift the handle which is revealed at the back of the base and fold the whole seat towards the front.

Rear seat release lever

Rear seat release lever

With the seat in this position, you should see two red levers. You need to pull both levers to release the seat (try pulling the seat slightly away from the front seat and then rock side-to-side across the car to ease it out). It can be quite tricky to get the seat to come out and it’s quite heavy, so watch your back as you lift.

Seat removed

Seat removed

You should now have the seat somewhere you can easily work on it.

Seat belt buckle

Seat belt buckle

The seatbelt buckle is secured by an elastic strap to help prevent it being lost down the gap between seats – it helps if you separate the two.

Isofix fitting kit

Isofix fitting kit

If you look in the Isofix fitting kit box, you should find two black plastic fitting guides, two templates for cutting the seat and a label for the seat back.

Fabric cutting template

Fabric cutting template

The template with the two sets of four holes is to help you cut the trim in the correct places. You could use the holes to mark the cover or punch holes in it – it basically gives you the four corners of the hole you need to cut.

Foam cutting template

I wasn’t quite confident enough to cut the fabric away completely so instead I used the foam cutting templates (the one with two rectangular holes – note I’ve slightly folded the flap at the bottom to get the position correct) to cut diagonal lines between the corners and create an X mark in the fabric.

Cutting the fabric

I reasoned that this way I could perhaps join the fabric back together if it all went wrong. On reflection that would look pretty awful, so consider this the point of no return!

Cutting the foam

Having cut through the fabric, you then need to cut away the foam underneath. It helps to have a knife with an extendable blade as the foam is quite thick. As you remove more and more of the foam, you should start to feel the metal Isofix bar underneath. It helps to locate this as it will guide you as you cut away the foam.

Inserting the plastic guide

When you have cut all the way through to reveal the whole metal bar you can try to push the plastic guide into the hole. You want the Isofix symbol on the inside (as pictured).

Plastic guide fitted

It might be quite difficult to push the plastic guide all the way through and you may need to cut more of the foam away to allow room. You’ll see that the plastic is designed to hook over the horizontal metal bar. You should find that it slots into position as shown.

Both guides fitted

When both guides are fitted you should find that it all looks quite neat with no visible signs of the fabric cuts you have made.

Isofix label

The only thing left to do now is to stick the label to the back of the seat in a location that’s easily visible. There’s no functional need to stick this label to the seat and I think it only refers to Isofix bases secured with a top tether, rather than the adjustable support leg that our Maxi-Cosi has (which I believe is safer). However I thought it was good to use the label as it could be useful to a future buyer who may use a different Isofix base.

Isofix base

Isofix base

This is what it looks like when the Maxi-Cosi base is fitted. The yellow arms click into position by pushing them into the guides until they lock over the metal bar you now have access to. For this model, you then push the base as far towards the seatback as you can. You will find that, when the adjustable support leg is fully extended into the base of the storage area, the base is really sturdy and the green indicator lights are showing (indicating it has been fitted correctly†). Of course this does mean that you can no longer use the false floor lid, but I just push this forward slightly so that it still covers most of the gap. You’re not going to have any passengers sitting with their feet on the floor in that seat anyway so it doesn’t really matter.

So there you go – hopefully all you need to know to go and try yourself :-) As I mentioned above, I have some spare kits if you want to buy one for £31 + £3.99 p&p (UK delivery only). Just click on the Buy Now button below:

If you try this, or have anything further to add, I’d be really interested to hear how you got on so please leave a comment below.

Updated on 1 March 2011: Thought I’d just add that we have now moved our little person on to the Maxi-Cosi PrioriFix forward-facing seat for children from 9-18kg (9 months – 3.5 years). It too works fine† in the C-Max – all indicators showing green, again with the leg at its fullest extension.

Updated on 1 January 2013: We have now changed to a 59 plate (2009) C-Max and I can confirm that these instructions are both required and valid† for that age of vehicle. I’d also like to thank all of you for the comments below. It’s a great feeling to know that I’ve helped so many people and thanks to you for your feedback and further tips. When you leave a comment, it would be great if you could say what spec/age vehicle you have and also where you’re from, if not the UK.

†Just a quick disclaimer: fit the Maxi-Cosi Isofix base in a C-Max at your own risk. I consider that it’s safe, but you might feel differently – after all you (as driver) are responsible for your child’s safety in your car.

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145 Responses to “Retrofitting Isofix for a Ford Focus C-Max”

  1. spinage on January 12th, 2014 16:57

    Thanks Jen, glad it all went well. It’s always nice to save money and do it yourself isn’t it? :-)

  2. Dan on January 15th, 2014 11:47

    Does anyone know where to get a template, as I cannot find how to get hold of one?

  3. spinage on January 15th, 2014 12:18

    Hi Dan, I still have kits available if you want to purchase one using the links on this page. A template is included in the kit.

  4. Paolo Vigo on January 25th, 2014 19:41

    It works!! Thanks so much.

    Per gli italiani: sulla mia Ford Focus C-Max del 2006 questo kit (che in concessionario Ford davano come incompatibile) funziona perfettamente!

  5. spinage on January 29th, 2014 10:39

    Thanks Paulo, great to hear this post has helped in Italy too!

  6. Rob on February 26th, 2014 15:02

    Hi, we recently bought a 2005 c max and discovered that the isofix were covered up! This meant that our maxicosi base was only secured by the seatbelt. I followed your advice and purchased the templates ready to make cuts in the leather seats much to my partners horror….. I decided before I sliced the leather to have a look at the seat fixings around the back. I noticed that there is a plastic bar which can be unclipped and pushed to the front exposing the foam, then I pushed the foam through and pulled the flap of leather, plastic bar and foam back under the Isofix bar exposing the catches. Once this wss done I fitted the plastic guides and fitted the new kiddy phoenixfix seat. Very secure and didnt have to cut any leather, the missus was well happy! Just thought I would post this as has saved damaging the leather seats, not sure if it would work with cloth.

  7. spinage on February 26th, 2014 15:15

    Thanks Rob, that’s a great tip! Interesting to see if anyone can confirm if the same applies to cloth seats? I’ll try having a look myself soon.

  8. CJ on March 7th, 2014 22:49

    Thanks for the guide. Bought the kit and just fitted it on my 2008 cmax.
    Installed the Maxi-Cosi FamilyFix base + CabrioFix seat and it works a treat, green lights and everything.

    Can’t shake the thought thought that I should heed the advice on the Maxi-Cosi website (
    “Your car is fitted with one or more storage compartments under the rear seat floor. This product cannot be installed on these seats because the support leg cannot be placed in a safe manner.”

    Well I have removed the storage compartment lid and the support leg fits OK and shows a green light, so who is right?

  9. spinage on March 8th, 2014 06:55

    Thanks CJ, yes that was my thinking too.

  10. Kt on March 16th, 2014 09:50

    Hello, just wondered if this would work for the besafe izi iisofix base are they just a standard fretting. Thank you

  11. spinage on March 18th, 2014 13:02

    I’m not sure, but if you find out please post back to let us know!

  12. Tom on April 6th, 2014 19:38

    Many thanks for a very informative set of instructions. Worked a treat!

  13. spinage on April 6th, 2014 20:18

    Great, thanks Tom, glad to hear it!

  14. Joanne on June 4th, 2014 14:42

    I am just about to purchase these sets to do my 58 Plate C Max – so daunting having to cut my seats up but fingers crossed it’ll work out well like it seems to have done here.
    Anybody have any further “i wish i’d known that before” tips??
    Wish me luck… Please!!

  15. spinage on June 4th, 2014 14:48

    Good luck Joanne. Follow the template and you should be fine. Start off with a smallish hole, you can always get bigger later (can’t do it the other way round!). Let us know how it goes!

  16. Jo on June 9th, 2014 09:03

    Is that price for one set or two?
    I’ve done the same as most people here… Bought a cmax and now realised it doesn’t have the isofix anchors already out. Very daunting the thought of cutting the fabric.. Any tips??

  17. spinage on June 11th, 2014 06:16

    Hi Jo. The price is for one set – good luck with the installation, you should be fine if you follow the instructions and tips here :-)

  18. Joanne on June 14th, 2014 20:58

    Well, they’re all in!
    Last night I did one seat – took 40 mins. Tonight I did the other one in 20 mins. They look so tidy. I’m so pleased. Wouldn’t have felt confident to do it without the help of this page. Thank you so much!!
    Feel very proud of myself now

  19. Joanne on June 14th, 2014 21:00

    Also wanted to add – I found it easier enough just doing it in the car without removing the seats. I’m only slightly built so I didn’t find that a problem.

  20. […] […]

  21. Ruth on July 27th, 2014 10:01

    Fantastic advice, we live in Dublin have a 2005 ford focus cmax zetec and just followed your guide step by step – cost was €18 for kit and €2 for P&P so total €20!!
    The quotei recieved from the ford garage was €160-€180!! Crazy!! With a new baby coming who has this kind of money to throw away?
    Again many thanks for your fantastic and simple instructions – we can’t thank you enough :)
    The Farrells – from Ireland :)

  22. spinage on July 27th, 2014 10:12

    Hi Ruth, I’m pleased to hear from you and I agree, it does seem crazy what the dealerships charge!

  23. Rachael on August 28th, 2014 14:17

    Thanks so much for this guide! Successfully fitted one set today. Waiting for the other set to arrive. I also have the maxi cosi cabriofix and easy base combination. Clicked straight in first time. I have a 2008 titanium with leather. I definitely found the tip to unclip the leather and pull it forward helpful. It meant I could have full access to the foam to make my cuts and then cut the fabric last once it was pulled back into position. Thanks again!

  24. spinage on August 28th, 2014 14:28

    Thanks Rachael, no problem, glad we could help!

  25. Claire on September 1st, 2014 23:20

    Hi there,

    Apologies if this has already been asked and I’ve missed it, but would this fit an Isofix Semi-Universal E5 (03171) base?

    We have a Ford Focus C-max Style, 55 plate.

  26. spinage on September 2nd, 2014 10:26

    Hi Claire. I’m sorry, I don’t know for sure so I wouldn’t like to say one way or the other. Maybe someone else will be able to comment? We’ll also be interested to know if you find out by some other means!

  27. Ciara Donegan on October 17th, 2014 22:38

    Thanks so much for the tip :-)
    Do you or anybody else know if the same can be done to a ford focus 2003 model?
    Thanks in advance!

  28. spinage on October 18th, 2014 07:49

    Hi Ciara. I’ve had Isofix on a 2008 Focus, it also needs a special kit, but at least you don’t need to cut the seats for that! Not sure if it’s the same for a 2003 model, but guess so. Funny you mention it actually as I’m just about to put together a blog post for fitting the Focus kit – watch this space!

  29. Tom Lillywhite on November 8th, 2014 11:52

    Hi There,

    This blog is a complete saviour. I have a 54 plate ford focus cmax. I have just got off the phone with my local ford dealership who were completely unhelpful and just kept telling me it could not be done with the Mk1 cmax.

    I would be very grateful if you could provide the ford part number for the isofix retro kit as they were unwilling to sell me the part unless I could provide the number myself.

    Also has anyone successfully purchased a foam filler for the mk1 cmax? I have heard that the Kuga one is compatible but ford were adamant that this only works on mk2 cmax.This would be my preferred option rather than stretching the leg down to the bottom of the compartment although happy to do that if this is the only option.

  30. Waine on January 14th, 2015 15:26

    So pleased I found this page. Twins on the way. Ford C-Max 08 plate on the drive. After reading this I was comfortable giving it all a go. I ended up going with Maxi Cosi Cabriofix baby car seat (x2) Maxi Cosi Familyfix IsoFix base (x2). (Halfords do a bundle deal and offered further discount for x2). Bugaboo Donkey pushchair with Maxi Cosi twin adapter for the baby car seats to mount it.

    2x part 1332664 Ford ISOFIX mounting kit.

    I also got the foam fillers to go into the underfloor storage as the 08 manual does mention using them with the leg supported ISOFIX bases. Parts 1544072 and 1549338 (listed as Kuga 08-12 parts) fit perfectly and made the whole floor above the storage area very sturdy/firm.

    All fitted and working perfectly. One very happy Dad to be confident that all is safe and sound.


  31. Martin Le Blanc on January 20th, 2015 17:45

    I used the information on this forum to fit the Isofix kit to my wife’s 08 plate C max. Thank you for posting it was so easy took me about 20 minutes…….without your help I doubt if I would have attempted it. The kit cost me £26 from Ford they wanted £138 to supply and fit it……..this have saved me £112 and I enjoyed doing it too.

  32. Claire on January 27th, 2015 09:22

    Hi again,
    I posted upthread re fitting a seat base that we were buying from a friend, we’ve decided to give it a go!
    Does anyone know where I could buy the fitting template on it’s own? We have all the bits that we need, but would prefer not to just ‘wing it’ with a sharp knife!

  33. Natalie on March 2nd, 2015 19:30

    I understand this is an old post but in struggling with car seats for my 09 plate cmax I will be following the guide to use the isofix but I can’t locate my tether in the boot..? Can anyone help there is a small loop like metal bar but it’s bery off centre and doesn’t look like any I’ve seen? Is this it? There’s a cut out in the carpet by this hole? Looking to buy the new britax advansafix needs isofix belt and top tether
    Many thanks!

  34. Kirsty on March 15th, 2015 19:27

    Just wanted to say we’ve just followed your instructions and fitted isofix to our 55 plate Cmax. Excellent instructions, gave me the confidence to go for it. Cost about £50 to get isofix bits for both sides vs £300+ quoted by Ford to do it for us. Took about an hour in total, hardest bits were getting the seats out of the car in the first place (but so much easier to do it the warmth and comfort of home instead) and once all foam cut out the first time getting the fitting to clip over the loop. Once we’d mastered it the other 3 times were easy.

  35. spinage on March 15th, 2015 20:21

    Thanks Kirsty that’s great feedback – glad it went well for you!

  36. Ellie Reece on June 11th, 2015 18:31

    Thank you so much for this blog! Like many others, you have saved me from having a nervous breakdown and also from a very unnecessary, hefty bill! I ordered the parts from Ford and they arrived the same day. 1 retofit kit and 1 foam filler (I have only installed the isofix onto one seat for now) cost me £45.

    I noticed the comment above from Rob about not having to make cuts into his leather seats and wondered if it would be the same with my fabric seats. Much to my delight, I haven’t had to cut into the fabric at all or remove the back seat to do the work! Like Rob describes, there is a plastic bar on the back of the seat which can be unclipped. You can then push all the foam which is covering the anchor points underneath the metal bar. Then bring the plastic bar and flap of fabric also under the metal bar and clip back into place. It is quite a lot of foam and fabric to push under but it does fit with some persuasion! i then simply clipped the 2 isofix guides into the exposed metal anchor points and jobs a good’un! Without this blog I would never have had the confidence to order the parts myself and give it a go so thank you so so much! Ellie

  37. Rachel on August 28th, 2015 11:56

    Hi, how could you tell whether or not your car did have the hidden isofix? We’ve got a 2008 ford cmax titanium but i don’t really know how to know if they are there or not?

  38. spinage on September 16th, 2015 19:41

    Hi Rachel. You can usually feel the metal bars inside the seat if you push the fabric. By the age of your vehicle, I think it will have them.

  39. Rosie s on March 17th, 2016 12:54

    Do you know if this will work on a 53 plate!?. I’m going to try and feel for the points later when I get home.
    If so I’m feeling really confident to try this using your post :)

  40. spinage on March 17th, 2016 13:53

    Hi Rosie. I’m pretty sure that a 53 plate will have the anchor points fitted under the surface of the fabric (or leather). Let us know how you get on!

  41. bridgette on April 6th, 2016 22:39

    I found this extremely interesting with regards to the teathering and the floor storage compartments.

  42. David Shelton-Knight on September 11th, 2016 13:40


    Thanks for the original post but special thanks to Rob and Ellie for their comments. We have just bought an 07 C-Max knowing it didn’t have isofix and that we’d have to pay to get it installed. After reading this website, although it took a while to find the plastic bar that was being referred to, we unclipped the plastic, fed the foam under the isofix bar (which we didn’t realise was already installed just not visible) and clipped the plastic back in place, put the seat back down and all sorted (with a bit if blood on the seat that was my own fault and the wife isn’t too happy about)

    I’m not even sure why you would need to buy the kit. Both our Cosatto and Cybex car seats came with the clips. I don’t know if other seats/bases are sold without?

    The only dilemma left is that the support doesn’t quite reach the bottom of the footwell. Not sure whether to have it floating just above the floor or whether to have it firm up against the footwell cover?

    Thanks all!

  43. Sarah M on October 4th, 2016 20:20

    Could you confirm this worked on the 53 plate?

  44. Heidi on October 11th, 2016 02:20

    Hi, i just wondered if u had pictures of what u done with the plastic bar and fabric and what it looks like from the front of seat? Thinking of trying it but im not quite sure what im doing… Thanks.

  45. spinage on October 11th, 2016 06:31

    Sorry Heidi, the only photos I have are the ones on the blog post. Hope you get on okay – let us know!