Ford S-MAX MPV
Price £24,545 - £32,945
- Fun to drive
- Seven seats
- Style and practicality in one package
- Not as efficient as Citroen C4 Grand Picasso
- Rearmost seats for children only
- Lots of safety kit only available as options
At a glance
"If you want a spacious and fun to drive people mover, few come close to the Ford S-MAX. It's also one of the most stylish on the market too."
The Ford S-MAX people carrier proves that a practical seven-seater needn’t look like a bus or be dull to drive. The recently updated model proves it's still the best MPV behind the wheel and its interior is every bit as spacious and versatile as those of rivals like the Peugeot 5008 and Renault Grand Scenic.
They are cheaper to buy, though – as is the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso, which is also better equipped for the money. However, even in basic Zetec trim, the S-MAX comes with plenty of kit.
As in most rival cars, the five rear seats in the Ford S-MAX can be folded individually to suit your needs. The second-row seats slide and recline, too, while folding them all flat frees up enough luggage space to rival a van. The third-row seats are cramped, however, so if you regularly need to seat adults there, consider the bigger Ford Galaxy or SEAT Alhambra.
The engine line-up comprises Ford's punchy EcoBoost petrols and efficient TDCi diesels. We’d choose one of the latter – the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel in particular is both gutsy and economical, promising a decent 53mpg. It also costs just a few hundred pounds more than the 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel, which feels underpowered and is no more efficient. The much stronger 178bhp 2.0-litre diesel is only available in mid-range Titanium or top-spec Titanium Sport trim, so it costs at least an extra £2,500. The automatic gearbox is smooth and effective, and only slightly reduces fuel economy.
Most owners will find everything they need in entry-level Zetec trim, including front and rear parking sensors, DAB radio and Bluetooth phone connectivity. Titanium brings sat nav and cruise control, while Titanium X Sport adds leather trim, various sporty details and lowered suspension.
All S-MAX models have plenty of airbags and its predecessor secured a five-star Euro NCAP rating. Traction and electronic stability control are standard on all models, and there are optional safety features, too.
The Ford S-MAX offers fairly good fuel economy for its class and the smooth automatic gearbox doesn’t reduce it by much
The Ford S-MAX is great to drive for an MPV, and feels like a much smaller car from behind the wheel
The Ford S-MAX is comfortable to sit in and gives a great view of the road. The dashboard is cleaner and easier to use
The S-MAX is ideal for a growing family, with versatile seats that can fit three children in a row and room for everyone’s stuff, however big or small
The new S-Max has yet to be independently crash-tested, but its predecessor scored well on safety