Ford’s S-Max MPV is widely regarded as one of the Blue Oval’s most popular and successful models. Back in 2007, it even won the prestigious Car of the Year award in Europe, which goes to show that the reach of the S-Max knows no geography.
Now that the current model is long in the tooth, Ford is ready to unveil a successor at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show .
Called the S MAX Concept , the vehicle is less of an actual concept than it is a preview of the future production S-Max model. Not that there’s anything wrong with that because one look at the concept and you’re immediately pining for the production version to come out sooner than later.
In addition to adopting the modern global design language of Ford, the S Max Concept also makes use of new some nifty new features from Ford’s SYNC system while also boasting of an interior that should make its customers happy.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Ford S MAX Concept
Don’t sweat the concept tag attached to the S MAX Concept because one look at it and you can immediately tell that it doesn’t look much of a concept but a stylized version of a production model that could be out on the road sooner than later.
Having said that, the new look of the S MAX Concept is still a noticeable departure from its predecessor. It’s been redesigned to accommodate Ford’s new global design language, specifically the use of a high-mounted grille and the swept-back headlamps. Carefully observe the lower fascia and you might notice a more pronounced bumper that adds a touch of sportiness to an SAV not known for such agile descriptions.
Even the overall shape of the S MAX Concept looks pretty impressive. The continuous arc that stretches to the roof and slopes downward as you reach the rear end is a nice surprise. The sweeping front bonnet sharply complements the raked front screen while the feature line running along the side casts an illusionary length and masculinity that you normally wouldn’t associate with a car like the S Max.
One thing you won’t have any problems on the S MAX Concept is interior space. There’s plenty of it once you step inside; enough to comfortably seat at least five people with the option of more space, thanks to the Thin Seat Technology used by Ford in the third row of seats, enabling the seats to be raised and lowered in a single action with minimum effort.
Ford also did a good job in not falling into the temptation of excess when it comes to concepts. The center console noticeably lacks the plethora of buttons and controls that are usually standard on concepts. Don’t get us wrong; fewer buttons are a good thing.
A Dual-View Display that makes use of Ford’s all-too famous SYNC system sits atop the center console and flanked by A/C vents. The display delivers different images to the driver and front passenger using the same screen, ensuring the former receives important information without being distracted. Move south and the controls are neatly spaced, with some probably thinking that there’s too much emptiness around it.
Even the door panels were smartly designed and even – surprisingly to us, at least – comes with leather lining. Combine that with the touches of carbon fiber detailing for the sculptured seats and you get a cabin that really has a more high-class feel to it.
The Ford S MAX Concept is set to be powered by the same 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine that the 2014 Fusion will have under its hood. That engine can produce around 178 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, good enough to hit 60 mph in around 9 seconds to go with an estimated top speed of 120 mph.
Ford SYNC’s New Features
Much has been made about Ford’s SYNC system and to those that have lauded the technology for a seemingly all-encompassing set of features will love the additional things it can do with the S MAX Concept.
The usual features are still all there, but for this particular concept, Ford added a few items that could well worth be your time and attention. Most of these additional features seem to focus more on improving or at least raising awareness of a driver’s health and well-being.
Ford’s ECG Heart Rate Monitoring Seat records the driver’s heart rate, delivering long-term heart activity data that would otherwise need to be recorded at hospitals. Should there be a problem, the system, through SYNC, immediately alerts remote medical experts of the problem, or in really serious cases, trigger active safety systems to take over in a case of emergency.
In addition to the ECH Heart Rate Monitoring Seat, SYNC also connects with a Glucose Level Monitoring that can warn parents if a sleeping child in the rear seats suffers a diabetic episode.
These new features may not sound all that sexy, but they could prove to be important in dire and serious circumstances.
No details have been revealed surrounding the S MAX Concept’s price, but if it becomes a precursor to a future production S-Max, you can expect that model to retail at around $28,000.
For a car that already has a Car of the Year award under its belt, the S Max still has its fair share of competition, not the least of which includes an equally new MPV that features its own brand of new styling.
The new Citroen C4 Picasso was built on Citroen’s new EMP2 platform that makes it more compact that the previous generation. Don’t be fooled by the smaller dimensions because the MPV can still carry a full-sized family with no problems.
Adding to the appeal of the new C4 Picasso was the dynamically-styled front end that distinguishes itself thanks to the new look chevrons and slim LED daytime-running lights.
Citroen hasn’t released the performance numbers for the new C4 Picasso but we expect it to be in the range of the S MAX, with a slight edge probably going to the French model.
Gallery Citroen C4 Picasso
As a concept, the S MAX Concept looks pretty sweet. We’re just not sure how much of it will be translated to the next generation model. We hope that Ford decides to build on to the concept instead of taking bits and pieces from it, but ultimately, we’re pretty interested in how the transformation takes place once the production model is ready to make its debut.
- Looks up-to-the-times
- Spacious interior
- New SYNC features
- How much will the production model change?
- When will we see it?
- Plenty of other options
Ford S-MAX Concept Evolves Unique White Space Appeal with Beautifully Crafted Design and Smart Technology
COLOGNE, Germany, Aug. 28, 2013 – Ford Motor Company today revealed the new Ford S MAX Concept, a new sport activity vehicle that takes the style-without-compromise ethos of the popular current S-MAX to new levels with a sharper design, advanced technology, and premium craftsmanship.
"When Ford unveiled the SAV – sport activity vehicle – Concept in 2005 it immediately captured the public’s imagination and inspired us to produce today’s S-MAX, a true white space vehicle," said Barb Samardzich, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe. "Our new S-MAX Concept takes that unique appeal to the next level with Ford’s latest design and technology innovations for a new generation."
The new S MAX Concept employs the latest Ford global design language with a high mounted grille, swept-back headlamps and a unique treatment of the vehicle’s lower fascia that includes design elements that appear to float within the lower front aperture and above the spoiler.
The characteristic S-MAX profile has been honed with the front bonnet sweeping seamlessly into the sharply raked front screen, which in turn flows into the dynamic arc of the roof to create a unique glass roof graphic. This sleek silhouette surrounds a spacious and versatile interior that offers anything from four-to seven-seat configurations.
"S MAX drivers are passionate and bring high expectations – they see their S-MAX as a one-of-a-kind vehicle," said Martin Smith, executive design director, Ford of Europe. "Our mission was to exceed their expectations in every area while respecting the core of what they love about the S-MAX."
Further exterior design cues include a feature line running along the side of the vehicle to deliver an impression of length and speed, sculptured muscular shoulders, and distinctive headlamps featuring Organic LEDs – the latest development in lighting that offers greater flexibility in terms of positioning and design, fast response and colour range.
The S MAX Concept interior is an expression of cutting-edge design, convenience, connectivity, flexibility, and craftsmanship.
The front cabin places the focus firmly on the driver. Dynamic shapes and forms combine in a high-set instrument panel that cuts back in the centre console and creates a feeling of space. The door panels are similarly sculptured and an innovative interior roof design maximises the feeling of spaciousness.
High quality materials, including an ultra-soft leather wrap for the instrument panel, and leather and carbon fibre detailing for the sculptured seats, give the interior a sophisticated aura.
"The fine detailing and visible craftsmanship in areas such as the instrument panel air vents reward the driver for really paying attention," said Smith. "Each and every element of the interior stands up to close inspection with intricate and thoroughly considered design."
The Ford S MAX Concept also employs leading-edge Ford features and technologies to provide customers with new levels of connectivity and well-being as well as safety, convenience, and driving appeal.
The Ford SYNC system sits at the heart of the vehicle’s advanced connectivity features. Ford SYNC with MyFord Touch delivers wireless internet access for passengers, supported by a tablet docking station that allows second row occupants to seamlessly integrate their personal devices into the vehicle.
SYNC AppLink enables the driver to voice-control smart phone apps from an expanding list of service providers, which include Spotify, Kaliki, Glympse and Aha, bringing additional music, news, personalised information as well as location and navigation options into the vehicle.
SYNC also enables additional features to improve health and well-being:
Ford’s ECG Heart Rate Monitoring Seat records the driver’s heart rate, delivering long-term heart activity data that would otherwise need to be recorded at medical centres, and offers the potential to connect with Ford SYNC to alert remote medical experts to unusual activity or even trigger active safety systems to take over in a case of emergency
Glucose Level Monitoring connects with Ford SYNC could warn parents if a sleeping child in the rear seats suffers a diabetic episode
Sophisticated communications and sensor systems provide the S-MAX Concept with detailed information about the driving environment, to enhance awareness and safety:
Ford’s advanced car-to-car communications technology enables the vehicle to talk to similarly equipped vehicles, delivering warnings in the event of oncoming traffic on the wrong side of the motorway, or if a vehicle has stopped in a potentially dangerous situation such as a blind bend in the road
Ford Intelligent Protection System with Pre-Collision Assist identifies pedestrians and automatically applies the brakes if a collision is imminent
Advanced version of Active Park Assist featuring perpendicular parking capability, park out assist and Cross Traffic Alert is the next generation of Ford parking technology, able to control steering, gear selection and fore and aft movement, and assist drivers in leaving parking bays by alerting them to approaching traffic
The interior design offers a range of smart solutions to enhance flexibility and versatility:
Thin Seat Technology is employed in the third row of seats, enabling the seats to be raised and lowered in a single action with minimum effort. An intelligent second row of seats makes it easy to get in and out, with a centre seat that folds into the vehicle’s floor and allows for maximum versatility
Dual-View Display in the centre console delivers different images to the driver and front passenger using the same screen, ensuring the driver receives important information without being distracted, while the front passenger can enjoy a movie at the same time
Advanced Ford powertrain ensures that the renowned S-MAX driving appeal is raised to a new level:
High-efficiency powertrain features the all-new 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine with turbocharging, twin-independent variable camshaft timing and further advanced technologies to enhance power and fuel economy
"The new S-MAX Concept is not only a unique proposition in terms of its uncompromised combination of styling, versatility and driver-focused dynamics, but also through its innovative technologies delivering superior safety, well-being and seamlessly integrated connectivity," said Pim van der Jagt, executive technical leader, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. "With the S-MAX Concept we aimed to demonstrate just how wide a scope of technologies Ford is preparing to deliver for customers in future generations of vehicles."