Ford S-Max Leasing

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Ford S-MAX Reviews

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The S-MAX remains a unique proposition in the seven-seat MPV market. Steve Walker reports.

As you read this, there are intelligent, highly paid executives working throughout the automotive industry. These individuals are racking their brains, studying sales data and interrogating focus groups in attempts to get a lead on the next niche market that's ripe for exploitation. A few years ago now, some bright spark at Ford hit on a particularly good one. The resulting Ford S-MAX MPV brought previously unheard of levels of dynamism to the market for big seven-seat vehicles. As the first on the scene, Ford raked in the plaudits and its coffers swelled accordingly.

Need an MPV but would rather drive something a bit sportier? Ford created the S-MAX just for you. It's a car with great handling that's also spacious enough to seat seven. On the road, it avoids the rolly-polly MPV stereotypes, rewarding its driver but not at the expense of passenger comfort. It also looks far sportier than the average seven-seater, which is half the battle.

Today, the S-MAX has been around for a while but other brands have conspicuously failed to top it. From its position of dominance in the market for large family vehicles that don't look and drive like minibuses, Ford could have rested easy but instead, it undertook a programme of improvements on the S-MAX in a bid to maintain its stay in the limelight. The latest cars benefit from enhancements to the styling, interior quality and engine range which genuinely appear to move the game forward.

There was always the suspicion that the S-MAX could handle more power than its mainstream engines had to offer. Buyers wanting to make the most of its fluent handling and alert responses could opt for the 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine but its high running costs were a major deterrent in a family vehicle. Today's S-MAX is far more able to maximise its fun factor on the road, without tipping owners into economic meltdown, thanks to some highly advanced engines. It's the diesels that will still gain the most attention and there are three 2.0-litre units to choose from. The 114bhp and 138bhp 2.0-litre Duratorq units will sound familiar but improvements across the board see these common-rail injection engines comply with EuroV emissions standards while also achieving strong refinement and performance. The range-topping diesel is based on the same architecture as the lesser units but produces a sizable 161bhp, enough to give a fully-laden S-MAX lively performance. All of which brings us to the highlight of the engine portfolio, the 2.0-litre EcoBoost SCTi petrol engine. It sounds impressive and, with 200bhp plus 300Nm maximum torque available throughout a 1,750rpm to 4,500rpm rev band, it is. This all-aluminium engine uses direct fuel injection, low-inertia turbocharging and twin independent variable cam timing to achieve its impressive performance. It can take the S-MAX from a standstill to 60mph in 8.5s and hit a 137mph top speed which is brisk indeed for a full-size seven-seater.

A good-looker from the outset and having aged well, the S-MAX didn't obviously need a styling refresh. Today's cars still feature the basic elements of Ford's Kinetic design programme but they've grown edgier, with the headlights, side intakes and foglights angled down towards the bold trapezoidal air-intake below the narrow grille. The rear has a more sculpted tailgate with foglights that extend right round into the car's flanks. The distinctively long, low S-MAX shape with its super-steeply raked windscreen forming a wedge-like nose remains. The cabin is built around the Ford FoldFlatSystem which allows 32 different seating permutations. The second and third rows of seats all fold flat to form a genuinely huge load floor that measures 2.0 by 1.15 metres, about as big as a double bed. A number of lashing points are located across the floor and on the cabin sides, helping to prevent your belongings from destroying themselves if you do fail to resist the Ford's sporty character. The perennial complaint of seven-seat vehicles, namely that there's no room for luggage when all seven seats are occupied, is partly addressed by the S-MAX which offers 285 litres of space with all seats in place.

The S-MAX attacks the market for seven seat vehicles in tandem with its sister vehicle, the Ford Galaxy. The two bear a lot of similarities but while the S-MAX tries to bring a sporty element to the market, the Galaxy treads along more traditional MPV lines. The Galaxy will be the choice if practicality is your number one priority and the S-MAX is the MPV for people who'd rather be driving something with a bit more pizzazz but are forced into a seven-seater by domestic circumstances. The latest S-MAX has grown notably more high-tech. Both on the options list and included in the various trim levels are some choice bits of technological wizardry. Ford's keyless entry system is a boon when you're approaching the vehicle with an armful of something or other and the Easyfuel system is an ingenious feature that stops the worst case scenario developing when you forget if your car runs on petrol of diesel. There's an ASLD Adjustable Speed Limiter Device which can prevent the vehicle exceeding the pre-set speed limit and the Blind Sport Information System warns drivers when a vehicle is in their blind spot area.

Running an S-MAX should be a comparatively affordable business thanks to the latest crop of engines. The Duratorq diesels are capable of returning close to 50mpg on the combined cycle with emissions in the 150g/km ballpark. Go the feisty 2.0 SCTi petrol engine and the 35mpg combined economy is very good for a vehicle of this size with this performance. Emissions are 189g/km.

Most MPVs are enough to put you to sleep. In the S-MAX, Ford developed one with a bit of personality. Happily, the S-MAX manages to inject its element of flair without sacrificing basic MPV qualities like space, safety and practicality. Its arrival moved the large MPV game on significantly by proving that such vehicles needn't be dull and the latest models edge the game forward again with some desirable engine options and extra technology features. The Ford S-MAX gives you a great driving experience bound-up in a package that feels genuinely special. The sleek exterior lines and quality interior make this a large MPV you can feel proud about owning. The seating system works well, helping you get the most out of the car's prodigious interior space. Although the rearmost row isn't the most spacious, it's fine for the children who will be its most likely occupants.

Ford S-MAX Videos

Ford S-MAX Images

Why lease a Ford S-Max?

Ford describes the S-Max as a "flexible sports activity vehicle that looks and drives like no other".

The S-Max is a large, 7-seater family car yet it provides more of a small car-like driving experience with precision handling and flexibility, practicality and efficiency as core focuses for this well-thought out car.

Key features of the S-Max

The substantial boot capacity means that you could even use the S-Max to move house. The rearmost row of seats is better suited to smaller children, but it could still accommodate adults. 

The seven-seater is surprisingly sharp when turning with well weighted steering, great grip and good body control. All of these factors contribute to the S-Max’s remarkable agility. Ford has designed a remarkable vehicle that helps it hide its dimensions well, and it looks fantastic compared to the Ford Galaxy. Furthermore, the sleek shape doesn’t come at the expense of practicality.

The S-Max achieved an impressive overall five star Euro NCAP rating. Also, all versions are well equipped. Even entry-level cars have dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth and four electric windows. The S-max may cost more than its rivals but you are certainly getting more for your money. Overall, it’s the perfect family car that combines comfort with a quality ride. 

Reasons to lease an S-Max

  • Intelligent AWD system keeps the car balanced in tough conditions
  • Pay much lower rentals to lease than you would to buy
  • Get a brand new car for a low price
  • Active Park Assist guides you into parking spots

Conclusion

The S-Max is perfect if you want a people mover with a bit more poke than a normal MPV and one that feels less sluggish and cumbersome. With that considered and its flexibility inside the S-Max stands out from the rest of the market.

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