The Ford F150 is America’s best selling vehicle. The domestically produced full-size pickup truck is generally recognized as the class of the field. Unfortunately, nothing else Ford sells stateside achieves that standard– and Ford’s “showroom of the future” offers little hope. No wonder the company’s camp followers have turned their gaze upon FoMoCo’s European operations, where the S-Max people mover won the coveted Car of the Year award. Should The Blue Oval Boyz switch on their tractor beam?
Given that Ford’s “New Edge” design language bloat-morphed into New Ed (i.e. your uncle's idea of design), the fact that the automaker’s “Kinetic Design” survived long enough to find expression in the S-Max minivan is something of a miracle. Bottom line: the S-Max looks more like a Japanese Shinkansen or a TGV than suburban soccer-team transport.
Although the S-Max’ front end is relatively demure, the overall design is crammed with funky details: heavily raked windscreen, blistered wheel arches, [fake] gills behind the front wheels, flame surfaced side panels, bizarre window shapes and more. Say what you will about overwrought design, but my 16-year-old daughter wasn't ashamed to be seen in it and my girlfriend said it didn't make her "feel like a mom.” For a minivan, that’s about as good as it gets.
Marketingspeak calls the S-Max a "5+2" seven-seater sports car. In fact, it’s an elevated station wagon with plenty of room for five adults and two midgets. While that pretty much describes any CUV, the S-Max does the "five" part extremely well. First and second row headroom and legroom are fit for a Queen (Vic). Equally impressive, the spacious cabin fully accommodates the center rear passenger. Again, the S-Max’ third row is a short term solution for short people– whose presence reduces rear cargo capacity to that of a Honda Fit.
Journalists have compared the S-Max’ interior an Audi's– which is a bit like comparing a bottle of Aventinus Dunkel Weizenbock to a ca...