Ford S-Max interior

The Ford S-Max’s cabin feels fairly sturdy but you can’t ignore its drab design and slightly fiddly infotainment system forever…

Style

One of the main criticisms of the old Ford S-Max was how cheap it felt inside. Almost every surface was very brittle and you got the sense that the air vents might break after a year or two. To address this issue, the materials in the new Ford S-Max feel much plusher and build quality is closer (though still not quite equal) to what you’ll find in a VW Sharan.

That said, the Ford S-Max’s cabin still looks a little old-hat. The recessed touchscreen and vertical air vents, for example, aren’t a patch on the space-age interior design you get in a Citroen Grand C4 Spacetourer, and there isn’t much in the way of colourful trim to brighten up the place – even in top-spec cars.

At least all the controls are logically laid out, so adjusting the cabin temperature or tweaking the stereo volume won’t have you pulling your hair out, and the S-Max’s large windows make it feel pretty airy inside.

The S-Max’s cabin is laid out sensibly, but it looks a bit stone-age compared to the interiors you get in flashy, futuristic alternatives

Mat Watson
carwow expert
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Infotainment

You can get the Ford S-Max with Ford’s latest SYNC 3 infotainment system. This 8.0-inch touchscreen unit is mounted high up on the dashboard so it’s easy to glance at while you’re driving and comes with built-in sat-nav.

Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy to input an address as in a VW Sharan or BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer and the maps don’t load as quickly when you swipe and pinch to pan and zoom. The menus aren’t laid out particularly sensibly either, but at least you do get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring as standard.

This lets you circumvent most of the Ford S-Max’s fiddly menu screens and use navigation and music-streaming apps directly from your phone on the car’s built-in screen.

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