Ford S-Max ST Line, 2.0 TDCI 180ps
Standard car-on-the-road price of £34,160
The Ford S-Max has been around since 2006, but its evolutions through time mean that it’s anything but old: this is a great, modern family car that looks, feels and drives superbly.
The S-Max is renowned for its versatility and practicality. Its role for the purpose of this test was to transport six adults to the London Marathon; the journey was over a 350-mile round trip, in a freakishly hot April weekend in the UK, with temperatures hitting 27 degrees (that’s hot for us!) In fact, this would prove to be the hottest London Marathon ever recorded. April weather can be hit and miss here, and a hot marathon is a daunting prospect for the runners, who train mostly over the cold winter months: running in these cold temperatures acclimatises your body to them, making it unused to performing in the summer heat. This weather was a real shock to us, so the plan was to travel in a calm and pleasant environment, to best feel prepared for the challenge ahead: no pressure, Ford S-Max!
Our route was split between motorways and city driving, and the Ford ate it all up. The adaptive cruise control, speed limiters and traffic sign recognition are perfect tools when you are negotiating roads you don’t know. The emergency braking is excellent, reacting faster than anybody’s human reactions, and the adaptive cruise control, in particular, is a fantastic piece of kit: not only does it allow you to set your speed, it ensures that you are always a safe distance behind the car in front.
That said, I did have a funny moment with the cruise control as I was driving at 30 mph down what I found out was a 40 mph road. Two frustrated cars overtook me – unfortunately, standing to attention was a speed camera that flashed twice at they roared past. Sorry to those two drivers, who I am sure have by now received a fine and points to their licenses!
The price for this ST-Line standard vehicle is £34,160. However, to add our Ruby Red paint, 19” Rock Metallic Alloys, adaptive cruise control, panoramic roof, rear air conditioning, upgraded stereo, rear view camera, ST line lux pack etc., you can add £7,000 of goodies onto the price. Although our model was the sportier ST Line, the S-Max’s do have the feeling of a car rather than a jumped-up MPV.
Just to confirm, the colour combo was stunning, Ruby Red paint, grey wheels and the luxurious Salerno Leather with Miko Suede in Ebony with red stitching – lovely. The materials used inside and out are all top drawer, from the paint to soft plastics to supple leathers – there is nothing that feels cheap here.
The Ford feels bigger than it is, and I put that down to the long bonnet. It took me a while to get used to the size and shape of the car when parking, but fortunately the parking sensors and the rear-view camera are spot-on.
180ps give a spritely feel to this car, and yet it will happily carry seven people. All of the seats are comfortable, with the main rear seats on slides and able to recline. The rear two seats in the boot are alright, although my adult passengers found the leg room limited, as no dip for your feet leaves your knees resting high. On longer journeys, these seats would become uncomfortable for adults but are great for kids.
The panoramic roof is a brilliant detail. As in many MPV vehicles, when space is tight due to the additional seats, this glass roof opens and lightens the cabin effectively. The air-conditioning works well and distributes the benefits fairly, with vents throughout the car and even present in the boot for the rearmost passengers. Finally, the vast Infotainment Centre is easy to use, with a clear and loud sound system that reaches the whole car.
A top speed of 129 mph and 9.5 for 0-62 are good statistics for this type of vehicle. Our car was heavily loaded with six adults and luggage, and still returned over 45 MPG. The automatic box is smooth, putting down power in an effortless manner.
The S-Max ST-Line is a fun, comfortable and capable car. It isn’t the cheapest option, but you do get what you pay for. We had a stress-free journey to and from London in what could have been very uncomfortable conditions.
It is important to remember that these types of cars try to be everything to everyone, and sometime that fails monumentally. Not so with the S-Max – it proved to be the perfect multi-people mover for the job.