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Our Fleet Test Drive: Ford S-max - 5th Report Update

Date: 26 November 2007   |   Author: Tristan Young

There were a few things about the S-max's warranty we found surprising.

26 NOVEMBER 2007
Miles driven 19,419
Average consumption 35.1mpg
Forecast CPM 32.2p
Actual CPM 34.1p
We learned a few things about the S-max’s warranty when it went to a local Ford dealer to get some minor niggles fixed. Firstly, blown bulbs and interior trim that’s fallen off are not covered after the first year, and as our S-max is 14 months old it looked like we’d be paying until dealership Evans Halshaw said it’d carry out that work for free as a gesture of goodwill. A glitch with the alarm was covered, but a random problem with the ‘lights on’ warning buzzer issue couldn’t be tracked down. However, a day after the car came back, the dealer called to check we were happy. Great.
12 NOVEMBER 2007
Miles driven 19,245
Average consumption 35.1mpg
Forecast cpm 32.2p
Actual cpm 34.1p
By the time you read this our local Ford dealer will hopefully have fixed five problems with our S-max. They are the kind of minor niggles that on their own are annoying but not enough to book the car in. The list consists of a failed high-level brake light (permanently now), a temperamental lights-on buzzer, random alarm warnings and some loose trim: the top of the passenger footwell and the central arm rest. We’re expecting great things from Bexley Ford. They handled the booking easily and simply, and they even sent a text message to confirm.
31 OCTOBER 2007
Mileage 18,114
Forecast CPM 32.1p
Actual CPM 36.9p
Minor electrical worries this week – the high-level brake light has stopped working again and the ‘lights-left on’ warning buzzer is also only working sometimes. A dealer visit awaits.

15 OCTOBER 2007
Mileage 17,838
Forecast CPM 32.1p
Actual CPM 36.0p
We were a little quick to criticise the S-max’s satnav for not finding Ford HQ. It seems it gives two different places if you use the postcode or street

Main Report

A summer's worth of holidays around Europe, including trips to French mountain resorts, has seen the S-max's mileage rocket to well over 17,000 miles now, but though it's been busy we made sure we squeezed in its first 12,000-mile service a little while back.

Things didn't begin well. We waited more than 48 hours for a response following an initial online enquiry using Ford's website, but after that the quality of service improved greatly.

ford_s_max_ltt_3_oct_07.gif

We gave Dagenham Motors in Highbury our details and asked for the 'collect and deliver' service, saving us having to visit the dealer. The car disappeared at the allotted time and reappeared exactly when they said it would - and all for a reasonable £195. A few days later we also received a follow-up call checking our experience with the dealer was okay. Always a nice touch.

Unfortunately, Dagenham Motors then blotted its copy book by sending us junk mail a couple of weeks later after we'd specifically told the service department, when we initially gave our details, that we didn't want this to happen. A phone call to a senior executive at the dealer group mentioning the Data Protection Act prompted an apology and we've had no junk mail since.

The S-max then continued to pile on the miles on the Continent without incident. However, a few oddities have since come to light.

The third, high-level brake light [1] stopped working north of Watford the other day, but as soon as I headed back South it started working again. We'll keep an eye on it.

We also had cause to use our Ford to jump start another car - my father-in-law's motor was refusing to wake up - but discovered this was impossible as the S-max only allows access to the positive terminal of the battery [2]. Why? And is this common these days? We'll let you know when we find out.

The only other oddity is that while the DVD satnav is generally great and can navigate across continents to reach tiny French ski resorts, it doesn't know where Ford's own Essex HQ is.



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