2.0 SCTi EcoBoost
Miles went all the way to
windy Spain for a first drive
now fitted with Fords
powerplant the 200bhp
WHILE IN SPAIN
he also had the opportunity to try, in the new S-Max, the first application
in a larger vehicle of Ford's
twin-clutch PowerShift automatic transmission which comes as standard with the
new petrol engine and optional on some new diesel units.
The revised S-Max joins the UK market at the end of April with prices yet to
be announced. Currently, the S-Max prices start from around £21,000 and top-out
at over £26,000.
Before getting down to the 'nitty-gritty' about engines and transmissions, what
is an S-Max? Not an MPV say Ford of Britain, even though it has three rows of
seats and carries up to seven people. It is, apparently, an extension of the
Mondeo family even though it shares the same platform with the seven-seat Galaxy
which definitely is an MPV. Seating capacity aside, the S-Max is designed
to look and feel sporty and be fun to drive.
UK sales of the S-Max last year were 9,373 units (putting it in 8th place in
its market segment) with 50% of sales going to private buyers; mainly families.
To date, 94% of sales have been for diesel models but the petrol engine share
will increase to 10% because of the new high-torque EcoBoost engine which owners
should like because petrol as a fuel is cheaper than diesel, petrol engines
cost less and so Benefit-in-Kind tax for company car users is less. The automatic
transmission share should also increase, from 16 to 25% thanks to the new PowerShift
This new technology is aimed at delivering great fuel economy, lower CO2 and
the powerful response you would normally expect from a larger displacement power
unit. By using a turbocharger with this direct injection petrol engine, torque
is a very useful 221lb ft from 1,750rpm and makes it just as responsive and
flexible to drive as a similar turbodiesel unit.
with the outgoing 159bhp 2.3-litre petrol unit with automatic transmission,
the CO2 of the new 2.0-litre SCTi EcoBoost engine has reduced by 19% to 189g/km
even though it has over 25 per cent more power. This translates into an official
combined cycle fuel consumption of 34.8mpg.
operation this unit is exceptionally responsive because of the turbo boost and,
being a petrol engine, it is very quiet and vibration free.
impressive in the mountains and on the narrow roads of the plains in the Jerez
region of Spain was the real life fuel economy just 24mpg. However, the
driving refinement was excellent and, mated with the new PowerShift twin-clutch
automatic gearbox (which comes as standard), changes were seamless.
to buy are the
smarter new looks,
petrol engine and
For those high-mileage users who prefer diesel power, the new 2.0-litre Duratorq
TDCi (161bhp/221lb ft) unit mated with a six-speed manual transmission has a
combined consumption of 49.5mpg and average CO2 emissions of 152g/km. The sub-160g/km
CO2 engines create a fiscal advantage of around £50 a month for drivers in the
40% tax bracket.
As for the other changes for the new 2010 model year S-Max, it gains from Ford's
on-going plan to give all their models a more premium look and feel. The full
line-up of specifications will be announced closer to the Spring on-sale date
but the range will include Titanium and Titanium X Sport versions and two individual
interior styling packs which include full leather trim.
Externally there is now a strongly sculpted bonnet, new front face with the
new Ford trapezoidal grille, new lower front bumper with daytime running lights,
chrome strips surrounding the glass areas and a new style tailgate and LED tail
Inside, the S-Max has Ford's 'fold flat' seating system for the second and third
rows of seats and high series models will also come with a panoramic sunroof,
power blinds, LED interior lighting and a premium sound system plus all UK models
will have an electronic handling programme as standard.
Handling remains sharp, precise and agile although the change in damper and
spring rates plus the lighter petrol engine makes the ride feel softer
certainly comfortable although the vehicle seems to now 'float' rather
than feel 'nailed' to the road as before.
Reasons to buy are the smarter new looks, seven-seat accommodation, higher quality
specification, responsive high-torque petrol engine and seamless shifting twin-clutch
automatic gearbox. Minor niggles include the softer, less controlled ride and
while the quiet engine is a 'plus' it does highlight wind noise intrusion.
Ford S-Max 2.0 SCTi EcoBoost | £ TBA Spring 2010
Maximum speed: 137mph | 0-62mph: 8.5 seconds | Overall test MPG: 24mpg
Power: 200bhp | Torque: 221lb ft | CO2 189g/km