4.4 out of 5 4.4
Parkers overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 4.4

Stylish people carrier that’s good to drive

Ford S-MAX (15 on) - rated 4.4 out of 5
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At a glance

New price £31,150 - £42,920
Lease from new From £350 p/m View lease deals
Used price £8,830 - £31,205
Used monthly cost From £220 per month
Fuel Economy 34.9 - 47.1 mpg
Road tax cost £125 - £475
Insurance group 16 - 34 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Comfortable seats
  • Practical interior
  • Solid, quality feel
  • Good to drive

CONS

  • Some models expensive
  • Rearmost seats are tight
  • Options are pricey
  • Small boot in seven-seat form

Ford S-MAX rivals

Written by Murray Scullion on

Despite the rise of the seven-seat SUV, sales of the S-Max have been strong, and it remains an excellent choice if you're looking for a practical seven-seat family car. 

The S-Max comes with a very similar design to the car that came before it. The headlamps have been slimmed down, the windscreen pillars moved further back and the nose features the firm’s latest family look. All cars have an active grille shutter (one that opens and closes independently) to improve aerodynamics and therefore fuel efficiency.

It stands out from the rest of the MPV crowd in the way it drives. It feels much like a regular, if somewhat large, hatchback. Sharp steering and taut body control, mixed with a supple ride comfort, means this seven-seater Ford is as much fun for the driver as it is comfortable for passengers. 

Competition comes in the form of traditional MPV rivals like the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, Renault Grand Scenic and Volkswagen Touran, but also seven-seat SUVs like the Skoda Kodiaq and Peugeot 5008. It has its work cut out to tempt family buyers. And if you need a bit more space, Ford will also sell you the larger Galaxy, with a roomier third row of seats.

Familiar interior, with plenty of space

Sharing underpinnings with the Ford Mondeo means the S-Max shares plenty of other bits too, and parts of the interior will be familiar if you’ve been inside the company car favourite.

It’s a simple layout inside, but it’s all very easy to use, centring around a large touchscreen featuring Ford’s Sync3 multimedia system, some slick digital dials, a set of very comfortable seats and a solid feeling of refinement all-round.

While there’s seating for seven, the rearmost seats are best left for small children as the S-Max’s sloping roofline eats into headroom at the back of the car.

There’s a good amount of flexibility though, as all the seats are individual, with the middle row all sliding back and forth individually, while all five rear seats fold flat into the floor to turn the S-Max into a makeshift van.

Diesel, manual, automatic and all-wheel drive

Unsurprisingly, it’s the diesel versions of the S-Max that make up the majority of sales in the UK. As such, Ford offers two to choose from, both 2.0 litres in size and ranging in power outputs from 150hp to 190hp.

Ford’s eight-speed automatic gearbox is available in all models, while those after the stability of all-wheel drive will find it comes with the higher-output version of the 2.0 litre diesel.

Those who prefer petrol power will have to seek a used model as the 1.5-litre turbocharged EcoBoost with 165hp and 2.0-litre EcoBoost with 240hp were taken off sale by September 2019. Hardly surprising as both struggle to match the diesels’ impressive fuel economy claims, more of which you can read about in the Running Costs section.

Plenty of trims and plenty of kit

It doesn’t matter which version of the S-Max you get if you want a generous kit list, as Ford has lavished plenty of equipment on this seven-seater. The model range is a familiar one, made up of Zetec, Titanium, sporty ST-Line and luxurious Vignale.

Even the basic cars have 17-inch alloy wheels, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with voice control and Bluetooth connectivity, keyless start, front and rear parking sensors and DAB radio. Over and above these Zetec models are the Titanium models, which add niceties such as cruise control, keyless entry and sat-nav.

If the standard kit list isn’t enough, Ford will add a Titanium X Pack to Titanium models for more luxury, while there’s an ST-Line Lux Pack to do the same for ST-Line models.

Redesigned looks and added tech for 2019

Following the introduction of the latest generation EcoBlue diesel engines into the range, the Ford S-Max received another update a year later, chiefly through its looks and technology.

With a tweaked grille and bumper design, the S-Max now bears a slight resemblance to the Puma SUV. New 19-inch alloy wheels are also available as an option for Titanium models.

Inside, 18-way adjustable front seats were made available on Zetec and Titanium versions and claim to help those who suffer with back pain. Strong claims, but we can say that they're certainly comfy.

The latest SYNC3 infotainment system is also fitted to make using the centre touchscreen a little easier, while the optional FordPass Connect system allows the driver to access the Ford Pass app to check on oil life, alarm status, fuel levels and the ability to remote lock or unlock the vehicle.

Adaptive cruise control is also available for the first time to work in conjunction with the automatic gearbox, as well as autonomous emergency braking.

Read on for the full Parkers Ford S-Max review

Ford S-MAX rivals