Ford S-MAX
Ford S-MAX

A bit of a 'looker', Ford's new S-MAX is positioned between the Mondeo and new Galaxy.

Although the S-MAX and the Galaxy are both labelled MPV's, they serve slightly different purposes. The Galaxy is built for comfort while the S-MAX offers seating flexibility and a sportier attitude.

Lower and shorter than the Galaxy, the S-MAX has a purposeful, almost aggressive face that slopes up into a sleek roofline. The windscreen has an enormous expanse of glass and joins the roof just before the tallest part of the car. The roof then follows a long, shallow arc towards the rear where it forms a 'fast back' rear end.

Just behind the front, flared wheel arches, are air vents which are more design elements than functional and add to the sporty appearance along with the 'gills' integrated into the lower front skirt.

The back has wrap-around tail-lamps and a deep rear windscreen with chamfered lower corners echoing the shape of the bonnet. It's quite curvy and a departure from the usual slabby tailgate. The rear door-handle is set at a sensible height as is the load floor within. The S-MAX has a 5+2 seating configuration but the last row of two can be swapped for a sliding load platform for the boot instead. If you are short, it does make life a whole lot easier.

If you go for the extra row of seats, they will accommodate passengers up to 1.8 metres tall but the leg room is limited and the rear carrying capacity is diminished somewhat. It wouldn't be possible to fill all of the seats and still have room for the occupant's luggage. In fact with all the seats in place, there are 285-litres of space to the shelf-line which is just about enough to hold a couple of shopping bags.

For load-lugging, the S-MAX comes with the Ford FoldFlatSystem or FFS by which means the second and third rows of seats can be easily flattened to form a level floor and at the same time increasing the load capacity to a maximum of 2,000-litres, measured to the roof. As all of the seats are individual, there are lots of different seating configurations - no less than 32, according to Ford. The company also tells us that there are 26 storage compartments, including two sizeable cubbies hidden below the floor behind the front seats, full length door bins at the front and a 14-litre glovebox. The front seats have drawers underneath and airline-style folding tables on the back.

Published : 04/11/06 Author : Melanie Carter

Ford S-MAX News

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