First Drive: Ford S-Max Vignale
The top-spec S-Max is more than just a trim level, explains Alex Grant.
SECTOR MPV PRICE £33,395–£36,295 FUEL 35.8–56.5mpg CO2 129–180g/km
The automotive landscape is changing; an evolution highlighted by carmakers’ recent investment in services like car sharing, autonomous vehicles and connectivity. We’re heading for an era where the focus shifts from selling metal to selling mobility, in the wider sense, and Ford’s Vignale line is a step closer to it.
So the S-Max Vignale isn’t simply a top-spec MPV. It’s also membership of a club, one which offers a more personalised dealer service, apps to keep owners informed and access to luxury breaks and experiences for those who tick the box. Convenience for busy people is part of the equipment list.
Of course, it helps that the underlying car is a great starting point. Traditionally attracting top-weighted sales with its blend of practicality and driver appeal, it’s not a huge departure to consider an S-Max at this price
point. It’s more of a five-seater with occasional rear seats than the true seven-seat Galaxy but, aside from an SUV, there are few more desirable ways to move this many people at once.
In the Vignale, they’re spoilt for comfort. The standard car strikes a great balance between ride and handling and, with its soft, hexagonal-quilted leather seats and leather-wrapped dashboard, the S-Max’s generously-sized cabin is genuinely luxurious with only a smattering of plasticky switchgear denting the premium-brand experience.
However, there are fewer engine options. Ford’s 2.0-litre diesel is only available with 180bhp or 210bhp, both equipped with the smooth-shifting six-speed automatic that really fits this car best, though a manual gearbox is available on the former. Double glazed windows and a system which cancels out road and engine noise mean either offer sublime high-speed comfort.
Picking the top-spec S-Max might not just be a case of adding equipment, but the car at the core of the mobility package is an appealing, if niche, offering.