In-depth reviews

Ford S-MAX review - Reliability and Safety

Plenty of safety tech on board and a five-star Euro NCAP rating

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Reliability and Safety Rating

3.5 out of 5

£38,540 to £42,150
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The Ford S-MAX doesn't sell in big enough numbers to appear in the Auto Express Driver Power ownership survey. However, its scores do contribute towards Ford's overall ranking, and with the company regularly finishing in the lower third of the manufacturer ranking, it seems that owners aren't that impressed with their cars. Ford itself finished in 23rd place out of 30 manufacturers in the 2019 Driver Power survey

When Auto Express ran a Ford S-MAX long-termer, we found a few electrical niggles entering the system later in its time with us. Considering the amount of electrical kit on board, these faults were only very minor, but still frustrating nonetheless.


The S-MAX was awarded a full five-star rating when it was tested by Euro NCAP in 2015. All cars get a host of airbags and tyre pressure monitoring, as well as Isofix points on all three middle row seats. Other tech includes automatic braking, variable lock steering and a system that recognises road signs and adjusts the car’s speed accordingly. Unlike rivals, however, the S-MAX does not come with airbags in the middle row of seats, which could be a concern for parents especially if small children will regularly be on board.


The Ford S-MAX comes with the same 3 year/60,000-mile warranty as the rest of the Ford range. This includes 12 months' roadside assistance, while Ford offers extended warranties of 4yr/80k or 5yr/100k at the time of purchasing the vehicle.


Ford offers the Ford Protect service plan on the S-MAX. This covers maintenance costs and also extends the length of the roadside assistance cover, while Protect Plus offers even more cover for high-mileage drivers. This could be useful on an S-MAX, as its extra weight puts greater wear and tear on the mechanical components.

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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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