RAC Cars News


Ford S-MAX Going Upscale

By raccars Published

Ford has been showing off its new S-MAX Concept and, by the looks of things, has every right to be smug.

The 2015 version of the MPV is extremely smart. The sharkish front end is both sleek and purposeful, with a modern chromed front grille and slanting, swept back headlight clusters. A substantial skirt features prominent air intakes on each side, also sweeping around the corner. Viewed from the front, the new S-MAX looks more like a sports car than a seven seater family car. This S-MAX will have far more road presence than the outgoing version.

Some basic features of the current Ford S-MAX remain in the form of the sloping windscreen and tail light clusters, but design cues from the newest Fiesta and B-MAX and bold strakes running along the flans bring the new model bang up to date.

The flexible cabin set up ranges from four to seven seats and has been designed with user friendliness in mind. In a seven seat set up, you can fold the centre middle seat level with the floor to allow for easy access to the third row, which itself is light weight and easily manoeuvrable. Size-wise, little is likely to change, so although the S-MAX will come with a useful seven seat configuration, it is still sub-Galaxy for comfort levels in the third row.

However, there has been a definite upgrade in the materials used to furnish the cabin, with a leather trimmed dashboard complemented by black gloss and metal and leather and carbon fibre seating. Following the current trend for minimalism on the dash, there are fewer buttons and controls in evidence, with major functions accessible via a touchscreen. Gear changes are effected by a rotary knob, in the style of a Jaguar and the handbrake is electric, to maximise space up front.

The smart cabin is not only for cosmetic effect, it's also well supplied with modern technology. Headrests are furnished with iPad docking stations, there's internet access via Ford's new SYNC technology with Wi-Fi, while rear passengers have tablet computer docks. Infotainment services in the front include a centre console mounted screen, accessible by both driver and passenger and AppLink, which gives the driver voice control over certain features, including Spotify for music streaming.

While the S-MAX has always prided itself upon its build quality and performance, it has had to up its game to keep abreast of forthcoming competition from premium brands, such as the BMW Active Tourer Concept and the proposed Audi A3 Spaceback. The new S-MAX probably has the goods to compete but may be let down by its badge.

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