Ford S-Max 2015 review

One thing many practical family vehicles lack is a fun driving experience – well, not any more! The S-Max 2015, Ford's newest seven-seater SUV which was unveiled late last year, is a safety-assured, quality choice for growing families whilst offering a great driving experience.

Ideal for families with younger children or those who struggle to pack light for their holidays, the latest S-Max is available in a choice of three trim options, with plenty of kit to keep the tech-savvy satisfied and your family safe on the road. Looking for a family-friendly, spacious SUV that doesn't compromise on style and fun? Keep reading!

Exterior

Boasting upmarket contemporary styling, the new Ford S-Max's exterior is strikingly different to its predecessors, with a sportier feel thanks to its curved roof line and rakish rear. Slender headlights, a large grille and chrome trim add to this sporty appearance, meaning the new S-Max stands out amongst other SUVs. It's a surprisingly sleek vehicle despite its size, with standard kit including 17” alloys and power fold mirrors.

Choose from three trim options – Zetec, Titanium or Titanium Sport. Our model of choice, the Titanium, adds LED daytime running lights, body coloured trim, privacy glass and sat-nav with USB connectivity to an already impressive tech offering.

The top-of-the-range Titanium Sport model has 18” alloy wheels, a full body kit, rear spoiler, sports suspension and heated front seats. There's the option to add the Titanium X pack, with electric leather seats and LED headlights for an additional £2,000.

Interior

An impressively plush interior might be unusual when it comes to SUVs, but the new S-Max has nailed it, with a minimalist dash and one-touch handbrake.

The S-Max offers plenty of practicality for busy families, seating seven comfortably, although the rearmost seats are best suited to children. Slide the middle row seats to provide extra legroom or fold any of the seats flat individually. There's an option to add electronic buttons in the boot to lower the seats, if you prefer.

Boot space is always a priority for large families, and the S-Max doesn't disappoint here either, offering a perfectly acceptable 285-litre capacity with enough space for several small bags. But it's when you fold the rear seats flat that the magic really happens, providing a generous 965 litres of space. Fold the middle row down and you'll enjoy a 2,020-litre capacity (more than Citroen's Grand C4 Picasso!) There's practically enough room for a small house move, with loads of space for family holidays and road trips. On-board cubby space is generous too, with plenty of storage areas for all the family's road-trip supplies.

A variety of adjustment options to the driver's seat and steering wheel allow for a really enjoyable, comfortable driving experience, especially on longer journeys, whilst the high seating position provides a commanding view of the road.

It’s safety first with the on-board technology: there’s the option to add a tiny camera on the front of the S-MAX, which relays a split-screen image to the 8” colour touchscreen display, so you can see vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians coming from either side – invaluable if you’re edging out of a narrow parking space, or onto a busy road. Plus, Ford Emergency Assistance calls for help if you're involved in an accident – keeping you and your family safer if you need it.

Ford's SYNC2 infotainment system is included as standard across all models. Supporting wireless smartphone and MP3 connectivity, it's easy to control your sat nav, phone, music and climate control via the touchscreen or using intuitive voice control.

Always practical in their range of cars, Ford has thought of everything when it comes to families, and the hands-free tailgate is a useful addition on those days when you're rushing from A to B. Thanks to Key-Free technology (standard on Titanium and Titanium Sport models), wave your foot under the rear bumper and the tailgate will open or close. Another great additional feature is the Power Starter, allowing you to start the car at the touch of a button.

On the road

The new S-Max offers a comfortable ride on both motorways and bumpy country roads thanks to its compliant suspension, whilst a lower centre of gravity means it's more fun to drive than many bulky SUVs.

With a choice of four diesel and two petrol engines, families are spoilt for choice. As the S-Max isn't top in its class for fuel economy, our model of choice (and also predicted to be the most popular) is the 148bhp 2.0-litre TDCI which offers competitive running costs and a nippy feel that will get you from 0 – 62mph in 10.8 seconds.

Whilst the petrol engines provide a quieter experience on longer journeys, they cost more to run, so budget-conscious families would do better to opt for diesel. The 118bhp 2.0-litre TDCI diesel provides the perfect combination of frugality and performance with fuel economy of 56.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 129g/km. With band D car tax coming in at £110 annually, we recommend avoiding the automatic gearbox and sticking with the six-speed manual, to reduce running costs.

Just confirmed this week, the new S-Max has been awarded a full five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, with extra power for emergency braking, a range of airbags, and ISOFIX child seat points on all the middle row seats. Other features for a super-safe driving experience include an Intelligent All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system which responds to varying road conditions and terrain, electronic power-assisted steering (EPAS), roll stability control, and Active Park Assist - a boon for those who struggle with parallel parking!

For those long motorway journeys with the family, the Lane Keeping System (Titanium and Titanium Sport models) alerts you if you drift out of lane. Other features include adaptive cruise control and Intelligent Speed Assist (ISA), which limits your speed by adjusting the amount of fuel reaching the engine, helping to keep you safe and avoid speeding fines.

Perhaps the neatest feature, in our opinion, is the Ford Easy-Fuel system. It's now practically impossible to make an expensive error at the fuel pump and put the wrong fuel in your car, as only the correct fuel nozzle will fit.

Verdict

Ideal for growing families with children of all ages, the new Ford S-Max 2015 is great fun to drive yet doesn't skimp on practicality either, with an impressive safety-tech spec and plenty of in-cabin features to help it stand out from the crowd. Though it may not beat all its rivals for fuel economy, it certainly tops its class in all other considerations.

List prices range from £24,545 to £32,360 and it looks like the new S-Max is expected to boost the model's falling popularity, thanks to Ford's focus on improved reliability and a premium build.


For more information on the new Ford S-Max 2015 or any of our other cars and vans, get in touch with your local Perry's dealership today.