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When Ford launched the first generation S-MAX, back in 2006, it created a winning formula: a practical family MPV that still looked sporty and was involving to drive. This new second generation model continues that theme and enters an arena now full of capable competitors, including: the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso, Renault Grand Scenic and Peugeot 5008.

The Ford design team evolved the fresh and distinctive exterior styling of the original S MAX for an even more dynamic and sleeker design. The front pillar is moved further back to create a longer, sculpted bonnet for a more premium appearance. A raised chrome trapezoidal grille and slim headlamp design give a technical and cutting-edge look. The charismatic S-MAX silhouette and distinctive window-line is also complemented by signature LED Day Time Running Lights and technically styled rear LED taillights that add visual width.

As before, a choice of three trim levels are available – Zetec, Titanium and Titanium Sport. Standard across the range are alloy wheels, parking sensors, keyless entry and DAB radio. Titanium cars get sat-nav, with Titanium Sport getting a body kit, larger alloys and sports suspension.

S-MAX is packed full of new driver assistance technologies, such as Blind Spot Information System, Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Keeping Alert, Lane Keeping Aid and Driver Alert. Additionally this is the first Ford globally to feature Ford Dynamic LED Headlamps with Glare-Free Highbeam that maintain maximum illumination without distracting other road users.

The all-new S-MAX enables quiet and effortless cruising with responsive new fuel-efficient diesel or EcoBoost petrol engines. The lineup includes a 120PS 2.0-litre TDCi with six-speed manual transmission and a revised 150PS and 180PS 2.0-litre TDCi with manual or PowerShift dual-clutch automatic transmission. Petrol engine options including Ford’s new fuel-efficient 160PS 1.5-litre EcoBoost with manual transmission and 240PS 2.0-litre EcoBoost with automatic transmission. CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency also are enhanced with Smart Regenerative Charging and Auto-Start-Stop. Underbody aerodynamic shielding and Active Grille Shutter technology have improved aerodynamic efficiency with performance optimised during 400 hours of wind tunnel testing.

Ford’s new integral link rear suspension helps enhance the nameplate’s class-leading driving dynamics with a configuration that features reduced-weight aluminium components, provides more dynamic performance, and significantly improves refinement and ride quality – in particular for rear seat passengers.

Inside, a sophisticated yet sporty feel includes a sculpted centre console that flows from the upper instrument panel; aluminium accent above the glovebox; and stadium style seating design for second and third row seating space. The open and airy interior benefits from a full-length panoramic glass roof and smart design seats with thinner seat backs to provide more legroom.

The traditional instrument cluster makes way for an optional driver-facing 10-inch digital screen with animated analogue-style speedometer and rev-counter. Users also can customise the display settings and 3D graphics on the digital screen for a personalised and interactive experience.

An 8-inch high-resolution touchscreen in the centre console enables drivers to control Ford SYNC 2 with Voice Control to operate phone, entertainment, climate and navigation systems using simple conversational language. Drivers can even bring up a list of local restaurants by saying: “I’m hungry”.

Available in five-seat and seven-seat configurations, the all-new S-MAX is optimised for comfort and functionality. The Easy-Fold system enables each rear seat to be folded flat from a push-button control panel. Easy-Entry second row seats provide one touch access to third row seating.

Front-seat headrests can be adjusted up, down, forward and back, and drivers can tailor their seating position using power adjustment function for steering column reach and rake, and driver’s seat memory function. A heated steering wheel is also offered on S-MAX for the first time.

 

Verdict:
The Ford S-MAX is a seven-seat MPV that’s enjoyable to drive, practical and well equipped.

 

Tech spec:
Ford S-Max 2.0 TDCi 180
Price from £28,445
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel
Power: 177bhp
Torque: 295lb ft
0-62mph: 9.7 seconds
Top speed: 131mph
Fuel economy: 56.5mpg
CO2: 129g/km