Ford's new seven-seater is perfect S-Max present

The new Ford S-MAX is both sporty and stylish
The new Ford S-MAX is both sporty and stylish

Ford S-Max – Titanium 2.0TDCi

THE annual visit to the Christmas panto can be quite a chore. With half the neighbourhood in tow, it is usually a two-car operation full of over-excited children.

But this year, they were all seated happily behind me – oh yes they were – in the new Ford S-Max, which proved to be, like the panto itself, both beauty and a beast.

Last Sunday, I packed two 12-year-old boys, four eight-year-old girls, a Santa sack full of sweets and drinks and myself, into the new seven-seater S-Max and headed off for the Cheerios Panto in Dublin’s Tivoli Theatre.

Ford has refreshed most of its models this year.

First up was the long-awaited Mondeo, quickly followed by a revised Focus and now, its two seven-seater MPVs  – the S-Max and the Galaxy – have been given a makeover too.

The Ford S-Max has upped its game to keep competitors like Peugeot 5008, Seat Alhambra, Renault Gran Scenic and Citroen’s C4 Grand Picasso – which is probably its closest rival – at bay.

On the outside, it is fair to say that Ford has done an excellent job trying to make a people carrier sexy and sporty.

It is not the easiest of tasks on something of this size, but the designers have really pulled it off with new front grille, LED daytime running lights (standard on Titanium model) and some new curves and creases.

There are two trim levels available – Zetec and Titanium – and both come with a lot of standard equipment. The Zetec comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, Ford SYNC infotainment system, dual zone air-con, front and rear parking sensors, leather steering wheel, keyless start, power-fold mirrors, MyKey entry and the all-important mini spare wheel.

Upgrade to the Titanium model, and you get  cruise control, chrome door line LED daytime running lights, auto lights and wipers,  auto high beam, lane keeping aid, Sync Gen 2 infotainment system with eight-inch touchscreen, ambient lighting, traffic-sign recognition and intelligent speed limiter.

My test car for the week was the higher trim Titanium model, and it was a very pleasant place to be – spacious and comfortable and the eight-inch touchscreen is extremely user friendly.

It was fitted with extras that put it up there with some of the more expensive German brands.

These included panoramic sunroof (€1,060), seat-back tables, which are a nice little extra for just €20, Sony sat nav and 12-speaker audio (€1,290), power tailgate (€400), automated parking system (€250) and an expensive set of adaptive LED headlamps (€1,290).

In the rear, there is ample leg and head room for five adults. Ford claim that the seats can be arranged in more than 30 different positions for flexibility, and my test car also featured automated second- and third-row seats.

On the engine front, there is a 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine and four versions of the 2.0-litre TDCi engine. The new S-Max is also available in both six-speed manual and Powershift automatic gearbox. My test car was fitted with the 2.0-litre six-speed manual gearbox – very quiet on the road.

I did get to spend a half day behind the wheel of the 2.0-litre Powershift automatic gearbox, and this would be the pick of the bunch for me in a car of this size. Definitely one of the best looking MPVs on the market and it’s extremely spacious.

There are, however, one or two cheaper alternatives on the market, but they certainly don’t have the S-Max’s stylish looks.
Robbie Farrell