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This relationship didn't get off to the best of starts, as I had to sell my sporty little number as I couldn't fit the kids in the back. No matter how hard I tried. So to say I was a little unenthusiastic is a bit of an understatement.
So we had to go down the family route - and all I could think of at the time was something Jeremy Clarkson said about MPVs. "I've done my breeding, and now I am waiting to die".
But I have to say, as far as MPVs (what does MPV stand for anyway?) go, this 'aint all that bad. Depending on the engine you opt for, the performance is actually quite good. And the efficiency is OK for a car this size.
The interior is nice and comfortable, and suprisingly spacious. The cup holders hold cups well, the radio does indeed play music, and the seats are suitable for sitting on. Plus, and this is one of my favourite features, we have a 'mystery button' that doesn't seem to do anything. I think it makes the car sportier. My wife thinks it does nothing. She's probably right. But I will never admit it. And I will continue to switch it on every time I drive it.
From the outside, I think it's one of the better looking MPVs out there. Cardigan not required.
All in all, it's a decent car, it looks nice, drives OK, and fits 2 young children in very well. Happy owner.
In my opinion this is the best family car on the market!
My husband and I are both canny purchasers and do ALOT of research before buying almost anything, so we really did our homework before finally settling on buying a replacement car for our Nissan X-Trail. I was pregnant with our second child at the time, the X-Trail was 6 years old and had started to become intermittantly unreliable, so it was time for a change.
We do quite a lot of travelling and holidaying within the UK and were looking for a large car with enough space to accommodate luggage and all the 'stuff' associated with having 2 young children. We wanted a car that would be cheaper to run, insure and maintain than a 4X4 - thereby saving us some money in these cash strapped times.
The other main competitors for us were various estate cars (which we couldn't entertain sitting so low to the ground again after having a 4X4!), the Vauxhall Zafira, Toyota Verso and Ford Galaxy. We immediately discounted the Zafira and Verso as when they were in 7 seat configuration, there was virtually no boot space left whatsoever. The Galaxy is very slightly bigger (about 50cm longer) than the S-Max but we didn't like the 'van' like feel of it. So we test drove the S-Max and were blown away!
The 2.0 litre Zetec model is quicker and more responsive than the 1.8 and I believe is virtually the same on the economy front. Our car averages 45 miles per gallon over general use and we can get nearer 50 miles per gallon on a long run, so it is very economical for a big car. It is wonderful to drive and SO comfortable. The only point I would make is to seriously consider parking sensors as it is a very big car and you cannot see the corners of it at all - I would be lost without our sensors.
The space inside is huge! The boot is massive and I can still fit in a full weeks grocery shopping even when all 7 seats are up. The seats all move independently in the middle row which is ideal for children and accommodating different types of car seat. I have personally spent 8 hours plus travelling in the rear most seats and although there isn't loads of room, I wasn't uncomfortable and would quite happily do it again.
I could go on and on about this car for an age I'm afraid! However, suffice it to say, if you have 2 + children, travel alot using your car and want an MPV that doesn't feel like a tank or van, then this is probably the car for you!! Ours will be with us for many years to come (hopefully) and will likely be replaced with the new model when the time comes.
We purchased a Ford S Max this year (2010) as we were expecting our 3rd child. I had tested out many cars to accommodate the doubly buggy and 3 car seats but struggled to find hardly any that could do both. We bought the 2litre version and its very quick off the mark, a comfortable drive, and very roomy. Our car has been very reliable and we haven't had any problems with it. As its a big car the only disadvantage is you can struggle to park it in smaller places but that's like any big car I would say. We can fit in all the kids, with 2 extra seats spare and still fit in the buggy and shopping, not to mention all the toys we have to take out with us! Its great on diesel, doesn't drink it like my previous car. The kids love it and find it very comfortable. If you are a family of more than 3 children this is definitely a car worth considering and you can pick a second hand one up quite cheap in the current market. Nice looking and practical you can't go wrong!!!
We have had our Ford S-Max 1.8 Zetec since Sept 2006 - when it was brand new. We had it as a company car for my OH and needed a larger car for our (then) 3 children who all needed booster/ car seats.
Style of the car is great - most people I know will agree with this. It is far less of a people carrier/ van than many other comparitors. It looks more car like and drives more like a car. Our serious compaitors were the Vauxhall Zafira and the VW Touran. The S-MAx won hands down for styling, drive, feel inside and - very importantly - the largest boot capacity of the smaller 7 seater vehicles.
As well as the larger boot capacity it does have some under floor storage and a few nifty little storage areas. We managed to travel to the South of France last year with 6 people (2 adults and 4 children - 2 in car seats) and luggage for a 2 week holiday with no problem. As one of the children was only 8 weeks old this included a pram, a moses basket and a bouncy chair!!
We liked the car so much that when my husband left teh company we bought it - knowing it's driver history and service history.
It is heavy on the tyres - we are on about the 5th set, I think (certainly the 4th at the least) At around £650 min for a full set this isn't cheap! However, servicing has been minimal in the main
Our car has now done 66.5k miles and is just over 3.5 years old. The gearbox has gone and this will cost £2900 to replace - eek! I have searched and found a couple of others of this age have had the same problem. However, we have not had the many other problems that some consumers have had - mainly issues with trim and heated front windscreens.
We are looking to replace our S-Max. Either with another S-Max (the facelifted version is due next month) or a Galaxy - the extra leg room in the rear two seats (not really suitable for adults) would be an improvement going forward as our eldest 2 children grow!
I bought a Ford Smax to replace my Toyota Verso which I found too small. I was pleasantly surprised by the way it drives as it is a lot bigger than the verso. There is an excellent turn circle, it is a smooth and comfortable drive, and both the cabin and boot space is excellent. There is ample space in the boot for me to fit a double buggy and all my weekly shopping. I have the Zetec model and it comes very well equipped. The aircon is great as there are vents in the back to keep the kids hot/cold. There is an excellent hands free phone kit which I think is standard with this model. The only thing I will say is that you need to have privacy glass in the back as the windows are huge and let in loads of sun! The seats move smoothly and it is very easy to convert to a 7 seater and still have a decent space in the boot. Overall an excellent family car that I would highly recommend.
I purchased one of these from new through our local ford dealer. I ordered the car and was looking through the list of extras and found and saw that you could have a scenic roof for an extrsa £800.
So i ordered one, what a disappointment, i`ve never seen one before and when the car came i jumped in and looked up....in the roof two rectangles like sun roofs (non opening) were cut out.
Where was my scenic roof? The sales man said get out, i did and then he pointed the whole roof was made from glass, what use this was i dont know, from inside there was two squares, one above the front passengers and one at the back, what you supposed to do drive with your head at a 90 degree angle. Dont bother purchasing the scenic roof total waste of mioney.
The car itself is a pleasure to drive, lots of seat adjustments, height etc (pointless listing as the specs as ford can give you these). It handles well in all weather conditions as I found out in the recent snow.
It is very comfortable in the rear too, if your using it as the 5 seat option, the rear passengers seem miles away, used in the 7 seater option its roomy to and i have carried half the under 17s football team init and still had adequate room for the kit bag, nets in the boot.
It has a fuel consumption of 40mpg on average and it does this easy around the towns, and aon a run it does abit more.
Its a lovely looking car and has blacked out windows in the rear which my children love because one suffers from travel sickness and when the suns out he can put the window up and not get too hot. I must say, since we`ve had this car hes never sick but he still suffers in other cars
The only irratating point with this car is the boot lock sticking, its so annoying and the usual thing happens, when you take it to the garage it doesnt do it.
I LOVE MY CAR!!
To start with it looks fab from the outside. Nice alloys, front grill, side grills etc.
We spent ages looking at 5 + 2 / 7 seaters and narrowed it down to the Vauxhall Zafira and the Ford S-Max. The vauxhall was cheaper but overall much smaller. We bought our s-max 6 months old ex-demo.
I am a mum of 3 and it tixks all the boxes.
The features I like th best are:
5 full seats, each one is indiviual so can move indepentantly of each other. The middle row can slide back on forth like the fornt 2 seats. The outside 2 seats of the middle row also recline. FANTASTIC for sleeping toddlers. You can just lean it back so no more aching necks!! Isofix on the 2 outside seats. Just bought a maxi cosi cabrio fix infant car seat which feels so secure in the isofix.2 optional seats in the boot again individually operated so you can have 1 or 2 up. When both seats are up you still have an ok sied boot i can fit my bugaboo in it no problems. Its as big as a fiestas boot im sure.
Parking sensors - they are now a must for me. Makes parking a bigger car sooooo easy they go round the side of the bumper aswell. It beeps in different tones front and back really easy to hear what is what.
panoramic sunroof with blinds - lovely and makes the car feel even more spacious. Blinds work individually aswell so you can block the sun glares from either one or both.
6 gears - means you can keep the revs down making it more fuel efficient.
the cd unit is great 6 cd changer radio, auxillary jack for mp3 players etc.
LOADS of little sotrage places. theres a storage place in the boot under the rear seats, you canaccess it when the rear seats are up. There is one either side of them middle row of seats under where youd put your feet. then one behind the hand brake. a glove box in the dash, standars glove box the the door storages + a little glove box in the 3rd row of seats.
Automic lights very handy. Heated front window, heated seats ooh lovely. Automatic windscreen wipers again very handy.
We have only had 1 problem and that was the parking sensors failed. This was sorted quickly by ford with no problmes.
It is cheap to tax and insure which again is very usefull for a family.
I cant find anything seriously wrong or anything worth mentioning (apart from the parkign sensor prob)
Amazing car worth every penny.
People carriers have never really interested us. Anything other than a decent sized family car (Mazda 6, say) was perfect, so we've never seen the need to look at them. The Mazda is a superb car that did what we wanted. What more could we want, except a newer version with more gadgets, and perhaps the estate model for the dog?
However, all that changed when my partner found out she was pregnant. That meant one more child to go with the two we already had. Well, that's what we thought until we went for the first scan and the sonographer gently pointed out that there were two in there... yes, twins! After the shock, we realised that our thoughts of perhaps an estate car were a little bit off the mark. With four children and the two of us, we needed a minimum of 6 seats.
So we delved into the world of MPV's.
First, we worked out what we actually wanted:
NCAP 5 Star safety rating was the foremost criteria
CD Radio with auxilliary input
Diesel engine (big cars need a lot of torque)
Decent boot size behind the third row of seats
Cheap to run (all relative at this size of vehicle, though!)
Good reviews online
The only ones that really met this criteria were the Citroen Grand Picasso, Renault Grand Scenic, and the Ford S-Max. The bigger cars in these ranges were too expensive to buy or run. We quickly discounted the Citroen on being expensive for what we got and lack of boot space. The Renault also failed on boot space plus it had a reputation for dodgy electricals and felt cheap inside.
That left the Ford. We had a look at it and it felt solid, decent bootspace, choice of engines and gearboxes, etc., etc. Then we talked price. On finance, the Zetec model would cost £18,000 (discounted from around £21,000) and worked out at around £385 per month. Adding cruise control, privacy glass for the rear windows, and parking sensors meant the price pushed up to nearer the Titanium model. Another look at the prices meant we were able to get the Titanium for £395 per month, again with heavy discounts on the list price of £23,000.
Then the chancellor, for once, helped us further with a VAT cut and the fact that a promotional option was unavailable. This saw the price come down again to £389 pcm. We got a Titanium for Zetec money. Considering the Citroen was £16,000 list and would cost £470 pcm, we felt good.
It has a huge list of features that, nearly a year later, I'm still finding. But to start with:
6 speed gearbox (5 speeds also available)
1.8TDCi engine (again, more choice if you want something else)
Electronic Brakeforce distribution and ABS
Parking Sensors front and back
Sony CD DAB Radio with MP3 compatibility and an aux jack for mp3 players
Bluetooth mobile phone connection through the stereo
17" Alloy wheels
7 seats with reasonable legroom on all rear seats. Middle row slide back and forth
ISOfix childseat mounting on outer two seats of middle row
Full 3 point seat belts on all 7 seats
Electric mirrors and windows
Dual zone climate control
Heated front and rear windscreens
To get the full picture, you'll need to look at the Ford site yourself!!
Driving position is quite high. It's basically a large estate based on the Mondeo, so it has good road holding, but the high seating position makes you feel a little top-heavy until you get used to it. But once you do, this car is stable on the road and can go round corners quite well. Body roll is probably more than the Mondeo but considering the height of this car, it's not surprising. In terms of size, think somewhere between Mondeo estate and Galaxy. The S-Max sits between the two offering a good compromise from both models.
The engine can be a bit sluggish from a standing start but once the revs get up, the turbo kicks in and you're off. Over taking in this is fairly easy due to the torque offered by the diesel engine. While I'm sure the 2 litre is faster, the 1.8 litre will give you plenty of smiles but for less tax, fuel, and money. Tax band is around the £145 per year mark. Economy is around 55mpg in extra urban (motorways) which seems achievable.
While we bought it mainly for it's kiddy carrying capabilities, long haul driving was also a consideration. We don't like flying so we tend to drive on holiday. As a result, a good motorway car is needed. This does exactly that. It's solid at motorway speeds and the 6 speed gearbox means you've got the acceleration you need in 4th and 5th, but smooth cruising in 6th, all without straining the engine. The cruise control is useful, though I know some people don't like it. Me, I feel it gets me there quicker, keeps me more alert, uses less fuel and therefore saves me money. And of course, the controls for this are on the steering wheel right where they're needed.
The CD Stereo in the Titanium is a Sony so straightaway you know it'll be good. I haven't figured out where the speakers are yet, but from the front seats, sound quality is excellent. A very useful touch is the capability to connect to your mobile phone via Bluetooth giving you a handsfree facility run through the stereo. You can even control the calls and volume from the steering wheel controls. It will even access your phonebook so you can ring someone without taking your hands off the wheel.
It is DAB as well as FM and AM, the CD can also play MP3 tracks and it has an aux jack for MP3 players, which works straight away. Text can also be displayed from the CD. Of course, RDS is a feature, too. Volume and channel selection are all controlled by a navigation button on the left side of the steering wheel.
But how can it display this? The radio has it's own display, but the Titanium models come with the Convers+ system. This display system is a small colour screen that sits between the speedometer and tachometer on the dashboard. It gives you a host of information from the radio station through to fuel consumption rates. With extra options, sat-nav can even be put through here. All of this is controlled by a navigation button on the right side of the steering wheel! The Convers+ has a slight problem. It can, occassionally, lose most of the menus. It turns out that it is a bug in the software that is fixed with a software upgrade. Unfortunately, most dealers know nothing about it (they say!) and want to see the fault. Once they accept it's faulty, it's usually done for free.
There are other drawbacks. First of all, and this is more aimed at any MPV rather than just the S-Max, there is only a limited amount of room behind that last row of seats. The S-Max offered by far the biggest space than the others we looked at, but it could still be bigger.
But the biggest drawback is the lack of a spare wheel. Ford, like a lot of others, have dispensed with even skinny spare wheels in favour of a puncture kit. This isn't much good if the hole in the wheel is the size of a penny at 3am in the middle of nowhere. Space could be found under the boot space so why manufacturers do this, I don't know. It detracts from what is a fantastic car to drive and use.
The last of the drawbacks was the dealer. Our car was delivered with the tracking incorrectly set. Poor QA on the part of Ford, but nothing serious. The dealer had it back to put right. Driving away, it was still wrong. So they had it back again. Still wrong so back it went a third time. This time they decided the steering rack needed adjusting and then replacing (4th visit!). Still wrong... so I took it to a specialist tyre and tracking place. They got right in 20 minutes where my dealer couldn't do it over 4 visits/3 whole days! A complaint was made, so they refunded the cost of tracking elsewhere, gave me the full set of car mats (worth £70) and had it back for a full valet... their chance to redeem themselves. This was a chance they missed. The car came out marginally less dirty than it went in having only been cleaned where you could see from the drivers seat, and even then, badly.
I'll be looking for a new dealer to service my car in the future.
And it is a real shame. This is a fantastic car and I'm convinced I bought the best car for our needs and got the best price at the same time. I really do not think I could have bought better and it still shows more little surprises every time I try it. Ford have produced a superb product that they should be applauded for.
Just a shame about the dealers.
Thanks for reading,