Ford S-MAX SCTi road test

Ford's sporty MPV for the evo crowd gets a new petrol turbo and twin-clutch 'box

Evo rating
Price
from £25,000
  • It's a people carrier for people like us
  • The characterful 2.5 turbo's gone...

What is it? It’s the refreshed version of Ford’s ‘sports’ MPV, with a plethora of tech changes hidden beneath subtle styling tweaks. The S-MAX has been on sale three years, and outsells its more practical Galaxy sibling (9373 sales in 2009 versus 8005). Technical highlights? The debut of Ford’s new Ecoboost direct-injection petrol engines in the shape of a 200bhp 2-litre turbo, bringing diesel levels of emissions and low-down torque to a high-revving petrol unit. In the S-Max it’s mated exclusively to Ford’s twin-clutch Powershift gearbox. Ford's thumping new Premium Sound System is on the options list. What’s it like to drive? Rather good. It’s not quite a seven-seater Focus ST, but for its size and weight it corners flatter than you dare imagine, and encourages you to tackle the twisties with enthusiasm. Not that you’d want to with a car full of kids, mind you. The clever new engine revs cleanly and smoothly and provides more than adequate amounts of power, though it lacks the characterful delivery of the five-cylinder 2.5-litre turbo it replaces. The twin-clutch ’box is great, with smooth auto and slick manual modes. How does it compare? It’s the only MPV with any evo credentials. The only rival that comes vaguely close dynamically is the Mazda 5, but the S-Max is quicker, cleaner and better looking. A nearly-new 5-series Touring might trouble it, though. Anything else I need to know? Ecoboost engines are the future for petrol-powered Fords. The new Focus ST will also get this 2-litre unit, though in 237bhp tune and probably with a six-speed manual. We suspect we’ll miss that five-cylinder warble…

Specifications

Engine1999cc, 4-cyl, turbo
Max power200bhp @ 5500rpm
Max torque221lb ft @ 1750rpm
0-608.5sec
Top speed137mph
On saleApril 2010
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