Big vans have been driving in reverse for about ten years. There are several reasons for that. One of them is the fact that the respective buyers are moving away to compact vehicles with longer wheelbases. They also offer a lot of space and comfort at a lower cost both for purchase and maintenance. However, there are still some of the space giants, such as the Sharan / Alhambra VW / Seat, the newly reissued, optically trending towards SUV Espace Renault and the Vans of Ford. In the Cologne, the high-build Galaxy plays the role of classic Vans, while the S-Max should appeal to a more athletic-minded clientele. Both Fords are now renewed and will come to the dealers in the fall. The S-Max, available from September at the starting price of 30.150 Euro (1,5 liter petrol / 117 kW / 160 PS), we were already able to drive.
Compared to the predecessor, the newcomer has neatly draufeltelt. Autonomous braking system with pedestrian detection, automatic parking, adaptive LED headlights, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition are just a few examples. New for Ford is the optional 500 Euro surcharge adaptive steering with variable ratio, with which also the first test cars are equipped.
A nice debut, because this option should like even normal drivers at first go. No cranking when maneuvering, because it does not even need a steering wheel turn to the stop. In this way, the 4,80 Meter Liner shrinks even in narrow streets to easily manageable compact.
Two well-known engines Ford has brought for the first exits, including the 132 kW / 180 PS powerful diesel (5,0 liter / 129 g CO2 / km) and the 176 kW / 240 horsepower two-liter turbo gasoline engine (7,9 liter / 180 g CO2 / km ), which now works together with a six-stage torque converter instead of the previously used dual clutch. With both engines, it is great to live or drive. Thus, the diesel with up to 400 Newton meters torque pulls the 1,8-tonner effortlessly even in high gear steep serpentines.
Naturally, you have to turn the petrol engine noticeably higher in order to get forward quickly. He accelerates the S-Max quite strong, but by no means as toxic as one would have expected. This is confirmed by the technical data. In view of the performance weight, one might have expected a seven-point before the decimal point, but the papers certify him 8,4 seconds from the state to 100 km / h. Maybe because of the obligatory six-speed automatic, but at least jerk-free acts. Curvy passages go through the Van agile, but not particularly sporty. Conspicuous are the sluggish dampers - despite 19-Zöller rolls the front-wheel drive Ford polterfrei over short-wave transverse joints.
In terms of noise development, the Otto is of course more pleasant than the diesel; despite four-cylinder he sounds almost sonorous in the partial load. Not that the diesel would be really uncomfortable, but its light buzz at no time denies the kind of combustion. By the way: Compared to a class smaller C-Max, the S-Max is not necessarily more comfortable. The recently tested compact van we have even quieter in memory.
In terms of operation, the S-Max has clearly gained in comparison to its predecessor: There are better structured switch groups and of course the new navigation system with the intuitively controlled touch screen. The computing speed as well as the precision of the route guidance is also good. Modern times also with the infotainment - the instruments exist for the purpose of flexible display possibilities to a large extent from TFT surface. Just the on-board computer values appear a bit squeezed in a tight field, a small flaw that interior designers could fix on occasion.
As befits a good van, the S-Max rolls on request as a seven-seater - for additional 950 Euro. The delicate chairs can be folded at the touch of a button. Against further 700 Euro the boot lid opens by electric motor and can also be controlled by foot movement, which is really practical with full hands.
There is another highly interesting innovation: in conjunction with active cruise control and traffic sign recognition, the prescribed maximum speed is always met, because the system intervenes accordingly. This can be annoying, but prevents nodules and can also be switched off.
If the big Ford comes with up to 2.200 liters of cargo volume in the fall on the market, he will be synonymous with 120 diesel PS (88 kW) to have, then from 31.200 Euro. Thus, the Knollchensammeln should be a bit more difficult anyway.
Conclusion: The S-Max is a great MPV, but not a "Sportvan". The differences to the Galaxy continue to be mainly optical. Apart from that, the S-Max convinces with plenty of space, a modern interior and economical engines. And with some technical tidbits, which we particularly liked the adaptive steering.
Author: Patrick Broich / SP-X