Ford S-MAX Review

Gumtree Rating

4.0 rating

When the Ford S-MAX landed in 2006, it brought something special to the large MPV market – sporty looks and an impressive drive combined with family-friendly space and practicality. It proved popular, running all the way to 2015 before being replaced with the current model. Higher trims can get a little pricey, but it’s largely good value and, with a range of diesel and petrol engines, the S-MAX is a worthy contender for your shortlist if you have a growing family.

Visit the Ford S-MAX model page to explore available vehicles and learn more.

What we think about the Ford S-MAX

If you want an MPV that’s more than just practical and safe, the S-MAX offers stylish looks and a fun drive too.



Fun to drive




Five-star safety rating


Rearmost seats a squeeze

More expensive than some rivals

Not a ‘true’ seven-seater

Either iteration of this seven-seater MPV is well worth considering, but we’re focusing on the 2015-onwards model here. There’s a wide range of petrol and diesel power plants, though petrol was dropped in 2019 as most buyers prefer the increased fuel efficiency of the diesels. There are currently three trim levels: Zetec, Titanium and Titanium Sport, with previous iterations including the ST Line.

Driving performance of the Ford S Max

Our Driving Rating8 / 10

One of the big selling points of the S-MAX has always been the fact that it’s fun to drive. Handling, steering and ride feel more like an estate car or hatchback and it feels equally at home on a motorway or a country road. It offers a comfortable ride, though as with all cars, this is compromised if you go for bigger alloys. Buying used, you’ve got the choice of torquey diesels for carrying loads, a 2.0-litre petrol for when you want something a little more punchy and lots in between.

Safety and reliability of the Ford S Max

Our Safety Rating8 / 10

As you’d probably hope for in a family MPV, the S-MAX has been built with safety in mind – it earned a full five-star safety rating when tested by Euro NCAP in 2015, scoring 87% for both child and adult occupants. As well as a host of airbags, there’s also a lot of safety tech on offer. Reliability-wise, the S-MAX benefits from the use of tried-and-tested engines and other mechanical parts from Ford’s range, so there should be little to worry about.

Under the bonnet of the Ford S Max

Our Engine Rating7 / 10

Our pick of the engines here is the 2.0-litre diesel, with a power output of 148 bhp and plenty of shove at 350 Nm of torque. It’ll take you from 0-62 mph in 10.8 seconds whether you opt for manual or automatic transmission. If you feel you need a little more grunt, the 187 bhp version of this diesel offers more torque and shaves over a second of the 0-62 mph time. If petrol is your preference, the 1.5-litre EcoBoost puts out 160 bhp and has a 0-62 mph time of 9.9 seconds.

What you'll find in the Ford S Max

Our Design Rating9 / 10

When it first landed, the S-MAX was possibly the best-looking MPV on the market, and it’s still a stunner today. With rakish lines and attractive alloys, it has the styling to match its impressive driving manners. For those put off by the slightly dull image of people-carriers, this may be the perfect antidote. The ST Line trim is the raciest option, with a spec that includes a full bodykit and spoiler, sports suspension, unique alloys and privacy glass.

Comfort and interiors in the Ford S Max

Our Comfort Rating8 / 10

You’d expect practicality from a family MPV, and the S-MAX doesn’t disappoint. There’s room for seven, though the back two seats are best for kids or short journeys. Those in the front and middle have plenty of space however, and when you’re not using the rearmost seats you’ll have access to 965 litres of boot space. Even with them up, you’ve still got a useful 285 litres to play with. The interior is a pleasant place to be, and Ford fans will recognise the set-up and sturdy-feeling materials.

Ford S Max interior dashboard

What features you'll find in the Ford S Max

Our Features Rating7 / 10

The infotainment system is Ford’s Sync3 and comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen that includes DAB digital radio and Apple CarPlay, as well as Android Auto. You might be better off connecting your smartphone though – the interface feels a little dated and there’s no satnav built in unless you go for one of the higher trims. Front and rear parking sensors come as standard, and you can spec a reversing camera – worth looking out for when buying used.

What fuel efficiency to expect from the Ford S Max

Our Fuel Consumption Rating7 / 10

Unsurprisingly, the best fuel economy comes from the diesels. The 148 bhp unit provides 39.8-54.3 mpg (dropping to 34-50.4 mpg if you opt for an automatic). If you are looking for an automatic and also want more oomph, the 190 bhp version of the 2.0-litre diesel achieves a similar 36.7-47.9 mpg despite the increase in power. CO2 emissions are around 134 g/km, less than the most fuel-efficient (1.5-litre) petrol at 149 g/km, and well below the 2.0-litre petrol engine, which comes in at 180 g/km.

Running costs of the Ford S Max

Our Cost Rating7 / 10

With reasonable fuel efficiency and few reliability concerns, running a Ford S-MAX shouldn’t prove expensive. The cost of purchase will be in line with the competition, and it ought to hold its value well for when it’s time to sell it on. Insurance won’t break the bank either, with its grouping falling between 16 and 34. Servicing expenses will be kept down with a diesel thanks to a two-year or 18,500-mile interval – the petrols need servicing every year or 12,500 miles.

Our verdict of the Ford S Max

4.0 rating

4 / 5 Gumtree rating

The Ford S-MAX is a good value choice with stylish looks and driving manners to match. It should definitely be on your list.