In fact, this is one of the few socially acceptable family vans for true motoring enthusiasts. Not only that, but it will also take up to seven bodies. It’s a bit of a squeeze in the rearmost two seats but at least they fold flat.
There were four engine options from the off. The 2.0-litre petrol was okay and the turbocharged 217bhp 2.5-litre petrol would struggle to get over 34mpg. So unsurprisingly, the 1.8-litre and 2.0-litre diesels took the bulk of sales, delivering 40-50mpg. Note that in 2007, a more flexible 2.3-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel on top-spec Titanium models broadened buyer appeal.
As for equipment, every model has electric front windows and remote locking and virtually all have air-con. Even so, it’s best to get at least Zetec spec. Better still is Titanium, which is a nicer place to be because of its parking sensors, cruise control and auto lights and wipers.
A facelift in 2010 ushered in new 2.0-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel engines and a Powershift automatic gearbox. The following year, a 158bhp turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel went on the price list so there is a massive choice of engines. Indeed, almost as many as there are cubbyholes – at the last count 26.
The S-Max isn’t the most reliable of models and statistically all people carriers lead a tough life, so at the very least they can be scruffy with a patchy MOT record. Otherwise, there can be water leaks in the cabin because of blocked drainage and that can cause electrical issues. So ensure the air-con works, as well as other major electrics such as windows, locks, heated rear screen, auto headlights and in-car entertainment.