Ford S-MAX (2006 – 2015) Review

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Ford S-MAX (2006 – 2015) At A Glance

4/5

+Strong blend of comfort and performance. Fun to drive. Standard equipment is high on all models.

-Third row of seats are cramped. Boot is tiny when carrying seven. Cannot be fitted with a spare wheel.

Insurance Groups are between 15–27
On average it achieves 82% of the official MPG figure

The Ford S-MAX is one of the best family cars around, combining a large and practical cabin with a fun and rewarding drive. Admittedly, it lacks some of the high tech toys of its rivals, but Ford's seven-seater leads the way when it comes to handling, refinement and ride quality.

Standard equipment on the S-MAX is impressive and all models get parking sensors, dual zone air conditioning and sports seats. It also has a heated windscreen, capless refuelling and an aircraft-styled handbrake, although the latter takes a bit of getting used to. 

The interior of the S-MAX is huge, with three rows of seats and up to 2000 litres of storage. The second and third row seats can be folded completely flat, which transforms the cabin into a practical van, capable of carrying mountain bikes, furniture and pets, with an optional load retention guard. There are some issues though. The seats are a fiddly to fold and boot space drops to a paltry 285 litres when in full seven-seater mode.

On the upside, the cabin is light and airy and there's plenty of storage, with a decent scattering of cubby holes. There's also an abundance of head and legroom for those sitting in the front two rows, but things are a little cramped in the third row, although it will be fine for kids. 

The big Ford is great fun to drive, hiding its large dimensions with responsive handling, meaningful acceleration and minimal body roll in the corners. The cabin is also quiet, with little road or wind noise, which makes the S-MAX a comfortable car for long trips. 

There's a wide choice of engines with seven diesels and three petrols to choose from. The entry level 1.6-litre EcoBoost will cover 0-62mph in a respectable 9.8 seconds, while the 2.0-litre units will rival most hot hatches for acceleration and top speed. The diesels are also good, although the 1.6 only has 115PS and needs a bit of work to get going.

When it comes to family cars, we cannot think of many that match the S-MAX for all round performance, practicality and style. In fact, we'd go so far to say it's one of the best family cars money can buy. It will also suit driving enthusiasts who want a rewarding and spacious MPV that will rival the Focus ST at the traffic lights. 

Ford S-MAX 2006 Range Road Test

Ford S-MAX 2010 2.0 Ecoboost Powershift Road Test

Looking for a Ford S-MAX (2006 - 2015)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

Real MPG average for a Ford S-MAX (2006 – 2015)

RealMPG

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

82%

Real MPG

20–55 mpg

MPGs submitted

847

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

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Ask Honest John

An electrical fault is draining the battery if my car is not used regularly - how do I find it?
"An electrical fault is draining the battery if my car is not used regularly. What fault could this be and what should I do to rectify the fault? "
It might be the interior light delay switch that can remain live after the light has gone out. Or might be the radio/Bluetooth. If it's the latter, install a separate switch into the radio power lead so you can switch it off entirely separately from the ignition or the radio itself.
Answered by Honest John
The auto gearbox in my Ford S-Max has failed - should Ford take liability?
"My Ford S-Max needs a new automatic gearbox at three years, 47,000 miles. Ford will not accept liability. How should I proceed? "
The wet clutch Getrag Powershift transmission is due a change of fluid and filter every three years. If this was not carried out, then you have no case against the supplier or against Ford. They do routinely fail if correct maintenance is not adhered to.
Answered by Honest John
What things should I look out for when buying a 2008 Ford S-Max?
"I'm looking at buying a 2008 Ford S-Max 2.0 TDCi, 133,000 miles on the clock. It's priced at £2650 and I'm looking at it this week. What things should I be looking for which should have been changed already and, more importantly, how many miles are these good for as this will be the family's only car."
That's taking a chance. You need to know when the timing belt, tensioner, waterpump and aux belt were last replaced. Probably best to replace them all immediately at £500 - £600. The DMF could be on the way out. So could the DPF (which might have been illegally disconnected). You cannot expect reliability.
Answered by Honest John
Should I change the cambelt in my Ford S-MAX at 80,000 miles?
"My 2010 Ford S-Max 2.0 TDI with 80,000 miles on the clock is in for service next week. I asked about a cambelt change, the Ford dealer suggested it does not need changing until 125,000 miles or 10 years. I asked for a quote regardless. They quoted £499 with water pump replacement or £399 without. The £499 seems quite reasonable to me, am I being over cautious getting it done 45,000 before the dealer recommends?"
No, get it done. The Ford dealer isn't going to guarantee that the belt and pump will last 125,000 miles and if the belt fails or the pump fails and throws it off your engine will be toast. Best also to replace the tensioner and the aux belt because timing belts are unprotected at the bottom pulley and if the aux belt comes off it can wrap itself around the bottom pulley and take the timing belt off.
Answered by Honest John

What does a Ford S-MAX (2006 – 2015) cost?

Buy new from £29,250 (list price from £30,955)