Driven: Ford S-Max Titanium X Sport

Don Sherman
#Ford, #Ford

The top Titanium X Sport trim helps make this a very inviting place to sit down for a driving spell but the low beltline, wide doors, easy entry floor height, and well engineered seat release systems also do their share. The front buckets are Porsche-worthy in terms of trim, support, grip, and sporting flavor. The second row is divided into three seating positions, all with tilt-adjustable backrests, while the third row adds another pair of adult-sized accommodations. Both back rows fold flat to provide six distinct combinations. There's also an underfloor cargo hold at the rear of the interior and various shades to hide what you're carrying from unscrupulous eyes. In addition, the door trim offers large beverage container stowage and there's a handy bin built into the top-center surface of the dash.

Designers went all out with an entertaining U-shaped parking brake handle, contrasting French-stitched trim, Alcantara seating inserts, and metal-plated pedals. Door trim spears are finished with a convincing titanium-like appearance. There's a useful left foot dead pedal and a 4-spoke steering wheel designed for serious drivers. Upper spokes are loaded with toggle switches that operate the audio system (left) and instrument cluster menus (right).

Two different 2.0-liter gasoline engines and two turbo diesels displacing 2.0- and 2.2-liters are available in S-Max along with two manual (5- and 6-speeds) transmissions and one 6-speed automatic. Luckily, we scored the most interesting combination -- a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine rated at 200 horsepower mated to the 6-speed "Powershift" dual-clutch automatic.

In terms of power and smoothness, the EcoBoost four is as good or better than the V-6s we've experienced of late. There was no detectable shake under power or shimmy at idle. The intake and exhaust notes were pleasantly unobtrusive. We didn't measure mileage but the 18.5-gallon fuel tank provided a surprisingly large operating range.

A manual mode, engaged by moving the shift lever to the right into an S (sport) gate, was capable of holding gears to and at the 6500 rpm redline. Automatic shifts were polished and there was no apparent hesitation starting from rest without help from a torque converter. In European mileage tests, this powertrain scored an impressive 29 mpg in combined driving.

The S-Max is one of the few crossovers that manages to be desirable as a car in general, not just for it's utility. For car of it's size and volume, it still looks sleek, sporty and somewhat futuristic. Ford has also made it rewarding to drive. I'd take it over the Flex anyday.
I lived in Italy for 6 months in 2007 and let me tell you that the moment I saw Ford's Euro fleet, I was amazed. The Mondeo, Focus, C-max, Galaxy and S-max looked much better than the offerings in US soil.The S-max looks much much better than the CX-9. You have to see that car up-close and personal. In terms of price, remember that this is the Titanium version which cost the same as the ugly looking Flex Titanium and Also converting euros to dollars brings the price up. The S-max should replace the Flex and function as a minivan as well. Pricing should be the same as the Flex.Come on Mr. Mulally "ONE FORD"
Edward A. Sanchez
I just got back from a trip to Europe, and I saw these all over the place. I think they're stylish enough to get people to reconsider SUVs. It would be nice to have this as an option here in the U.S.
The grass is always greener. It seems like whenever there's an article about a vehicle we can't have, it includes a line like, "unfortunately we can't get this car in the states."Imagine the S-MAX were available here. It is a crossover that looks a lot like a minivan. Compare it to a Honda Odyssey and it loses the convenience of the sliding door and costs thousands more. Compare it to the Mazda CX-9 and it is a much less sport-looking vehicle and again costs thousands more.Americans won't pay $40,000 for a sporty Ford minivan crossover. This is one vehicle that I don't mind not being able to buy in the states.

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