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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Comments

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

  1. Richard L on October 23rd, 2011 19:47

    Just wanted to take the time to say thanks for the text and pics. I have fitted the kit to our recently purchased 58 plate c max and the result is perfect. Dealer wanted to charge £70+ for fitting so was loving It when I found your post. Contractions started later so perfect timing.

    Thanks again……. Richard

  2. spinage on October 24th, 2011 15:25

    Richard, that’s great to hear, thanks. Also, congratulations! Glad it was done just in time :-)

  3. Thomas on November 3rd, 2011 18:01

    Hi

    I got to photo no 3. the red release catches. and I can’t get them to move. Is there a technique to them?

    Thanks

  4. spinage on November 4th, 2011 13:32

    Hi Thomas, try rocking the seat slightly from side to side while you use the levers. Failing that, you can fit the kit with the seat in situ, but it’s a bit fiddlier.

  5. Scott on November 11th, 2011 13:37

    Hi

    On Monday I picked up a lovely 08 plate Cmax, moving from a fun but ultimately impractical Astra SRi, due to an impending first child.

    Amongst other things, my brain has been fried at the thought of car seats etc as there are so so many options out there.

    Reading your great post has made things so much easier for me, I shall fix the Iso fix thingys and then like yourself I shall be able to use a maxi-cosi base and one of their seats which will be compatible with the Bugaboo frog pushchair my parents have purchased for us.

    Thanks for a great post, very informative and really simple to follow, now I just need to order the parts and pluck up the courage to cut my seats up…:)

  6. spinage on November 11th, 2011 14:03

    Thanks Scott, let us know how you get on!

  7. Scott on November 13th, 2011 17:53

    Can I just confirm it was the easyfix base that you used in the cmax? Is that the right one with the extendable leg?

  8. Lee on November 21st, 2011 21:32

    Hi,

    Just finished fitting ISOFIX guides to a 06 plate C-Max Zetec with minimal fuss and great results. many, many thanks for this guide, I never even knew ISOFIX existed in our car as I couldn’t see the posts!!!

    Thanks again, great blog!

  9. spinage on November 21st, 2011 22:45

    Thanks Lee, sounds like you had a nice surprise :-)

  10. Mark on January 22nd, 2012 09:31

    HI,

    Just done following the above process (@ 08:30 on a Sunday!!!), did it with the seat in the car with no problems thanks to the above. Took me just under 25 mins.

    Great Guide. Thanks again.

  11. spinage on January 22nd, 2012 09:36

    Thanks Mark, that’s good going to do it first thing on a Sunday!

  12. Kevin richards on March 3rd, 2012 21:13

    Tried fitting the kit tonight and the right hand side (if your facing the seat) was easy but the left hand side is a nightmare! The clip just pushes back out every time on the left!! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr is driving me mad has anyone else had this happen?

  13. spinage on March 3rd, 2012 21:34

    Hi Kevin, I remember having to push in quite hard and then move the clips at the back so that they hook over the bar. Hope it works for you!

  14. spinage on March 3rd, 2012 21:39

    Another thought, Kevin – I think I cut one of the holes slightly off-centre to the bar behind, so worth pushing the whole thing left or right to see if that helps.

  15. Norway on March 13th, 2012 09:09

    Thanks a lot for this post, done in 45 minutes on Sunday with the seat in the car. Now I just have to get the base and seat.

  16. spinage on March 13th, 2012 10:44

    Thanks for the feedback and great to have a comment in from Norway!

  17. Kevin on June 13th, 2012 11:31

    Hi, to add to your posts. I got my 08 c-max in 2008 was dismayed that the isoifx bars were hidden in the seat.

    We paid £60 to have our ford dealer cut one of the seats and fit the brackets. It has worked a treat. Over 4 years the cloth has not deteriorated any way and the brackets look very tidy.

    We used a Britax duo plus isofix seat from 1 to 3 years old with a top tether anchored into the boot (this is very easy and quick to install), the seat and tether negated the need to use an extended leg into the footwell. The seat was superb quality, easy to clean, feels rock solid when installed and worked very well. It is also a lot easier to install/remove/lug around/ swap into grannies car than a seat with the extended leg. You can also use the space between the rows of sweats for a folded buggy if your boot is full!

    We have sice moved onto the britax kidfix SICT high back booster seat, once again we are very happy with this. Although the isofix anchors are only used to keep the seat in place, the child is secured by the seat belts. I dont believe isofix is essential for the high booster seats.

    We have number two on the way now, thanks to your advice I will try to install my own brackets this time!

    Good luck.

  18. spinage on June 13th, 2012 13:20

    Thanks Kevin, it’s great to have the extra information you’ve provided. Hope your fitting goes smoothly!

  19. Al on June 26th, 2012 18:30

    Thanks this was really helpfull.

    I’ve got a 2004 cmax and the maxi cosi base but the light showed red with the floor out.
    I did lots of searching an found that ford say in the Ford Kuga hand book “when using a car seat base with a leg you must make shore that the foam insert is fitted and the lid is on properly!”
    Luckerly the Luga has the same size and shape floor as the Cmax, so I ordered the foam insert and it fits straight in :) Now I know it’s safe and approved by ford. My insurance company said the same thing :)
    The part ford part number is 1544072.
    Hope this solves many issues that I’ve read on many pages on the web.
    Alex

  20. spinage on June 26th, 2012 18:35

    Thanks Al, it’s useful to have that part number too.

  21. Rach on July 9th, 2012 21:44

    Hi all, I have a 54 plate cmax and wondered would this model definitely have the isofix brackets? I don’t want to go cutting into the seats if it doesn’t have them? I’m a complete novice when it comes to cars.

    Thanks

  22. spinage on July 9th, 2012 21:48

    Hi Rach. I think this applies to all C-Max models, but you can check by feeling for the metal bar behind the fabric down at the bottom of the seat back.

  23. Nigel on July 14th, 2012 18:54

    Hi thanks for a great blog i would not have attempted this at all if i hadn’t and went for it and did it it lookfound your blog so i went for it and did it and it looks a treat Thanks again much appriated A couple of tips if it helps others i used four knob pins to hold the template in place and sniped the bottom corners off about 10mm at 45% where the template meets the back of the seat it puts it a little further down if i hadn’t i would have been a little to high and it worked out perfect.

  24. spinage on July 14th, 2012 19:52

    Thanks Nigel, great idea to put the pins in too!

  25. Rach on July 15th, 2012 20:37

    Hi, so I have now exposed the isofix (very easy to do thanks to this blog!) but I have a silvercross base to go with the infant seat, the leg does not reach inside the luggage compartment but sits nice and firmly on the floor when the lid is on. Is this acceptable? Or does it need to fit inside the compartment?

  26. spinage on August 3rd, 2012 11:21

    Hi Rach, sorry for the delay in replying. I think that could be a problem, as you can’t rely on the lid staying in place in the event of an accident. I think Ford sell a solid insert to put in place instead.

  27. Fitting isofix - CMAX Owners Club Forum's on August 26th, 2012 18:20

    […] Just found this very helpfull site Retrofitting Isofix for a Ford Focus C-Max | Spinage Blog […]

  28. Laura on October 17th, 2012 15:49

    Hi, I have a ford ficus 52 reg. I bought an isofix mounting kit but can’t find a way to attach it, do you think we can do it the same way you have shown here? It’s for a britax base.

  29. spinage on October 18th, 2012 14:37

    Hi Laura. Unfortunately I don’t think the Focus Isofix kit works in the same way. The good news is that fitting that is easier than for the C-Max, you just need to screw in a couple of bolts to fix the mounting kit to the chassis.

  30. James Wright on December 16th, 2012 21:29

    Can’t thank you enough for this guide was about to spend £300 getting a ford dealership to retrofit isofix on both rear seats but instead bought 2 kits off ebay for £15 each and fitted them in less than an hour, £270 better off and a happy wife what more can I ask for :-)

  31. spinage on December 16th, 2012 21:33

    Thanks James, that’s great to hear and interesting update on the latest charges Ford are making for this.

  32. Damian on January 20th, 2013 17:39

    Hi – wat a legendary blog.

    Just bought a 06 CMax Zetec, and was stressed to learn that it didn’t have Isofix as standard.

    This blog has come as a total wonder and life saver, I’ve bought the maxi cosi Pebble and FamilyFix base and just ordered the retrofit parts off eBay! Can’t wait to try them out before the little blighter arrives at the beginning of April.

    Still not too clear on the storage bays and the foam inserts from Ford? There are a couple of conflicting posts saying that leg extends with a green light into the footwell and some says its doesn’t?

    Anyone able to help on this point please?

  33. spinage on January 20th, 2013 18:43

    Hi Damian. Not sure about that particular base, but if you’ve already bought it you could try sitting it on the car seat (as if in position) and extend the leg to see if it goes green.

  34. Michael on May 13th, 2013 09:20

    Your link to “Maxi-Cosi Easy Fix Isofix Base” is dead. It now redirects to http://www.maxi-cosi.com/error.aspx Maybe you should update the link.

    We use to have a Maxi-Cosi Easy-Fix base but we replaced it with the newer Maxi-Cosi Family-Fix bas,e as it is designed to be compatible with a larger number of different carseats, from newborn babies up to about the age of a three year old.

    Cheers

    Mike

  35. spinage on May 13th, 2013 09:38

    Thanks Mike, I’ve updated the link.

  36. Michael on May 13th, 2013 09:50

    Thanks to this blog I have just successfully fitted my second set of isofix fittings to my c-max. BIG thanks :-)

  37. John on August 4th, 2013 18:20

    Hi mate,

    Can you please tell me if I can fit the isofix on the back seat of a Ford Focus Zetec 2003 reg?

    By the way great tutorial

    many thanks for taking your time to share

    John

  38. spinage on August 9th, 2013 17:33

    I think it’ll be fine, just check you can feel the fittings under the seat fabric.

  39. John on August 10th, 2013 23:22

    Hi mate,

    I have been able to locate the fittings under the seat and based on another website somebody has already successfully fitted isofix retrospectively on the focus MKI…
    I’ll keep you posted when I get my isofix kit delivered

    thanks for taking the time to reply

  40. Lindsey Courtney on August 14th, 2013 17:24

    After totally stressing because my parents had very kindly bought an 04 c max on our behalf and then found out there where no isofix points we had very upset parents as they thought they had found us the perfect family car. So finding your blog was heaven sent! We followed your instructions word for word and even bought a craft knife . We ordered the part with ford and it took 24 hours to arrive and then only 20 mins to fit ! So I can’t thank you enough .

  41. spinage on August 14th, 2013 18:22

    Thanks Lindsey, that must be a relief! Glad it all worked out.

  42. Km on August 26th, 2013 22:11

    Hi,
    Thanks for the guide. My tip would be to push the plastic guide up into the hole you have made. I was pushing down – as there is a thicker metal bar in the cavity (behind the isofix bracket) that I was trying to avoid. The cover fits above this bar and slides down into he isofix bracket.

    The 2nd bracket is certainly easier when you have the method!

    Focus C-max 1.6 Style 2008

  43. spinage on August 27th, 2013 07:45

    Thanks for the tip Km, yes I remember having to do this too.

  44. Elle on November 5th, 2013 17:06

    Thanks for your lovely tutorial. Got this done in no time. I used the template with the squares cut out (ignored first template completely) and used a sharpie marker to mark out my X. Much easier than trying to hold the template & cut and not lose fingers. Ford wanted to charge me £60 per seat for the labour only. Thanks again.

  45. spinage on November 5th, 2013 19:17

    Thanks Elle, that’s a good idea to mark out the crosses first!

  46. Guido on November 6th, 2013 14:53

    Thank you for this nice tutorial.
    I just got an Isofix seat and then I started wondering where the heck the Isofix attachments were. This whole operation is one of the reasons I think Ford really sucks.
    Anyways, again, great tutorial, thank you!

  47. spinage on November 6th, 2013 15:16

    I agree, it’s an odd thing to have to do to get Isofix in a car aimed at families! Otherwise though I think the C-Max is great!

  48. THOMAS on December 15th, 2013 18:08

    Have just purchased C-Max 05 plate and fined that NO isofix !!!!! I have now purchased a set of Ford retro kits off e-bay no template came with it and the guy seems not to want to reply to my requests..Does anyone have a spare one they could send me.?? Will pay what ever it costs.. Great tutorial would not have taken the job with out it. My local Ford garage would not do it “HEALTH AND SAFETY” they said. Have a great Christmas.

  49. Neil on December 20th, 2013 15:26

    Great tutorial, fitted mine last weekend. For reference we have a 2008 2.0 TDCI Titanium with Leather Seats. A bit tricky getting the guides in but otherwise totally straightforward.

    Apologies to Thomas (98) had I seen your post beforehand I wouldn’t have disposed of my templates.

  50. Jen on January 12th, 2014 14:36

    Brilliant tutorial! Was a bit scared making the cuts in my seats but sure enough was really easy to fit and feel good for having achieved something that saved us money! Our daughter’s new isofix seat fits in easy peasy now and she’s that little bit safer too. We have a 2008 Titanium C-Max.