Parkers overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 4.4
  • Dashboard shared with larger Ford Galaxy and Ford Edge
  • Also shares parts with the Ford Mondeo
  • All easy to use and easy to get comfy in

It’s surprising just how car-like the Ford S-Max’s driving position is, with the seat set lower than in other MPVs and the pedals stretched out in front of you. Daydream for a second and you’ll swear you’re in a saloon car not a seven-seater people carrier.

With plenty of adjustment in the wheel and seat, it’s easy to find a suitable driving position for most sizes – though some may find the centre console a little on the high side. It’s refreshing that you feel like you’re sitting in the S-Max, though, rather than on it.

There is a lot of the Ford Mondeo to be seen here, with similar dashboard architecture and identical instruments. That’s not a bad thing, as it’s certainly clean and uncluttered, but those hoping for a less conventional and more future-staring cabin befitting of this MPV may find themselves rather disappointed.

In general the quality of the materials is good, with robust switchgear, hard-wearing fabrics and a soft-touch plastic for the main dash, but some of the trim finishing isn’t as precise and sharply detailed as in rivals from Volkswagen, Peugeot and Skoda.

Ford’s Sync3 8.0-inch colour touchscreen is easy enough to use with fast responses to inputs from the driver. Those with chunky thumbs might find the voice activation easier than the smaller screen icons, though. And there's no denying that if you tested out the Renault Grand Scenic or Skoda Kodiaq beforehand, the Ford's system would feel decidedly out of date. There's nothing wrong with the way it works, but it just looks and feels older than its rivals.

Comfort

  • Comfort is an S-Max strong point
  • Seats offer great amount of support
  • Car-like driving position

With plenty of adjustment both in the steering wheel and seats, it’s easy to find the perfect driving position in this car – so a comfortable drive is a given for most drivers.

The seats themselves offer plenty of support, and prove perfectly comfortable – regardless of whether you’re sitting up-front or right at the very back – and the S-Max offers an optional heated steering wheel and seats, perfect for winter mornings.

Ford has worked hard to reduce road noise and increase refinement on the move with its new S-Max, using a new rear suspension system to improve ride quality as well as general on-road sophistication. Along with the revised door seals and honed aerodynamics the Ford is said to be around three decibels quieter than the model that came before.

And it’s certainly comfortable at speed, while the S-Max was always famed for its responsiveness and agility (and this car’s no different), it also demonstrates Ford’s ability to strike a neat balance between ride comfort and sharp handling. Taut and happy to resist body roll, the S-Max also manages to smother most bumps presented to it.

Those in the rear have the opportunity to select their own temperature too, with rear air-conditioning controls available.