Here are the first official images and details of the new 2015 Ford S-Max ahead of its appearance at the 2014 Paris motor show. This is, despite initial appearances, a genuinely all-new MPV, based on the same Ford large car platform as the forever-imminent new Mondeo (which actually finally arrives later this year).
So what do hard driving mums and dads have to look forward to in the new S-Max? Alongside the sharper visuals – including the inevitable adoption of the latest Ford (nee Aston Martin) front grille – there’s a revised range of engines and a whole host of new technology on board.
2015 Ford S-Max: ‘dynamic sanctuary’ with power everything
Ford says the new S-Max will be every bit as good to drive as the current car, which exists in a class of one as far as genuinely entertaining people carriers go. Beyond this there’s a comprehensive effort to enhance the degree of comfort and luxury buyers and passengers will experience, following on from the Ford Vignale concept that previewed the new S-Max design earlier in the year.
As such, Ford’s called the new interior design a ‘dynamic sanctuary’. Possibly someone should think about reducing the caffeine dosage in the marketing department. The basic upshot of this is that you get power everything, including the 'Easy-Fold' mechanism for the second and third row of seats, which folds each individual rear seat at the press of a button. A class first, though one that’s unlikely to come as standard on the entry model.
Other lux features include powered steering column adjustment, multi-contour massaging seats with heating and cooling function, heated steering wheel, hands-free tailgate utilising the increasingly prevalent ‘kick to open’ system and Active Noise Control. Whether that includes a button to mute the kids, Ford isn’t yet saying. Back seat passengers also get their own ventilation controls.
Will drivers have to do anything for themselves in the new 2015 Ford S-Max?
It’s not just creature comforts – Ford is also cramming in the safety tech. This doesn’t quite go as far as the heart rate monitor built into the Vignale concept’s driving seat, but does include ‘Glare-Free’ LED adaptive headlights that automatically adjust to avoid dazzling other road users and ‘Intelligent Speed Assist’. This goes beyond regular adaptive cruise control by interacting with the traffic sign recognition system and satellite navigation to automatically reduce the set speed to keep you legal. It’s particularly useful for temporary speed restrictions on motorways, we’re told.
The new S-Max is also first in segment with a Pre-Collision Assist package – a last resort function that warns of impact, then slams on the brakes if the driver fails to react. There are also second-row side airbags and seat-belt pre-tensioners (making the third row even less attractive than it already was) blind spot monitors, lane keep alert, and a fully updated suite of self-parking functions.
This includes a front split-view camera and rear Cross Traffic Alert. Second-generation Ford MyKey allows you to restrict driver privileges if someone else borrows your new S-Max, while second-generation Ford SYNC / MyTouch takes care of the infotainment. There's a large 10-inch screen option for this, and the enhanced voice command system allows you to say things like 'I'm hungry' to automatically find local restaurants.
2015 Ford S-Max: engines, price and on-sale date
Updating the driving experience, the S-Max features Ford Adaptive Steering, designed to make it more nimble around town and more stable at speed. Going beyond this, the new S-Max also feature Torque Steer Control and Active Nibble Control, intended to filter out unwanted feedback. If that's code for 'really dead steering' we're not going to be impressed.
The petrol engine line-up includes new 158bhp 1.5-litre EcoBoost manual and 237bhp 2.0-litre EcoBoost automatic selections. S-Max ST, anyone. On the diesel side there’s a new 118bhp 2.0-litre TDCi with six-speed manual, plus revised versions of the existing 148bhp and 178bhp 2.0-litre TDCis offered with a choice of manual gearbox or PowerShift automatic transmission.
A new Active Thermal Management System improves the warm up time, helping achieve what Ford anticipates to be class-leading mpg and CO2 efficiency figures. The S-Max will also be offered with four-wheel drive for the first time.
The new Ford S-Max goes on sale in Summer 2015. Prices will be announced closer to launch, but expect an increase over the current version, which presently starts at £23,310.