The all-new Ford S-Max goes on sale in summer 2015, and has a new look, a brand new seating system and more equipment than the current car.
What is it?
The new S-Max is Ford's second-generation seven-seat MPV.
It has a strong act to follow, as the first-generation S-Max combined a practical cabin with engaging driving dynamics. However, Ford promises a more premium interior, along with the adoption of four-wheel drive and an all-new chassis.
The new car will retain almost identical dimensions as the model it replaces, but sits lower, has a marginally higher window line and gets full-LED headlights on higher trim levels.
These headlights work in a similar way to the ones on the latest generation of Mercedes S-Class, and use a camera to identify oncoming cars. When the system detects an oncoming car or the rear lights of vehicles ahead, it masks parts of the light so the approaching driver doesn’t get dazzled.
What engines can I choose from?
A new 158bhp 1.5-litre Ecoboost petrol engine is offered, mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. For those wanting more power, a 2.0-litre Ecoboost petrol unit with 237bhp is also available.
Three 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engines will be offered, with 118bhp, 148bhp and 178bhp outputs. Of these, the 118bhp 2.0-litre diesel is set to be the most economical, with emissions of around 120g/km expected.
Ford is expanding the range of models that will be available, with all-wheel-drive cars being offered for the first time. However, the more powerful versions of the diesel will be the only engines to get it.
How much equipment does it come with?
The S-Max gets the same clean, buttonless look as the new Mondeo. The centre of the dash is dominated by an 8.0-inch touch-screen and Ford’s latest Sync2 system. Everything from standard-fit Bluetooth, digital radio and the optional satellite-navigation is operated through the screen.
More space has been freed up in the central console by the standard fitment of an electronic parking brake. This means there is more room for cupholders, and the two on offer are incredibly deep and will easily swallow tall bottles.
The technology included in the S-Max has risen dramatically with several items now offered that normally only feature on much more expensive models. These include a panoramic roof, front and rear cameras, a heated steering wheel, and an autonomous braking system that can bring the car to a standstill from up to 112mph.
The new S-Max is the same size as the old car, although Ford has changed the seats and increased the equipment to make more of the space inside.
To improve access to the third row of seats the second row now moves up and forward. All five of the rear seats can be folded individually, while the middle row slide as well. In a first for the sector, you can choose an option that allows all five seats to be dropped using buttons in the boot. Once folded they create a totally flat load bay, and a lip-free entry to the boot.
Other practical touches include a hands-free tailgate, operated by waving a foot underneath the bumper, and a tow-hitch that folds out electronically. Safety in the back has increased too, because the middle seats now have airbags in the side. Seatbelt pre-tensioners have also been added.
The S-Max is set to be the second model in Ford’s range to be offered with a version under the company’s new Vignale brand, following on from the Mondeo. The S-Max Vignale will offer similar increased interior quality, with upgraded leathers, stitching and chrome.
How much will it cost?
Prices for the S-Max will be set closer to its launch in summer 2015, but are not expected to deviate greatly from those of the current car, which starts at around £23,000. However, the Vignale models might add a little to the existing £31,400 top-of-the-range version.
Can I get a discount?
Hefty discounts were available on the outgoing Ford S-Max, including up to £5,000 off in some cases. This is likely for the new model, however, only once it is at least several months into its life cycle.