It’s easy to overstate the first S-Max’s basic good looks, but it was one of the first models to feature Ford’s ‘kinetic design’ philosophy, and if you think about what the Volkswagen Sharan, Seat Alhambra and outgoing Galaxy looked like in 2006, it was certainly chiselled by comparison for a seven-seater.
In truth, the new car has not fallen desperately far from the tree. The decision to move the front pillar back to provide the car with a longer bonnet is mildly contentious. Some testers prefer the S-Max’s previous profile to the one Ford has optimistically characterised as being ‘even more dynamic’.
Either way, the front end finally gets the raised chrome trapezoidal grille and slim headlight design that have been common features elsewhere in the Ford line-up for a while, and the rear is a little more tapered for effect than you’ll find elsewhere in the segment.
Because it shares the Mondeo’s platform, the S-Max gains some of that model’s virtues – namely, the aluminium-rich integral-link rear suspension and the superior attention paid to refinement levels.
Much as it did with the Mondeo, Ford claims better sportiness from the chassis, but more so the improvement in ride quality for rear passengers, possible thanks to the integral link that allows the wheels more freedom to travel rearwards than was the case with the previous suspension. Ford also cites a 3dB reduction in road noise for those seated in the back.