Ford makes quite a variety of people carriers for different buyers specific needs. At the smallest end of the scale – the B-Max is a pumped up Fiesta, the C-Max and Grand C-Max are inflated Focuses and the Galaxy is a gargantuan people carrier with space for seven in comfort and all the luggage they can throw at it.
Sat in the middle is the S-Max. It’s lower and sleeker than the Galaxy but more cavernous than the C-Max. It works really well for families with three children that might require space for their luggage, their offspring’s friends, or their pets. The rear seats aren’t as spacious as those in the Galaxy but they’re more than fit for purpose.
How much will it cost?
Depending on the trim and engine chosen the S-Max will cost anywhere between £24,545 and £32,945. Basic Zetec models are reasonably well equipped with front and rear parking sensors, DAB radio and a touch screen infotainment system. Mid-range Titanium models get sat-nav, tinted rear windows, automatic headlights and wipers, and lane keeping assistance. Top-spec Titanium Sport versions get larger alloys, a bodykit, sports suspension and heated front seats.
For our money, the mid-range Titanium S-Max with the 2.0-litre 148hp diesel and the six-speed manual gearbox might be the best bet for most buyers. It gets the best range of kit, decent performance and economy, and, at £27,695, is more than £2,000 cheaper than top-spec Titanium Sport.
For those on a budget, the 118hp Zetec version of the 2.0-litre diesel might be the best bet. At £25,245, it’s only £700 more than the cheapest petrol but the extra torque and fuel efficiency will make up for that pretty quickly.
Super-luxurious Vignale versions will arrive later in the S-Max’s life with extra leather and interior technology – these are likely to be significantly more expensive than standard models as they’re aimed at taking on the German premium brands.
Not much isn’t – there are reportedly no carried-over parts. This is a true new generation of S-Max – it’s the smaller of Ford’s two Mondeo-based seven-seat people carriers, and a new Mondeo means a new S-Max. The natty external redesign, with Ford’s new preferred front end, should be obvious, but there’s also a new range of engines – including the ubiquitous EcoBoost petrol option – and you can even get your next S-Max with four-wheel-drive.
So what powers it?
Well, EcoBoost petrol engines for a start. There’s the new 1.5-litre unit producing 158hp and the 2.0 with 236hp – which should provide a spirited push. There’s also a selection of the 2.0 TDCi diesel engines, with 118hp, 148hp or 177hp. The majority of these power units are shared with the new Mondeo so we can probably expect ECOnetic versions of the diesels too and, though there’s no emissions or economy data on the table just yet, Ford claims a 7 per cent reduction in tailpipe CO2 compared to the previous generation, which should pay dividends when it comes to taxing it.
There’s a complete interior redesign. Alongside far fewer switches and buttons to poke at (they’ve been relocated to the eight-inch ‘SYNC2’ touchscreen), the instrument panel is now digital. All UK S-Maxes get seven seats and the middle row will recline, fold and slide individually to allow better access to the rear.
You’ll also find a bunch of new tech to improve ride and safety. There’s now a continuously variable steering rack that changes the steering ratio according to road speed. A collision mitigation system will provide autonomous braking from speeds of up to 112mph. You also get dynamic LED headlights with “Glare-Free Highbeam” to prevent other drivers being dazzled.
There’s a few people carriers of this ilk floating around now. Ford and Vauxhall can reasonably claim to be old rivals now, so it’s likely that potential S-Max buyers will look at the Zafira Tourer first of all. There’s also the Peugeot 5008 and Renault Grand Scenic, while the natty Mazda 5 stakes its claim to the same driving satisfaction crown for which the Ford S-Max always is in contention.
New Ford S-MAX on sale date
If you like the sound of the new Ford S-MAX then get yourself down to a Ford dealership pronto – order books are already open, with first cars reaching their new owners in summer 2015.
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