By Patrick James on 2016-09-25 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Ford S-MAX Titanium
FORD sells huge amounts of cars in the UK, particularly with the Focus and Fiesta.
The Focus was a groundbreaker in terms of handling when it first appeared back in the late 1990s.
That dynamism found its way into subsequent models including the S-MAX, a people carrier that handles like sporty saloon.
The latest version retains that all important quality, plus all the others so important in this type of vehicle - versatility, practicality and good economy.
If it ain't broke don't mend is the philosphy, so the winning formula of this seven-seater was translated into sales early on, has been mostlly maintained.
The S-MAX comes in three specfications, Zetec, Titanium and Titanium X. It ticks all the boxes for practicality and is also available in four wheel drive.
It certainly looks the part and this particular model, with all the bells and whistles gives a feeling of true luxury more often associated with the executive segment of the market.
Even the entry-level Zetec model comes with a decent array of kit including electric windows and roor mirrors, air conditioning, parking sensors to front and rear and a DAB radio, with Bluetooth and aux features.
The Titanium adds privacy glass, rain sensing front wipers and automatic headlights, lane keeping aid and traffic sign recognition, among others.
The interior is spacious, with the front five seats offering space and comfort, with good head and legroom and acres of space in the boot.
But like many seven seaters, the rearmost pair, which fold into the boot floor are more child-sized, although an adult can cope for shorter distances.
The downside of course is with seven seats in situ, boot space is hugely compromised. So a roof rack or box is a good investment for taking bigger families away on holiday with plenty of luggage.
The 700 litres of boot space can be increased to van-like proportions by folding the three rears seats, opening up to a cavernous is 2,200 litres.
It is a good looking car with sharp, sculpted featurs, flowing roofline and swooping bonnet, stylish light clusters and smart alloy wheels.
The boot has a low loading lip and is electrically opening on this model.
The interior has no shortage of dials buttons and gizmos on the dash, steering wheel console, some of which are a bit fiddly. The dash is dominated by a central touch screen to control major functions like navigation and connectivity.
Fit and finish is impressive, with soft touch materials to the dash and doors, while many of the controls are finished in chrome trim and large windows allow plenty of light to the interior.
For further practicality and in true MPV style, cubby holes, wallets and storage compartments abound in the cabin.
There are a number of engine options including a 1.5-litre and a two-litre turbo petrol and the a single two-litre diesel which has power outputs of 120, 150, 180 and 210ps.
The diesel is a smooth and refined unit, with little clatter. smooth acceleration and excellent torque.
Mated to a slick six-speed gearbox the car is very responsive and cruises comfortably at higher speeds. Accleration is brisk, but fuel economy was way off the official figure 56.4mpg with late 40s-mpg the best I achieved.
Carbon emissions of 129g/km put it in the 25 per cent benefit in kind bracket.
As a family vehicle, safety is key and the S Max is loaded with safety kit with airbags, stability programme and a radar controlled collision warning.
Ford S-MAX Titanium 2.0 TDCi
Mechanical:150ps, 1,998cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
0-62mph: 10.8 seconds
Combined MPG: 56.4
Insurance Group: 20
C02 emissions: 129g/km
Bik rating: 25%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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