Fun fact, Malaysians perceive space in cars as a luxury.
Judging from that statement then, Ford’s new S-Max multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) must be the new proverbial palace on wheels.
Not only is it physically big, measuring in at 4.8 metres long and 1.8 metres wide, it feels massive on the inside too with windows big enough to double the cabin up as a greenhouse.
The S-Max has the textbook MPV layout, seating for two in the front, three abreast in the middle, and two more right at the back, nothing remarkable about that.
Also, the S-Max has plenty of space for lanky individuals in the third row with a fair amount of room for luggage behind them, not the usual “either-or” relation of rear seat passengers and luggage.
Furthermore, its third row of seats can be folded down individually while all three seats on the middle row seats can be moved fore and aft as well as folded individually, allowing for a whole lot of seating configurations to suit your cargo and passenger needs.
Folding down the middle row and rear seats is surprisingly easy and far from being a menial chore.
The remarkable thing about the S-Max is that, even though it will comfortably seat seven full sized adults and swallow their lightly packed luggage, the S-Max isn’t what you might call your average boring people carrier.
Underneath the bonnet is Ford’s new 2-litre turbocharged direct-injection Ecoboost engine which delivers 300Nm of satisfying grunt.
Who would have thought that the only way in putting some verve into driving the daily family bus is through turbocharging.
As such, this MPV shrugs off any burden with laughable ease.
Its six-speed dual-clutch transmission doesn’t interrupt the engine’s power delivery, and gives drivers a more direct connection with the engine, similar to that of an old-school manual transmission.
Build up its pace and throw a corner at the S-Max, and the big Ford will easily leave the opposition trailing behind.
The feeling from behind the S-Max’s wheel perfectly fits the bill of the “Honey I shrank the car” feeling,
Its ride and handling strikes the right balance between peerless road-holding ability without being either stomach churning floaty or bone shatteringly stiff.
You can pitch the S-Max into a tight corner and it would obediently sling itself round the corner better than an MPV of this size has any right to.
The only gripe in the handling we have is that the steering doesn’t relay much in the way of feedback, though we have to praise it for its accuracy and ideal weight.
Subjectively, the S-Max would easily woo the little boy in us with its “Stormtrooper” front fascia, energetic engine and superb handling.
And then you look over it objectively and find that it is a comfortable, spacious and practical cruiser.
If ever the S-Max strikes that rare moment where the objectivity of the head agrees with the subjectivity of the heart, for once a car that is both sensible as it is exciting.
Specifications of the Ford S-Max Ecoboost
- Engine: 1,999cc 4-cylinder direct-injection turbocharged Ti-VCT
- Max power: 200hp @ 6,000rpm
- Max torque: 300Nm @ 4,500rpm
- Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch, front-wheel drive
- Safety features: Nine airbags, ABS with EBD and EBA, electronic stability programme (ESP), traction control system (TCS), hill launch assist (HLA), and ISOFIX child seat harness
- Price: RM185,888 OTR with insurance