Ford describes the seating pattern as ‘5+2’, indicating that the rearmost pair of seats is best suited to children, although there’s just enough leg and headroom to keep things bearable for adults so long as the journey is short. Access to the third row is good.
Moving forward, there’s ample leg, elbow and headroom for five adults, and while the seats aren’t quite as armchair-like as those of some rivals, they are well shaped and supportive.
The driving position is quite upright, with the steering wheel tilted towards the windscreen and the front edge of the seat set fairly high in relation to the pedals.
That said, the seats and steering wheel have plenty of adjustment, and the fascia is clearly laid out and places everything within easy reach. Many of the switch functions are on the chunky four-spoke steering wheel, controlled by a pair of toggle-and-press switches like those on many mobile phones. This looks complex but works well.
Much of the interior appears solidly built and there are plenty of appealingly tactile materials on the fascia and doors. Some of the other plastics, especially towards the rear, seem cheaper and look as if they could be easily scratched and marked. The handbrake – a broad handle with a straight up and down action – is a neat touch that frees some console storage space.
After some use, however, we suspect the black plastic trim could begin to look messy, with its glossy finish showing dust and finger marks a lot faster than a duller matt grey finish might.
Though visibility in the S-Max is good, thanks to the split A-pillars and low waistline, this model and the Galaxy are the first European Fords to get the company’s Blind Spot Information System. It works well, and is a relatively cheap and worthy option for those who plan to cover a lot of miles.