Ford S-Max Still the Best MPV in Its Class
Posted on 14 Mar 2016
So you've decided it's finally time to graduate from a supermini to an MPV. The days of driving a fast, zippy car without a care in the world has given way to parenthood and the responsible driving that goes along with it. Knowing exactly what you're going through, we recommend you seriously consider the Ford S-Max. Despite not being the sexiest or most versatile car on the market, it is still best-in-class for people movers.
The Ford S-Max debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in 2006 as a companion car to the next generation Galaxy. Much to Ford's surprise, the S-Max enjoyed instant success with very strong sales. It even went on to win European Car of the Year in 2007. Ford hasn't looked back in the MPV class ever since.
For 2016, the S-Max does not look a whole lot different than its predecessors. But there is good reason for that. Ford has come to realise that the customer base responsible for the S-Max's success has very particular tastes. They demand functionality and performance over sleek styling and visual appeal. So while the S-Max is not an ugly car by any stretch of the imagination, Ford continues to focus on what makes the car truly work.
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Comfort and Space
From our perspective, the two strongest points of the S-Max are its overall comfort and its available space. This people mover is true to its classification with a maximum seating capacity of seven; it can handle five comfortably with the rear seat stored out of the way for extra storage space. Most importantly, the seats are ergonomically designed to be very supportive and extremely comfortable – even on long trips.
Comfort is enhanced by a very responsive suspension that keeps vibration and jolting bumps to a minimum. However, you might think twice about paying extra for the adaptive suspension, as it doesn't make enough of a difference to warrant the extra cost.
In terms of space, the rear seats cantilever into the floor for extra space in the back when seating capacity isn't required. Moving the middle row of seats fully forward opens up even more space. If you only need seating for five, there is plenty of cargo room for luggage, groceries, and even small pieces of furniture.
Dashboard and Fuel Mileage Concerns
Every car has its weak points, even the S-Max. The weakest point for 2016 is the overdone dashboard presentation that takes a lot of getting used to. We understand Ford's desire to pack a lot of features into the dash, but what they've come up with for the 2016 S-Max can be overwhelming. You may have trouble with confusing instrument displays and a touchscreen control panel with a serious learning curve.
Our other concern with the S-Max is fuel mileage. It is not terrible at 40-50 mpg, but there are other vehicles that would work just as well as people movers with slightly better fuel economy. If fuel economy is your biggest concern, the S-Max may not be the ideal car for you.
Overall, the Ford S-Max is still best-in-class for MPVs. It continues to enjoy robust sales throughout Europe, and it is the dominant people mover in the UK. In the end, Ford has found a winning formula for this class and has decided to stick with it as long as the market will cooperate.
If you are planning to look at the S-Max as your next MPV, plan on spending somewhere in the region of £27,000 for the five-door 2.0 TDCi model – a rather good price for a car that offers so much.
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