Published on May 3rd, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Ford S-Max Luxury MPV test drive review
The luxury MPV segment. This is a tough segment to break into. Why? Well simple. There are way too many units of gray/reconditioned/used large Japanese brand MPVs being allowed into the market with minimal tax paid allowing used car dealers to offer a very low purchase price and high car loans. This has ‘pushed’ new MPV sales down as car manufacturers selling new MPV’s have to pay full tax, offer full warranties and provide after sales service with proper facilities. Realistically, they cannot compete with the used MPV segment despite buyers of used MPV’s having after sales issues and in-car systems that ‘speak’ to them in Japanese language and offer no software upgrades at all during ownership. Ford in Malaysia knows this but has decided to give Malaysians an option.
We are looking at the latest version of Ford’s luxury family MPV which has just arrived in Malaysia with a full warranty and after sales program at a selling price of just RM234,258.50. This is an all-new S-MAX MPV.
The Ford design team evolved the fresh and distinctive exterior styling of the original S‑MAX for an even more dynamic and upscale impression. The sleek and sporty S-MAX profile stands out from the crowd to deliver a unique proposition for customers. A lower roofline, slim-line lights and muscular haunches around the wheel arches ensure the all-new S-MAX appears wider, sharper, and has an even more distinctive presence than ever.
The charismatic S-MAX silhouette and distinctive window-line is now even more desirable, complemented by signature LED Day Time Running Lights and technically styled rear LED taillights that add visual width. They are connected by a signature satin chrome strip. A rear diffuser separates integrated exhaust pipes for a modern, sporty feel.
Inside, a mature, sophisticated and dynamic feel includes a sculpted centre console that flows from the upper instrument panel; aluminium accent above the glovebox; and stadium style seating design for second and third row seating space. Soft-touch materials and accent stitching are used throughout the all-new S-MAX interior. Materials can resist the wear and tear delivered by active families through anti-stain coatings and durability testing including soil and coffee application.
The traditional instrument cluster makes way for an optional driver-facing 10-inch digital screen with animated analogue-style speedometer and rev-counter. Users also can customise the display settings and 3D graphics on the digital screen for a personalised and interactive experience.
An 8-inch high-resolution touchscreen in the centre console enables drivers to control Ford SYNC 2 with Voice Control to operate phone, entertainment, climate and navigation systems using simple conversational language.
Front seats are electric with air vents in them and a massage function built in for relaxing long drives. The Easy-Fold system enables each rear seat to be folded flat from a push-button control panel.
Easy-Entry second row seats provide one touch access to third row seating. Recognising that S‑MAX rear passengers expect the same comfort as those in the front, Ford has ensured they can select their own climate settings with auxiliary controls and a dedicated climate system.
Additional sound-deadening materials, improved door seals, and magnetic mass damper technology built into the roof to counteract vibration, make for a quieter cabin, and the S-MAX features first-in-segment heated and cooled Ford Multi-Contour Seats that offer the Active Motion massage function.
Contours and firmness of the rear seats have been refined to deliver optimised comfort for rear seat passengers. The all-new S-MAX interior offers best-in-class solutions for accommodating the storage needs of occupants, with options including new covered stowage in the instrument panel top, a media storage area incorporated into the centre stack, and concealed under-floor stowage behind the third row seats.
Active and passive safety
S-MAX has been designed to help ensure you arrive at your destination not just relaxed, but also safe and sound. The body structure of the all-new S-MAX is three per cent stronger through the increased use of ultra-high strength steel, and offers additional active safety features that include, for the first time, second-row seat side-airbags. Total 7-airbags for 7-passengers.
Vehicle stability also is enhanced with Curve Control and Roll Stability Control systems that adjust engine torque and braking to help drivers maintain control.
The all-new S-MAX uses camera, radar, and ultrasonic devices to deliver more than 16 remarkable driving technologies that help you drive and control your vehicle safely, including:
- Pre-Collision Assist applies braking if a collision with another vehicle ahead is imminent first sounding an alert and then displaying a warning onto the windscreen from 5mph up to the maximum speed
- Adaptive LED headlamp technology employs Fords Adaptive Front Lighting System to adjust the headlight beam angle to match the driving environment
- Glare-Free Highbeam technology detects vehicles ahead, both on-coming and travelling in the same direction, and fades out light that could dazzle from the adaptive LED headlamp technology while retaining maximum illumination for other areas
Driving The S-MAX
The steering is meaty and it is lovely to hold with surprising agility and poise over our Petaling Jaya city roads. The 240bhp Ecoboost engine with the new 6-speed selectshift gearbox offers quick, smooth changes that are appropriately timed dependent on how you are driving, chasing a high gear for economy’s sake most of the time, but clinging onto its gears right to the rev limiter with the accelerator pedal pushed to the floor when you want to chase down a Vellfire. Changes are rapid and seamless.
The EcoBoost unit is impressive with a nice wide spread of torque right across the rev range so it is flexible and lag-free, although it never feels urgent in city traffic because of the bulk of the car. In city traffic and also on the open highway its quiet and when it does start screaming it is still hushed with a nice thrum. This S-MAX gets Fords precise new Adaptive Front Steering that will make it a joy to negotiate twisty roads. The system optimizes steering response, continually changing the ratio between the steering and road wheels according to vehicle speed. At lower speeds, such as when pulling into a parking space or maneuvering in tight quarters, the new system makes the vehicle more agile and easier to turn. At higher speeds, it enables S-MAX to react more smoothly and precisely to driver input.
Ford’s new integral link rear suspension helps enhance the nameplates class-leading driving dynamics with a configuration that features reduced-weight aluminum components, provides more dynamic performance, and significantly improves refinement and ride quality in particular for rear seat passengers.
We like the big and spacious S-MAX. It is priced all but identical to the immediate but has all its quality, comfort and technology. It’s becoming more and more common place to say this, but here is another large MPV with fuel economy that puts it in the eco-bracket, but which demands no compromise for it. Few people choose this sort of car for fun, but the S-MAX is more proof that people carriers are getting more fun to drive as time continues to tick along.
Specifications Ford S-MAX 2.0L EcoBoost
Engine: 2.0 EcoBoost, DOHC, 16V
Transmission: 6-speed Selectshift semiauto
Max Power: 240hp @ 5500rpm
Max Torque: 345Nm @ 2300-4500rpm
Maximum Speed: 210km/h