Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Is the new Ford S-Max a raised or lowered MPV wagon? It provides the functionality and comfort of the first, with the dynamism of the second. This truly is a superb combination, and the Ford S-Max is a pleasure to drive. Ford first pioneered rather low, sharp, and dynamic minivan in 2006 but this new model has been re-styled to now includes a dual-clutch, making the S-Max is more attractive than ever.
There are some negative aspects however, if I was going to be critical. As an example the dummy air intakes behind the wheel wells at the front. Not sure why Ford decided to do that as it completely pointless? In addition to that there are LED lights which are very expensive to replace in the corners of the front bumper – which is surely the place most at risk for bumps and scrapes?
The Interior Design of the Ford S-Max
Moving inside, first impressions of the design are flattering, but don’t look too closely. There are plenty of faux metal veneers but generally the build quality seems good as there is no squealing or grinding noise – which is quite rare for a minivan. As you would expect, there are a lot of high technical features included within the dashboard. However, it’s all relatively easy to use and comes with a number of stand-out products including an excellent entertainment system and the newly upgraded Ford Navigation System which provides turn by turn GPS directions and routing.
Space Saving Features but Uncomfortable Seats
Visibility is good when driving, but I personally hate the lines that run through the windshield for defrosting. This is peculiar to Ford models and tends to give the impression of frosted glass which can be very annoying when the sun is shining brightly. Interior space is generous, as is accessibility. The new Ford S-Max also features comfortable sliding rear seats. It’s possible to make more space in the rear too as the third row of seats disappear completely into the trunk floor giving the Ford S-Max all the advantages of true MPV. However the seats in the back are very hard due to not being designed too well and can be quite uncomfortable. Similarly, the center armrest is not adjustable and has been placed too low.
Smooth and Slick Transmission with Sports Mode
The Ford S-Max comes with a 140 horse power diesel engine and uses a double-clutch automatic transmission similar to the Volkswagen models. The transmission shifts are quick and fluid and if you put the lever in position "S" (Sports mode) and use a little brake before a turn then transmission downshifts by itself.
Parking Can be Tricky, But Still a Safe Car
This vehicle weight of 1.7 tons means that the Ford S-Max does not have the same agility that a compact sedan might have. However, outside of its weight which limits the speed on winding roads, the S-Max is safe, accurate, and precise enough in the turn. It has a well designed chassis meaning you don’t tend to notice any bumps and shakes whilst driving. The only criticism here would be the dynamic turning radius that makes maneuvering in parking a little bit tedious.
Offers Great Value for Money as an MPV
The Ford S-Max offers great value for money considering the features it comes with. It is much easier to drive than a Renault Espace and is better priced than many other models including the Chevrolet Captiva. The only real complaints are the uncomfortable seats and some of the interior plastics which tend to detract from the interior – other than that this is a superb MPV (multi purpose vehicle) that should appeal to family drivers looking for a new larger car.
- Engine Power: 140 hp (diesel)
- Dimensions: 4.77 meters (length) x 1.88 (width) x 1.66 (top)
- Qualities: Functional, safe, "Powershift" transmission, aesthetic pleasing exterior
- Defects: Some plastic looks a bit fake, poorly designed seats, ugly inside, excessive turning radius, LED lights exposed
Alternative MPVs on the market: Chevrolet Captiva, Volkswagen Sharan, and the Renault Espace.
This review of the Ford S-Max comes courtesy of the team at GPS Bites. GPS Bites currently have an offer on where you can update the GPS maps on your Ford Navigation System – you will need to redeem a Ford Navigation Promotion Code in order to do so. Please note that GPS Bites is the leading GPS news website and recently published a guide to the Top 10 GPS Disasters (worth a read if you want a laugh).