Like the Mk3 Galaxy, with which it shared a platform, the S-Max had independent suspension all round, although the 69mm-lower and 52mm-shorter S-Max cut the sportier silhouette.
The 2.0-litre Duratorq diesel engine was flexible and refined yet offered a good turn of pace. Six well-spaced ratios were governed via a snappy manual shift. Brakes were a tad over-servoed but resilient.
For a tall, 1722kg vehicle, the S-Max was remarkably agile. Diesel models used electric steering that was light in town but accurate and well weighted on the open road. Excellent body control was combined with suppleness and composure.
A ‘5+2’ seating layout included second and third rows that stowed to yield a two-metre-long load space. Five adults could sit comfortably in the attractively finished, solidly built cabin, and the driving position was widely adjustable. With the rearmost seats up, boot space was just 285 litres.
FOR Styling, dynamics, user-friendliness, kit AGAINST Touchy brakes, slight compromise on space
Price £21,495 Engine 4 cyls in line, 1997cc, turbocharged, diesel Power 138bhp at 4000rpm Torque 236lb ft at 1750rpm 0-60mph 10.1sec 0-100mph 33.4sec Standing quarter mile 17.7sec, 79mph Top speed 119mph Economy 31.1mpg
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT… The tearaway variant used a 217bhp turbo 2.5-litre five-pot lifted from the Focus ST and managed 0-60mph in 7.4sec. That engine was dropped in the 2010 facelift, which smartened up both exterior and interior. Cleaner powertrains and a six-speed PowerShift dual-clutch auto ’box became available.
A Mk2 version was ushered in using the same formula in 2015 and is sold today in 2.5 petrol-electric and 2.0 diesel guises.