Ford Motor Company is pushing ahead with development of the second generation of it's S-Max model. The new model was seen recently testing in the United States alongside the first generation model which has been on sale since 2006. This is the first time the car has been seen since it's concept car outgoing at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.
As seen in the concept version, Ford intends not to stray too far from the format which made the original model a success, which is why at first glance, the model looks like a heavily disguised S-Max. It is based on the C/D platform which underpins the new Fusion and Mondeo models, however, when looked at closely, there are several differences. At the front of the car, the outline of a gaping trapezoidal grille can be made out and on the flanks, there is an extra square of covering masking a redesigned wing vent. The last generation's front wheel-arch brake has been ditched, replaced by a new outlet not dissimilar to that seen on a Mini Cooper.
The new MPV (SAV, Sport Activity Vehicle, as Ford would call it) will use Mondeo engines. These will be the new Ecoboost versions not the power plants of old. The 1.6 litre four pot engine will be replaced by a 1.5 litre three-cylinder Ecoboost petrol engine, losing 100cc. Ford is adamant that it'll still match or even beat the outgoing engine's power while improving economy and CO2 scores.
The S-Max has always been what Ford design boss, Martin Smith, described as a 'white space' car which occupies a previously unidentified market sector. He commented, “We invented the sporty MPV and it brought new customers to Ford – the sort of people who won't drive a Galaxy or an estate car. Customers have described the current S-Max as sporting and dynamic, with a "dart-like" profile, so we've set about building more of that into the next generation.” Going on to say, “With this concept, we want to tell the world we've understood the market. It retains the distinctive shape of the rear window glass, but it has the new face of Ford and more pronounced rear shoulders.” With these perfect attributes in mind, we believe that this model could be the ideal rival for other car brands such as the likes of, Lexus, Vauxhall and Volkswagen.
The S-Max has captured buyers from other premium brands in the market, with up to 70% of S-Max owners opting for the top-end Titanium trim. The concept exploited this with a theme of 'modern luxury', something that should be carried through to the production model.
The production ready version of the second generation S-Max isn't expected to make an appearance until October 2014, meaning it could be Ford's main crowd puller at the Paris Motor Show. Unfortunately, the new Ford S-Max won't arrive in UK dealerships until early next year due to supply backlog caused by the closure of the company's production plant in Genk, Belgium.