Price  £24,545 - £32,945


reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Seven seats
  • Comfortable to drive
  • Style and practicality in one package
  • Not as efficient as Citroen C4 Picasso
  • Third-row seats not the biggest around
  • Lots of safety kit is optional

At a glance

"If you want a spacious and comfortable people mover, the Ford S-MAX is a great choice. It's also one of the most stylish MPVs on the market."

The Ford S-MAX is a seven-seater MPV that's surprisingly stylish and good to drive considering its size and the practicality it offers. A recent update hasn’t affected the car's driving dynamics, but it has ensured that the interior is as spacious and versatile as those of rivals like the Peugeot 5008 and Renault Grand Scenic.

It's worth noting that the Peugeot and the Renault, as well as the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso, are cheaper than the S-MAX. Though the Ford comes with lots of standard equipment, even in entry-level Zetec trim, the C4 Grand Picasso gives you more space and equipment for less money.

The Ford S-MAX is the same as most of its rivals in offering five rear seats that can be folded individually depending on the needs of a specific trip. The seats in the second row fold and recline, too. If you need plenty of boot space, all the seats can be folded to turn the S-MAX into a small van.

We wouldn’t recommend relying on the sixth and seventh seats that make up the third row to regularly transport adults, as leg and headroom is restricted – you'd be better off with the larger Ford Galaxy or SEAT Alhambra for this.

It's more expensive than some of its rivals, but the S-MAX benefits from an excellent range of engines, which includes Ford's punchy EcoBoost petrols and economical TDCi diesels. Our pick is the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which has decent low-down pulling power and impressive fuel economy of 53mpg. And it's not that much more expensive than the 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel, which feels sluggish in comparison and isn’t any cheaper to run.

The stronger 178bhp 2.0-litre diesel is only available in mid-range Titanium or top-spec Titanium Sport trim, so it costs at least £2,500 more. The automatic gearbox is smooth and effective, and only slightly reduces fuel economy.

Entry-level Zetec trim provides plenty of kit, including front and rear parking sensors, DAB digital radio and Bluetooth phone connectivity, so most buyers won’t need to spend more on a higher trim level. However, Titanium does provide some desirable luxuries like sat nav and cruise control, while Titanium X Sport adds leather trim, some sporty styling touches and lowered suspension.

All new S-MAX models have lots of airbags and the previous model secured a five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating. Traction and electronic stability control are standard on all models, plus there are optional safety features that can be added.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.2 / 5

The Ford S-MAX offers fairly good fuel economy for its class and the smooth automatic gearbox doesn’t reduce it by much

Engines, drive & performance

4.5 / 5

The Ford S-MAX is great to drive for an MPV, and feels like a much smaller car from behind the wheel

Interior & comfort

4.3 / 5

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

Practicality & boot space

4 / 5

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

Reliability & safety

3.5 / 5

The new S-MAX has yet to be independently crash-tested, but its predecessor scored well on safety

What the others say

4.5 / 5
based on 4 reviews
4 / 5
"The Ford S-MAX is a seven-seat MPV that's great to drive and comes with loads of standard kit."
5 / 5
"A superbly practical combination of space, looks, performance, comfort and driving fun."
8 / 10
"More useful than the biggest estates, and good to drive. Avoid the SUV rat-race."
5 / 5
"Upmarket cabin with impressive refinement. Comfortable and satisfying to drive, although some rivals are more competitively priced."
Last updated 
17 Aug 2015
Own this car? Leave your review.