2007 Ford S-Max Titanium 2.0 TDCi turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


Vastly over-rated. Glad it's gone


Heated windscreen failed.

Third row of seats stopped locking in place.

Air con wouldn't cool the car.

Various bits of plastic came loose.

General Comments:

I can honestly say this is the worst car I have ever owned. It's not that there has been anything major wrong with it, it's just when you have been fortunate to own three Volvos previously, and the wife a BMW and now a Golf, the S-Max fell short. It seemed OK on a 15 minute test drive. It was fairly quiet, comfort was OK, and with three kids, the room in the back was superb. The extra seats would also come in useful.

It also had the panoramic sunroof, which I thought would be nice.

Within a week it was back at the dealer because the air con wasn't working correctly. The panoramic roof heated the car nicely on a sunny day. I often measured temperatures of over 120 F if you forgot to close the blinds, so the air con was a must. Even after it was fixed, it wasn't powerful enough to cool the car on a sunny day, so you had to keep the roof blinds closed. Kind of defeats the object. This roof wasn't any better when the weather was cold. Such a large glass area generated lots of condensation, which would run inside the roof lining, then drip on the front seats. It took a while to figure out where the stains kept coming from.

With the air con fixed, we then spent two weeks and two thousand miles driving round France. Whoever put the Kmh speeds in red obviously hasn't driven abroad on a sunny day, as there is so much glass in the S Max, the dash gets so much light that you can't read the speed you are doing. It's worse when you wear sunglasses. I spent two weeks using my TomTom as a speedo.

We had only been driving an hour when both the wife and I started to complain about back ache. The seats are not comfy on long runs. The passenger seat is worse, as there is no lumber support.

Fuel consumption was dire, and didn't improve till the day I sold it. 36 MPG is pretty poor when you consider my V70 D5, which was a heavier, bigger engined car, did over 40 MPG easily. Fully loaded with 5 of us and luggage, I was surprised to have it max out at 96 when presented with a foreign hill.

Performance wasn't great, and the most annoying thing was it would either die on you when you tried to pull away quickly, as the revs were too low for any power, or spin the wheels. I phoned Ford to book the car in to get the traction control looked at, to be told it didn't have it. I was surprised, as buying the Titanium model, a car costing over 26K new, should have it as standard. The Mondeo Ghia I had back in 2000 did.

The build quality isn't in the same league as my Volvo was, or the other premium brands. I lost count of the number of times I fastened bits of plastic back in place. Normally around the footwells where your feet catch things.

Handling was crap. It isn't anything like a car despite what some reviewers make out. It was very similar to a VW Sharan I had years ago. If you like to drive with some spirit, forget it. It just wallows about giving you this feeling it is going to roll over. The roll around bends just made the kids feel sick, so I had to plod around everywhere.

Tyre wear was looking pretty bad. I had new tyres on the front when I bought the car, covered 7000 miles before getting rid of it and there was only 3mm of tread left on.

The hifi sound quality is dreadful. I had an XR3i in 1996 that sounded better than this. I know my Volvo had a 9 speaker 500 watt Premium sound system, so I was spoilt, but this just sounded awful. I enjoy listening to music when I drive, but this just made me want to turn it off.

If you are thinking of buying an S-Max, check for a spare tyre. Mine had the sealing fluid, which I didn't realise at the time.

So, if you want 7 seats and really don't care about what you drive, then this will probably be OK. If you have never had the pleasure of driving a Volvo or a BMW, then you will probably find it OK. What made owning this worse was having three Volvos that really were superb cars. The D5 I had before wasn't without its problems but it was very comfy, quick, quiet, economical, had a brilliant HiFi and had the practical boot divider for the dog and luggage. It was only when I had the S-Max that I realised how good this Volvo was.

The other disappointing thing was whenever it went back to Ford for warranty work, they would have it one day to find out what the problem so they could order the part. Then, I would have to go back to have it fitted. This was a main dealer. Why? When I used my local Volvo specialist, he could diagnose a fault, get the part from Volvo, and fit it all in the same day.

My advice - buy a Volvo V70, they even do 7 seaters. I have. If you can afford it, get the new phase 3 V70. It's awesome. And no, I don't work for Volvo !!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 26th March, 2013

27th Mar 2013, 12:08

Not being funny, but I think you're being picky. Saying the handling is crap; what do you expect, it's an MPV. It isn't that bad. I have driven one. If you wanted something sporty, then why did you buy it? You're comparing an XR3i to it; two totally different cars.

22nd May 2013, 14:12

This sounds like an echo! My experience exactly, owned an S-Max for 3 years or so, and these are my experiences. Oddly enough, thinking about a Volvo too. Must be getting old...

2006 Ford S-Max Zetec 2.0 TDCi turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


Practical and comfortable, but plagued by niggling and expensive electrical problems


Water ingress into alarm backup sounder (110000 miles). Quite amusing in that the windscreen wipers would come on at random times, and were impossible to turn off without removing the fuse (even stopping the engine and turning the ignition off didn't help). £400-odd to rectify.

Water ingress into GPS antenna (118000 miles) made the car think it was in Belgium - £30 for new aerial unit (DIY fitted).

Failed RF receiver module in central locking system (122000 miles) meant remote key fobs didn't work. £160 + diagnostic fee to fix.

Cruise control operation intermittent. Apparently due to faulty clock-spring in the steering wheel. Not fixed yet (but would be £180 + diagnostic charge).

Oil leak on intercooler pipe. Dealer quoted £60 to 'investigate' without guaranteeing a fix. I fixed it with a screwdriver and a rag in about 10 minutes.

Previous owner had steering rack and clutch/DMF replaced.

Lacquer on diamond cut alloys deteriorated and alloys corroded.

General Comments:

Incredibly practical. Can seat 7 adults in reasonable comfort with room for some luggage.

Not bad to drive - nearly as refined on the motorway as my old A6, and the seats are comfortable. Quite involving, and responds well to being driven like a hooligan for such a heavy car, but it pitches and rolls a bit in the corners.

Quite quick for what it is, although the power delivery is quite laggy (compared to several VAG TDIs I've owned).

Well built, although claims that the build quality are in the same league as an A4 should be taken with a pinch of salt - it's good, but not that good! (trim still feels a bit flimsy and the doors make a hollow sound when closed)

Very wide - standard parking spaces are a bit narrow for comfort.

All in all, an ideal family car, when we looked at MPVs it seemed the best choice (among some pretty dire alternatives). For an MPV, it's very good to drive, although claims that it is good compared to cars are a bit optimistic (I've driven a Mondeo based on the same platform which went and handled better).

It is very competent and well designed and exactly what we need for a family car, but I'm a bit disappointed with the electrical issues we've had.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 27th August, 2011

2nd Jul 2012, 00:15

Nearly a year on from the original review, and I have got rid of it.

It has spent 6 weeks off the road this year, and has broken down 3 times, leaving my wife and children stranded.

The issues since the last review include:

- Catastrophic failure of the diesel pump (I had it rebuilt by a specialist for a comparatively bargain price of £700!)

- A non-specific problem with the injectors, which caused the car not to start. Cured by a software update. I'm not entirely sure I understand how a software update could have cured it, but it seemed to.

- Remote central locking failed again.

- Anti roll bar bushes replaced (fair enough at 130,000 miles).

- Failure of the second DMF!

It was the failure of the second DMF that was the final straw. We've had other cars with DMFs (mostly VAG) for many more miles than the S-Max, and had no problems, so I'm not convinced that it's wear and tear.

After a quick tot-up, it has cost nearly £3k just to keep on the road for two years.

Having got to know the local diesel specialist quite well, it appears that a lot of the issues we have had are by no means unusual for a diesel S-Max or Mondeo.

It was meticulously maintained, had everything that needed doing done, and preventative maintenance where necessary. I have never had a car break down and leave me stranded before (and my driving career started in a 1970s Triumph), and this has happened 3 times in the past year to a 5 year old car.

Unless you are a diesel mechanic, and an automotive electrician with deep pockets who is up for a challenge, I really can't recommend buying an S-Max. It is a great idea, but terribly engineered and built.