When the third child is born in the family, everything is lacking. Not only the space at home, but also in the car. Even a station wagon sometimes turns out to be too small, especially if the family likes to travel together. Then what? The search for a car that can accommodate everyone begins. In many such situations, the choice is the Ford S-Max.
Characteristics and construction of the Ford S-Max
In 2007, it was chosen as Car of the Year. I do not mention it often, but in this case it is worth it, because it is one of the two models in this segment that won this prestigious plebiscite. The first minivan became the car of the year in 1997. It was the Renault Mégane Scénic. But what’s groundbreaking about the S-Max? Contrary to appearances, quite a lot.
It is an intermediate car, combining the features of a minivan and a classic middle class estate car. The third generation Mondeo was the basis for its construction. It shares with the Mondeo a floor plate with a wheelbase of 2,850 mm.
The front suspension is made of MacPherson struts, while the rear is a multi-link axle. In addition, the steering system is hydraulically assisted in the first (described) generation. The engines were placed transversely at the front and in the first generation only front axle drive was offered. Four-wheel drive appeared only in the S-Max II.
The 4,768 mm body is shorter not only than the larger Galaxy, but also the Mondeo. As a result, the attractive silhouette results in a family vehicle that can comfortably accommodate five people and a lot of luggage, or optionally seven people.
Despite the relatively short length, the car is wide inside, which allowed to find space for three independent seats in the second row. Maybe these are not first-class seats, but even three adolescent teenagers will fit comfortably there, and another advantage is the ability to install three child seats. The seats can also be adjusted. In the third row, these are theoretical seats that you can squeeze into, but the journey is not comfortable. Galaxy is definitely better here.
The silhouette can rightly resemble a sports van. It is largely thanks to this that S-Max has such a large group of recipients and still enjoys considerable popularity. Especially that the competition is still not really interested in creating a similar car.
Who is the Ford S-Max for?
First of all, for a family with three children – as a rule, the appearance of a third defines such a choice. It would be too tight in Mondeo, the Galaxy may be too big, and the S-Max is just right. This is one of the factors that make the car so popular on the secondary market. It is an ideal for a family of five and at the same time a comfortable and safe middle class car.
The trunk is large, because it holds as many packages as the Mondeo station wagon. Although the catalog data gives the value of 855 liters for two rows, this is the capacity measured up to the roof. It is slightly smaller with the optional third row of folding seats. The fact is that you can easily pack a stroller and a lot of luggage for the other two children.
The history of the model in a nutshell:
- 2006 – presentation of the S-Max
- 2010 – facelift and replacement of petrol engine parts with new EcoBoost
- 2015 – a new generation of the model (in fact, it is a heavily modified first generation)
Ford S-Max engines
The range of engines in this model differs depending on whether the car is a pre-facelift or a facelift car. Before the facelift, there were 2.0 and 2.3-liter naturally aspirated Duratec gasoline engines and a supercharged 2.5T five-cylinder, also known from Volvo. They reach the power of 145 hp, 161 hp and 220 hp, respectively.
The diesel engine are Ford’s smallest 1.8 TDCi with 125 hp and larger, produced in cooperation with the PSA Group, with a capacity of 2.0 liters (115–140 hp) and 2.2 liters (175 hp).
After the facelift in 2010, the EcoBoosts were added to the petrol range: 1.6 (160 hp) and 2.0 (203 and 240 hp). There was also the naturally aspirated Duratec with a capacity of 2.0 l and 145 HP.
There were no such big changes in the diesel family, but the Ford 1.8 TDCi engine was replaced with the PSA 1.6 TDCi engine (115 HP). The 2-liter TDCi has 140 or 163 hp, and the 2.2-liter 175 or 200 hp.
After the facelift, the PowerShift dual-clutch transmission also made its debut, paired with the 2.0 EcoBoost and 2.0 TDCi engines. Almost all diesels have a DPF filter, while many of the pre-lift models did not have it.
Which Ford S-Max engine to choose?
Diesels dominate the market. It is not surprising, because such engine are the best for this large car. Moreover, most of the diesels are 2.0 TDCi engine with a minimum power of 140 HP. Therefore, it is not difficult to deduce which engines seem to be the most appropriate source of propulsion.
However, users praise both the naturally aspirated 2.0 Duratec engine, and there are also positive opinions about the 2.0 EcoBoost engine. The latter are for medicine and the offers are mainly for younger years. But let’s take a look at all three 2-liter engines and see what their advantages and disadvantages are. And above all, which one to choose.
Let’s start with the diesel, which many say comes straight from the PSA concern. In fact, this is a bit more of Ford’s proprietary design than you might think. Although Ford did not change anything in the basis of the design of this engine, it changed the accessories in some of its variants. Either way, the common features of the Ford and PSA engine are similar.
The TDCi engine is therefore very durable and is one of the most successful diesels in recent years. In fact, the older version of this bike, the better. Newer ones are more prone to some fuel quality disturbances or minor faults at higher mileage. All engines have variable geometry turbochargers and piezo injection, so repairs to these areas will be costly. The durability of dual mass wheels should be considered good, because they usually withstand over 100,000. km.
Overall, equipment for mileage of 250,000. km should not cause any problems. One should only take into account the faults of the flow meter or the EGR valve. These engines also tend to have minor oil spills. The timing is performed by a belt that needs to be replaced every 150,000. km.
In terms of durability, it is difficult to fault the engine, but it can be different with the diesel particulate filter. Generally, it is an element that should last around 200,000 km, but sometimes it refuses to cooperate much earlier. A large group of people drives without it and there are no technical problems with it. It is worth finding a replacement filter or cleaning yours if you react early enough.
The 2.0 TDCi engine seems to be the best engine in this car. The 140 HP version is optimal in terms of performance and fuel consumption. On the road, you can easily stay within 6 l / 100 km, while in the city fuel consumption should not exceed 8-9 l / 100 km. You won’t get such results with the petrol version of Duratec and EcoBoost.
The naturally aspirated 2.0 Duratec engine is a well-known engine of this brand, which was used for the first time in the second generation of Mondeo. Very good and durable construction, which has only one serious drawback – it does not work well with gas installations. Of course, you can put gas on this engine, but be very careful.
First of all – high-class accessories. Second – regular checking of its correct operation. Thirdly – valve clearances should be absolutely regulated every 20,000 km max. There are people who successfully run on gas both in the installation with sequential injection and in more expensive gas installations in the liquid phase. Yes, it is, but be careful.
It can be said that it is worth taking the risk, because the engine needs an average of at least 10 l / 100 km of gas in the family S-Max, and during fast or urban driving, fuel consumption reaches 14 l / 100 km. It will also mean that the installation for $448 to $672 will pay for itself faster than in a year.
2.0 Duratec is a simple and cheap to repair construction, which, even in a more serious failure, will not clean the user’s pocket as much as diesel. 145 HP looks good on paper, but the torque is only 190 Nm. It takes a lot of revolutions for the car to move lively. It is enough for normal driving.
In terms of service or service, the engine does not require much after purchase. It has a chain timing drive and the only thing that can break is the accessories. A fairly classic failure is the inability to start the engine. It is often the fault of the ignition coil – it is worth having one in stock and being able to replace it yourself. In other cases, a defective fuel pump or engine controller may be responsible for such symptoms.
An alternative to both of the above engines is the 2.0 EcoBoost gasoline engine. This is an interesting engine that generates a lot of power, giving great performance to the S-Max. On the other hand, with proper use, it can reward you with lower fuel consumption than in the case of a Duratec naturally aspirated engine.
Unfortunately something for something. It is a modern gasoline direct injection engine that already has a turbocharger and a dual mass flywheel. Yes, there is also a dual-mass wheel in Duratec, but its durability allows you to count on the fact that it will not be replaced at all. In EcoBoost, however, it is no longer so certain.
Potential engine failure can generate high repair costs. The engine is not very popular. So it cannot be attributed to any specific flaws and typical faults. For now, the design is quite problem-free, although there are known cases of block breakage or failure of a rather expensive injection system. The question remains: what actually caused this?
Is it worth buying a S-Max with an EcoBoost engine? In my opinion, it is worth it because of the parameters it offers, but I would refrain from buying a model with a mileage greater than 200,000. km. Just like that out of caution.
Which engine is worth choosing for the S-Max? If I were to propose a reliable and cheap solution, it would be only 2.0 Duratec, which does not cause major problems and can be repaired cheaply and even cheaply replaced. I would immediately suggest installing a gas installation. Of course, taking into account all the above comments.
The second option is the 2.0 EcoBoost gasoline engine. It gives the best performance and favorable fuel consumption for such power.
I would leave diesel to people who have to drive a lot and mainly on the road. It is a very good engine, but you should be ready to spend $448 to $887 at any time and this should be taken into account when purchasing. If the engine is operational, it will certainly also please the user with the appropriate performance and very low fuel consumption.
What Problems in the Ford S-Max?
Overall, the S-Max is a low-failure car. Rarely, something that would force you to use a tow truck breaks down, but it also has its own ailments. It can be said that it is typically not very well made for a Ford.
- Starting with paint defects and corrosion raids appearing under the gaskets, on the plating elements and on the exhaust, ending with scratched plastics or defects in the windshield. However, it should be remembered that children of this type usually travel in this type of car, which means that the interior deteriorates much faster than in a car where children are usually absent.
- The problems that occur relatively often in this model include the failure of the power steering system, wear of the steering gear and minor failures of the air conditioning panel. The lighting is also failing, especially the optional xenon, which have a problem with self-regulation. There was also a repair action regarding lighting. The failure consisted in accidental lighting of the direction indicators and dipped beam.
- The running and braking systems are durable. It is true that minor elements, such as the ends of steering rods or stabilizer links, wear out, but more serious repairs are rarely carried out. Another thing is that this does not mean low operating costs. Fords experts recommend that the suspension geometry be checked regularly (once a year), as the rear axle, in particular, can become misaligned. Even a small play already causes a problem with tire wear, so the running gear must be in perfect condition to enjoy the S-Max.
- It is also worth knowing what you are buying, especially if the car is imported. For example, for shock absorbers with variable damping force you have to pay about $220 per piece, but they were a rarely purchased option. The classic counterpart costs two times less. After the facelift, an electromechanical parking brake has appeared, which sometimes fails to obey in winter.
- The operating costs of the car are not low. It should be remembered that it is a modern structure with rich electronics and requires good technical condition at all times. To fully enjoy the car, it must have a working engine and suspension in perfect condition. In addition, good tires and an efficient braking system. It seems normal, but the Ford S-Max does not forgive service negligence like crude Volkswagen or Toyota cars. When it is roadworthy, however, no Volkswagen will enjoy driving a family van so much.
- The issue of purchasing spare parts is facilitated by the fact that technically the S-Max is not much different from the Mondeo. Consumables are available as replacements, but you won’t get everything for your EcoBoost engine or PowerShift transmission right away. The S-Max is a solid and durable car, and its reliability deserves a very good rating, if you turn a blind eye to minor deficiencies that do not affect mobility.
Ford S-Max Market situation
As I mentioned earlier, the S-Max market is dominated by diesels, usually from the 140HP 2.0 TDCi upwards. A reasonable minimum you have to pay for the S-Max is about $3140 t0 $3300.
The nice cars from 2007–2009 model cost around $6720. On the other hand, you will pay for a facelift model from about $5600 to even more than $13400.
Considering the cheapest model, they still have an advantage – they cost 500 plus for each of the three kids you will pay them back in a year.
Is it worth for Buying Ford S-Max?
Of course. It can be said with full responsibility that there is no other such car on the market. This is a great advantage of this model. Despite 10 years of experience on the market, it still looks good, in my opinion – better than the second generation. It is polished and practical. It has good engines and suspension. What more could you want? If you really need it, you also have a Galaxy which is technically very similar to the S-Max.