There’s just a touch of the dreaded ‘difficult second album’ syndrome about the new S-Max.

It was on the cards. Ford set the template for how to successfully add dynamism to a big passenger car nine years ago, and rivals on all sides have been raising their game ever since.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Road test editor
Looks and drives better than most but not the class-leader it was

The new S-Max doesn’t appeal in quite the same way as the previous one. On performance, ride and handling, Ford has failed to make a perfectly competent car appreciably better than what went before. It also feels as if the car’s versatility, exterior styling and perceived quality have been somewhat ‘phoned in’.

That’s being a bit hard on what remains a more than respectable, competitive and generally pleasing to drive family car – but then ‘hard’ is what the Autocar road test is here to be.

If you liked the last S-Max, chances are you’ll like this one. It’s a good car. But it’s no longer a great one.

Save money on your car insurance

Top 5 Seven-seater MPVs

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Ford range

Driven this week

  • DS 3 Crossback 2019 road test review - hero front
    19 July 2019
    Car review
    French premium brand gets PSA’s new supermini platform first. Does it deliver...
  • BMW 318d front three quarters on the road
    18 July 2019
    First Drive
    Entry-level diesel is likeable addition to range but doesn't live up to...
  • MG ZS EV 2019 UK first drive review - hero front
    17 July 2019
    First Drive
    Cheap, spacious and all-round endearing electric version of MG's ZS soft...

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Ford range

Driven this week

  • DS 3 Crossback 2019 road test review - hero front
    19 July 2019
    Car review
    French premium brand gets PSA’s new supermini platform first. Does it deliver...
  • BMW 318d front three quarters on the road
    18 July 2019
    First Drive
    Entry-level diesel is likeable addition to range but doesn't live up to...
  • MG ZS EV 2019 UK first drive review - hero front
    17 July 2019
    First Drive
    Cheap, spacious and all-round endearing electric version of MG's ZS soft...