Our Fleet Test Drive: Ford S-max - Final Report
25 January 2008
Author: Tristan Young
Our S-max has proved the model is a serious business proposition. We'll miss it
It's a year since the Ford S-max became BusinessCar's 2007 Car of the Year and we've finally had to hand back the keys of our long-term test car.
The only thing stopping us adding the word 'reluctantly' is the fact that the S-max has been swapped for our 2008 Car of the Year, the Ford Mondeo. But more about that car in future issues.
White is historically a poor colour for residual values and many fleets still ban it, but we acted on a hunch and ordered our 2.0-litre TDCI Zetec model in Diamond White. We weren't disappointed. The S-max looks great in white and it's no-longer the turn-off it used to be, at least according to BCA's Stuart Pearson, who spoke on RVs at BusinessCar Live in September.
Despite the above, you may still find you're better off going for a non-white colour, given the amount of time and money we spent keeping it clean.
The S-max quickly became a favourite for those staff members needing to carry either people or loads  and, providing you weren't carrying seven people, often both. The seats were wonderfully easy to fold, and the practicality of a full-size middle centre seat was greatly appreciated by those of us fitting a child seat into the car.
The award-winning mini-MPV went to France on holiday three times  and on tour around the UK too many times to list. As a result, we racked up nearly 20,000 miles in the car at an average of 35.1mpg. And everyone commented on the car's excellent driver appeal; minimal body roll yet comfortable suspension.
There were things we didn't like. The electronic parking brake drew criticism, as did the satnav . But the biggest disappointment was the interior build quality because a number of pieces of trim worked themselves free. Still, now that we've spoken to a couple of fleets also running them it seems that cars built early in the model's life are the only ones affected.
Assuming build quality has, indeed, been tightened up, you should never be disappointed with an S-max. Let's hope our new Mondeo can perform as well.