- Hugely practical
- Seven-seat ability
- Good to drive
- Decent kit levels
Some 7-seaters look and drive like the bulky people movers they are - but that’s certainly not the case with the latest Ford S-MAX.
This stylish full-sized MPV boasts impressive performance and handling while still covering all the practicality bases along the way.
And with its latest 2.5-litre petrol-hybrid powertrain, the running costs are not so bad either.
Powertrain and Performance
With 190bhp of power and plenty of torque the 2.5-litre petrol-hybrid engine delivers plenty of zip with a 0 to 62mph sprint time of 9.9 seconds and it tops out at 115mph.
It can deliver a combined 43.5mpg. It's a self-charging hybrid so when the car is started up, it pulls away in near silence in EV mode, but after a few seconds the petrol engine kicks in.
But the really surprising factor is just how nice the front-wheel drive S-MAX handles.
It handles well on fast, twisting country lanes although tighter bends need to be attacked with a degree of caution to avoid any body movement, but the acceleration, performance and steering do impress. And a special mention to the superb suspension system that somehow manages to make our bumpy road surfaces feel smooth.
Despite its size – it stretches 4.8 metres in length and is almost 2.0 metres across – the S-MAX is beautifully agile and easy to drive. It cruises on motorways at 70mph and the cabin is refined too with barely any sign of road or engine noise filtering through. It does get noticeably noisier when you want a sudden burst of power for overtaking, but this is the norm for CVT transmissions.
Practicality and Equipment
There are 32 seating and storage configurations and the seats in rows two and three can be lowered at the press of a button just inside the boot, but they need to be raised manually which is simple enough.
There is lots of room in row two with three individual seats that can slide and recline, but just like most 7-seaters, the duo of rear seats are not quite so spacious. They would be ideal for youngsters though.
Storage limits are good ranging from 285 litres with all seats upright to 2,020 litres with just the front seats in use. And throughout the cabin, there are plenty of storage options with a deep central cubby bin, a glovebox, front cup holders, a dashboard-mounted compartment with lid, sunglasses holder, practical door bins, two fold-down trays, plus an extra drop down mirror, so the driver can keep an eye on the youngsters in the back.
The S-MAX is packed with safety kit with features such as traffic sign recognition, lane keeping aid and cruise control with an adjustable speed limiter. But our car also gained extra safety aids thanks to the optional Driver Assistance Pack. This introduced blind spot information, active park assist with parallel and perpendicular parking, adaptive cruise control, front and rear cameras, along with an upgraded 12-speaker Sony sound system.
All in all, the latest S-MAX with its eco-friendly petrol-hybrid powertrain covers all the needs of any active family that requires lots of seats and bundles of space without compromising on style or driving dynamics.