Ford S-MAX MPV (2006-2014) - Reliability & safety

The Ford S-MAX has a good, if outdated, safety rating from Euro NCAP, but cracks are showing in the car’s reliability

Carbuyer Rating

4.2 out of 5

Reliability & safety Rating

3.5 out of 5

The Ford S-MAX is a victim of its age, and is due to be replaced soon. That means it underperformed in our customer satisfaction survey, and although it scored full marks for its crash protection, standards have increased. That means it might not necessarily be the safest MPV out there compared to more modern rivals.

Ford S-MAX reliability

Ford S-MAX reliability isn’t what it was even a few years ago, according to owners who responded to our 2014 Driver Power satisfaction survey – and they rate Ford dealers poorly, too. As for safety, the S-MAX scored well in crash tests by Euro NCAP – but that was some time ago and it could do even more to beat rivals.

The S-MAX finished an unimpressive 116th out of 150 cars in our Driver Power 2014 owner satisfaction survey, which represents a steady decline compared to 24th position in 2012 and 80th in 2013, with reliability a notable problem. The most common problems cited by owners are with the car’s electronics and its engines. As with many diesels, it’s necessary to regularly give the car a long run at high revs to prevent problems with the exhaust filter.

Hopefully the new model, which arrives in 2015, can turn the S-MAX’s fortunes around, though it may not rectify the issues with Ford dealers, which came 27th out of 30 manufacturers in the survey.

Ford S-MAX safety

The Ford S-Max was crash-tested by Euro NCAP in 2006, when it received the full five stars for adult protection, helped by the presence of a driver’s knee airbag as well as six other airbags. However, the safety body has made its tests even more rigorous since then, so it’s not clear how safe the current S-MAX is compared to newer rivals.

What’s more, in 2006 it scored only three stars for pedestrian protection and four stars for child occupant protection; Euro NCAP was unimpressed by the lack of a front airbag deactivation switch as standard. There are also no airbags for the third row of seats (the Peugeot 5008 and Renault Grand Scenic have these), although there are ISOFIX child-seat mounts for all three third-row seats.

More reassuring is the standard fit traction and electronic stability control and there are also several optional safety features, including blind-sport warning, adaptive cruise control and lane-departure warning (the latter is included in optional safety packs that range from £600 to £1,400).

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