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Ford S-Max PDF Print E-mail

When Ford Thailand was asked the question: “Does Ford have any plans to introduce the newly-launched S-Max in the Kingdom?” the reply was a cryptic “Currently there are no plans to launch the S-Max in Thailand … though Ford continues to explore opportunities to bring in more exciting new products that would appeal to Thai customers”.

Ford S-Max
Ford S-Max
Make of that what you will, but the new S-Max, launched in Geneva last month, is positioned nicely between the Mondeo Wagon and the larger Galaxy SUV.  Catering for five or seven occupants, the S-Max would appear to be ideal for the Thai market.

The Volvo S80, reviewed in these pages recently, forms the basis of the new S-Max, sharing as it does the front structure, floorpan and the ventilation systems, as well as Volvo’s sturdy five-cylinder turbocharged engine.  The new SAV – sports activity vehicle in Ford parlance – is to be built at Ford’s Belgian plant in Genk, alongside the Mondeo and Galaxy.  Genk has recently undergone a 715 million euro investment program, principally in a new flexible manufacturing system in order to accurately meet demand.  Since it opened in 1964, over12 million vehicles of various types have been produced at Genk.

Whereas the Galaxy was developed as a joint venture with Volkswagen (the VW derivative went by the unlikely name of Sharan …), the S-Max is the production reality of Ford’s concept car shown at last September’s Frankfurt show.

As well as the 2.5 five-cylinder Volvo motor, also available to power the S-Max is a two liter, 16-valve gasoline engine, and two common-rail diesel lumps of 1.8 and two liters.  The turbo gasoline engine produces a very healthy 216 bhp (160 kW), while the diesel engines settle for 118 and 138 bhp respectively, but score heavily in the torque department with 285 NM from the 1,8 and a whopping 320 Nm from the two liter.

Europe these days favors diesel power as it is generally cleaner in its emissions and produces relatively higher fuel mileage, although there is a new alliance between a number of manufacturers to develop a range of synthetic fuels.  All the S-Max engines are mated to either five- or six-speed manual transmissions.

Ford S-Max
Ford S-Max
Standard equipment of the S-Max is fairly comprehensive, with full-length curtain airbags, a driver’s knee bag, four-wheel disc brakes, an electric tailgate release and Ford’s unique fold-flat seating system for the rear two rows, ensuring more than adequate luggage space. Options include an automatic light sensor, rain sensor, front and rear parking sensors and cruise control.  The fold-flat system allows a five- or seven-seating arrangement, or any combination of the two.

The cruise control is an adaptive system which recognises the driver’s style, while there is also an active suspension system and a tire pressure monitor; one of motoring’s most recent innovations and one which, it should be said, is more of a marketing gimmick than a useful addition.  Ask yourself: when did you last suffer a puncture?

The S-Max is sophisticated, practical and well designed, but is it revolutionary?  Based on a number of other models within the Ford range, it is inevitably a little bland.  Good, yes; outstanding, not convinced.

Ford, like its American rival GM, is experiencing a downturn in its sales, mainly due to the strong competition from Japanese and Korean automakers.  In the United States both Ford and GM have seen a significant reduction in market share, but in Europe Ford in particular is fighting back.  The launch of the S-Max will have its rivals taking note and undoubtedly bringing forward their own plans for similar models.  The S-Max, whether it gets to Thailand or nor, is an assured success.

-JH 

 
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© 2018 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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