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In-depth reviews

Ford S-MAX review - Interior, design and technology

By far the most handsome MPV in its class, with sleek lines and classy interior

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Interior, design and technology Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£38,540 to £42,150
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It’s clear that Ford thinks it’s struck gold with its latest nose design, as the big grille and slender headlights of the new S-MAX are largely identical to the front end of the Mondeo, Focus and higher-spec versions of the Fiesta.

It certainly gives the S-MAX a smart, upmarket look, with thin chrome bars framed by even more chrome trim, while the headlights add a dash of style, too. The car in our pictures featured the £1,000 adaptive LED option, bringing smart daytime running lights that turn into strobing indicators when you signal.

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In pictures, the S-MAX appears similar to its predecessor, but in the flesh, it definitely has a sportier look. Overall, it’s longer and wider than before, yet it hides its bulk well. There are sharp creases down the flanks, and the curved roof line adds a sporty touch not seen on any other MPV. The old car’s big wheelarch blisters are ditched in favour of more subtle flared arches, while the rakish rear end has a smarter, sportier look than its predecessor.

Quality is up, too, with a much plusher feel and swathes of upmarket materials and solid-feeling controls. Yes, the usual scratchy plastics are evident if you peer into the footwells, but it’s a big improvement over the old model.

Standard kit includes 17-inch alloys, while Titanium cars add privacy glass, LED daytime running lights and more body coloured trim. As the name suggests, ST-Line models are the most athletic-looking, with 18-inch wheels, a full body kit and subtle rear spoiler.

Opt for one of the posher S-MAX Vignale models and you'll benefit from heated leather seats and laminated side glass for improved refinement. There's lashings of chrome on the outside, too, but it's not suddenly transformed into a luxury car - the standard model is just as good looking.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

Ford upped its game from summer 2016 with the SYNC 3 system, which is much clearer, responds better to the touch and comes with even more of the latest features, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    2.0 EcoBlue Zetec 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £30,700

Most Economical

  • Name
    2.5 FHEV 190 Titanium 5dr CVT
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £38,240

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 EcoBlue 190 ST-Line 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £37,400
Senior test editor

Dean has been part of the Auto Express team for more than 20 years, and has worked across nearly all departments, starting on magazine production, then moving to road tests and reviews. He's our resident van expert, but covers everything from scooters and motorbikes to supercars and consumer products.

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