On the verge of extinction, the minivan is experiencing a second life at Ford, thanks to hybridization. And if this S-Max was the best ally of large families?
2022 Ford S-Max Hybrid review – Volkswagen (Sharan) and Seat (Alhambra) having thrown in the towel on the field of large minivans, Ford officiates asultimate representative of the segment with its Galaxy and S-Max. And rather than letting them die a beautiful death, the American manufacturer pampers them by giving them the benefit of hybridization. Our test focused on the more “dynamic” of the two, with a profile worthy of a TGV.
What if Ford had it all figured out? Contrary to the vast majority of its competitors, the brand knows a resounding success thanks to its wide range of vehicles running on bio-ethanol (E 85), fuel at very competitive prices. It is also preparing to mix this combustion mode with hybridization, on its Kuga SUV, in order to redouble its virtues.
At the same time, the Blue Oval hears do not bet everything on the fashion of SUVs and wants to believe in maintaining a niche of minivans, although the entry-level segments (B-Max and C-Max) have definitely left the catalog. Short, Ford is still thinking about large families disappointed by the low trunk volume of 7-seater SUVs, or by their lack of modularity.
Malus gift for large families
If minivans are rare at the start of the decade, those using hybridization are even more so. Since the disappearance of the Toyota Prius+, the Ford S-Max is precisely the only one to combine this engine technology with this type of family architecture, and has the good idea to stick to a classic hybridization (MHEV), non-rechargeable, in order to relieve the purchase invoice. You will still have to pay €45,750 minimum to acquire it, without counting at least 740 € penalty, to which is added the new penalty penalizing vehicles exceeding 1.8 T. But families with at least 3 children will be able to deduct these taxes from their taxes.
To take this pachyderm bordering on two tons on the scale, Ford engineers called on a 4-cylinder large displacement (2.5 l) developing 150 hp which add up to a 40 hp electromotor to accumulate 190 hp. The latter is driven by a batterie lithium-ion d’ 1,1 kWh of capacity, allowing 100% electric driving phases at low revs, unlike many so-called mild hybrid vehicles (48V, most of the time). A very good point, in urban areas, which allowed us to lower the average level of consumption below the 5.5 liter mark.
On the highway, the balance sheet darkens somewhat, as is generally the case with MHEV vehicles, the heat engine largely taking precedence over the electric. But the 7.4 l average observed at 130 km/h approach the values of a diesel of equivalent power, and make the difference in comparison with a simple petrol unit.
The 190 hp engine is very deliberate, given the large mass to be moved, thanks to the contribution of the electric, the 100 km/h being reached in less than 10 s. All in a serene environment, even in the event of sharp acceleration, the eCVT continuously variable gearbox avoiding any “moped” effect, by simulating gear changes. Only the aerodynamic noises are perceptible on board the Ford minivan. However, it displays a dynamic temperament, strong running gear of high flight, associated with a precise direction. Road holding magnified by our test finish ST-Line, with sporty accents, which unfortunately echoes the irregularities of the road at low speed a little too harshly. Fans of premium comfort will rather turn to the Titanium Business and Vignale finishes.
King of practicality
On board, the hybrid Ford S-Max has all the modularity required of a 7-seater minivan, the battery associated with the electric motor not encroaching on the cube trunk volume 285 l in 7 seats, 630 l in 5 seats and up to 2020 l all folded chairs. To note that third-row seats electrically eclipse under the floor when the second row splits with small onions, each seat being independently mounted on slides. At the front, the driver will welcome a slightly elevated driving position for a minivan, but he will have to deal with a dashboard with dated presentation, although correctly finished. It must be said that the S-Max accuses almost 7 years of career, which is usually the time to hand over to a whole new generation… which should never see the light of day.
The equipment is complete with knee airbags, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, lane keeping assist, hands-free key, automatic high beams, tri-zone air conditioning, heated seats and steering wheel, leather/alcantara upholstery, heated windscreen. For its part, the central touch screen accepts Android Auto, Apple car play and Mirror screen. It also has voice control, but its graphics and resolution are from another era. Ditto for ergonomics, especially at the steering wheel, studded with a multitude of buttons.
Ford S-MAX Hybrid test – our opinion:
Not enough to dampen our enthusiasm. The Ford S-Max is revealed as the best friend of the family, on the strength of this hybrid engine which positions the cursor in the right place, on almost all aspects. Therefore, it would be a shame to turn to an SUV, often less roomy, despite the pressure exerted by fashion. For even more loading volume, the big brother Ford Galaxy also offers this hybrid engine.
- Smoothness of operation
- Very correct consumption
- Cape outfit
We love less
- Low-speed comfort (ST finish)
- Dated interior presentation
Ford S-Max hybrid technical sheet
- Internal combustion engine: 4-cylinder, gasoline, 2,488 cc3, 150 ch
- Electric motor: 40 hp
- Battery : 1.1kW
- Transmission: front, automatic CVT
- Cumulative power (hp): 190
- Curb weight (kg): 1,947
- Long.xlarg.xhaut. (m) : 4,80×1,92×1,65
- Wheelbase (m): 2.85
- Turning circle (m): 11.95
- Max speed (km/h): 185
- 0 to 100 km/h (s): 9.8
- Standard tires : 245/45 R 19
- Test tires: Continental Premium Contact
- Cons. Mixed WLTP (l/100 km): 5.6
- Cons. during the test (l/100 km): 6.4
- CO2 (g/km): 147
- Penalty: €740 to €1,276
- 7/5/2 chest (l): 285/630/2,020
- Tank (l): 65
- Country of manufacture: Spain
- Warranty: 2 years/unlimited km
- Fiscal horsepower: 8 HP
- Tarif de base : 45 750 € (Titanium Business)
- Price of the tested version: €47,550 (ST-Line)
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