If you’re after a family lugger, Ford have you covered with the S-Max. Slightly smaller than the Galaxy it can still seat 7 in comfort with a little more style than its bigger brother.
We took an S-Max Titanium for a week to see how practical it was. Fitted with the 2.0 litre diesel and a 6 speed manual it came in at a hefty £31,215.
But it did have the Titanium X Pack on it, which gives Adaptive LED headlights, leather heated seats, and powered front seats. One of the other costly options was the Deep Impact Blue metallic paint at £545. Base price for this model is a smidge of £28k.
For a large family MPV the S-Max is actually pretty smart. Its steeply raked windscreen is almost seamless with the bonnet, and a few choice silver highlights – like the optional roof rails – make it look very neat.
Large rear LED lights match the LED jobbies up front and the Deep Impact Blue paint is just gorgeous on any Ford.
The one thing that annoyed us most about our test car was the fact it was a manual. In a car of this size I cannot fathom why you would opt for a manual. It isn’t a drivers’ car, and you just want to be able to cruise around. We would recommend spending the extra £1,500 to opt for the auto.
Power wise the 2.0 litre diesel lump is pushing out 148 BHP which will shift the S-Max to 62 in 10.8 seconds. Not bad for such a big old beast. There’s plenty of power across the rev range and it never felt left wanting.
Ride is really very good. The S-Max ate up a 3 hour journey to Goodwood with ease, and we hopped out feeling suitably fresh.
Handling is also well sorted. The S-Max keeps nicely upright when chucking it around some A Road corners. Its steering is nice and direct, if a little lightly weighted – but in a car of this size it’s nice to have the easy manoeuvrability around town.
It all comes together to make a rather decent handling MPV, which was a big surprise.
Thanks to our test cars’ chunky tyres road noise at motorway speed was kept to a minimum, but we have heard it can get rather intrusive. Especially when opting for the Titanium Sport model with its stiffer suspension.
Thanks to having the £2k X Pack the interior was leather coated. Smart silver stitching finished off the silver accents throughout the dash.
Plastics are of a good quality with a small amount of gloss black around the centre console. Some of the buttons and cubbies can feel a little flimsy which is a shame.
As standard you get an 8 inch touchscreen in the dash, it’s easy enough to use the basics but some menus can be a little convoluted. Having to dig around to find where certain settings reside. This is an issue across the Ford range though.
Sitting underneath the cowling is another LCD screen between the two dials, this can show you relevant information from the main screen, next sat-nav direction, media playing, along with your fuel economy etc.
Boot space is pretty decent with all the seats up, coming in at 285 litres. With the third row flat into the floor you then get a huge 700 litres. But fold the whole lot flat and the S-Max can swallow 2,000 litres, making it almost van like.
Those third row seats are best used for children though, they are tricky to get into and leg room isn’t the best.
If you’re in the market for a mid-sized family MPV you could do far worse than the S-Max. Its lower, sportier driving position follows through to the rest of the cars dynamics. It’s easily the best handling MPV out there at the moment.