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SMAX OF EFFICIENCY (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Ford's improved MK2 model S-MAX continues to demonstrate that larger MPVs don't have to be boring. Arguably, it makes most sense in 2.0 EcoBlue 190PS diesel guise. Jonathan Crouch reports.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 82
Ford's second generation S-MAX remains a large 7-seater MPV for people who, well, don't like MPVs. Ford calls this a 'Sports Activity Vehicle' - a People Carrier certainly, but one that's more involving to drive and nicer to look at. This sharper-looking MK2 model re-interprets this apparently contradictory concept with greater efficiency and technology, remaining a breath of fresh air in what can otherwise be a pretty dull sector of the market. Let's check out the top 2.0 EcoBlue 190PS diesel version.
Backgroundword count: 134
Owning an MPV, particularly a large one, isn't supposed to be one of life's memorable experiences. A People Carrier is normally a grudge purchase, a vehicle you need rather than one you might want. Or at least it usually is. Ford thinks differently. That's why they brought us the S-MAX, rejuvenated in second generation guise and here further improved. It's stuffed with segment-leading technology and also includes an AWD option to keep those SUVs in their place. Plus it claims to be just as stylish and rewarding as its revolutionary predecessor. Can it continue to offer an appealing option if you need a large MPV but just don't want one? We elected to check out this car with the top version of the 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engine, the 190PS unit that many will want.
Driving Experienceword count: 268
The fact that Ford has its marginally more practical Galaxy model for those only concerned with practical 7-seat A to B family transport leaves this S-MAX free to provide something pretty unique in the segment for bigger MPVs: namely, a good looking car dynamically capable enough to reward the enthusiastic driver. Other big 7-seaters feel vaguely pointless if you're alone in them on the move: this one just shrinks around you and encourages you to take the back road home, where you'll find bodyroll kept impressively well in check for a car of this size. There's plenty of traction too, even if you don't go for the optional Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system. Clever Integral-Link rear suspension borrowed from the fourth generation Ford Mondeo this car's based upon is fundamental to this impressive showing. And though the electric power steering system isn't quite as feelsome as the previous generation model's hydraulic set-up, standard Torque vectoring system that lightly brakes the inside front wheel through tight bends and sharpens turn-in still makes this S-MAX feel rewarding through the twisties. Engine-wise, the range now hinges around a pair of improved EcoBlue 2.0-litre turbodiesel engines, offered in 150 and 190PS outputs. Here, we're looking at the 190PS version which with 2WD manages 62mph from rest in 9.7s en route to 131mph. Improved low-end torque is a particular characteristic of these latest-generation powerplants. The range also now benefits from a more refined, smoother-sifting 8-speed auto gearbox which alters its shift pattern to suit your driving style. It also enables the fitment of Adaptive Cruise Control and includes an engine Stop & Go system.
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Category: MPV People Carriers
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