The Ford S-Max has everything you need from a multi-purpose vehicle because it’s spacious (with seven seats), comfortable and practical, but it also has something you, as an Autocar reader, probably want and seldom find in an MPV: driver’s car characteristics.
We say ‘MPV’ because that’s what it is. However, at the second-generation S-Max’s launch in 2015, it was instead labelled it as a ‘sports activity vehicle’, to differentiate it from the larger Ford Galaxy MPV. In line with that more sporting remit, the S-Max was fitted with Ford’s adaptive front steering system, optional all-wheel drive and some brand-new engines.
At launch, a 2.0-litre turbo diesel (TDCi) was available with four power outputs. The 118bhp version used a six-speed manual gearbox and was the most economical option (56.5mpg WLTP combined) but lacked punch (0-62mph in 13.4sec).
The next step up was a 147bhp diesel but a more tempting 177bhp version was capable of 0-62mph in 9.5sec yet returned a claimed 54.3mpg. These two were available with a six-speed automatic gearbox.
The diesel range was capped by a twin-turbo 2.0 with 207bhp and 298lb ft. This model cut the 0-62mph time to 8.8sec but still offered a claimed 55.4mpg.
The entry-level petrol S-Max had Ford’s excellent 1.5-litre Ecoboost, producing 157bhp and driving via a six-speed manual. A 2.0-litre petrol raised the stakes to 263bhp and 254lb ft. Using a six-speed automatic, it covered 0-62mph in 8.4sec and achieved a claimed 35.8mpg.
The S-Max had four trim levels at launch, but much of the equipment offered today remains the same. Entry-level Zetec originally came with Ford’s most up-to-date Sync 3 infotainment with an 8.0in screen, plus 17in wheels, a DAB radio, sports seats and parking sensors.