The genius of the previous S-Max extended in several different dimensions. It was not only fine-handling but also great-looking and apparently right-sized. Owners got that bit more second and third-row occupant space than a compact seven-seater offered, and a slightly bigger boot – and yet they didn’t have to settle for a car that distantly resembled a converted box van.
But that was then. The S-Max now has myriad imitators and its position is no longer quite so distinct or secure. As our measurements prove, this is still a practical car – even for an MPV. Ford’s preference for stadium-style seating conspires here with an optional panoramic glass sunroof to limit second-row head room, but the car still has 70mm more third-row head room than an equivalent Citroën Grand C4 Picasso.
The Ford’s boot is usefully longer (in five-seat mode) and wider than the Citroën’s, too. Smaller adults can use the S-Max’s third row as well as kids, which is something of a boon. But the same is true of the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer, which has a narrower cabin but slightly more cargo space than the Ford (in five-seat mode) as well as a roomier second row.
Ford’s management of the S-Max’s cabin space is also only so clever. All five rear chairs fold easily and lightly enough for one-handed operation, and the middle three seats also slide fore and aft independently.