Ford S-Max Concept proves minivans aren't always minivans [w/video]Tue, 10 Sep 2013 19:01:00 EST
Ford's latest don't-call-it-a-minivan is called the S-Max Concept, and it's a looker. As you can see, the conceptual overgrown hatch makes good use of Ford's latest design language, especially at the very front of the S-Max, which bears a striking resemblance to production models that include the Focus, C-Max and Fusion.
Powering the S-Max Concept is a 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine, and while Ford doesn't actually list power figures for the concept, previous estimates put the mill at 133 kW of power (about 178 horsepower) and 240 Nm of torque (about 177 pound-feet). Inside, there's room for seven passengers and at least some of their luggage.
As you'd expect, the S-Max is loaded up with all of Ford's latest infotainment technology, including Sync and MyFordTouch. More interestingly, there are also onboard heart and blood glucose monitors that we doubt will be seeing the light of production anytime soon. On that topic, don't expect to see any S-Max-shaped vehicles hitting the US market from Ford, either. Scroll down below for the press release, but not before checking out the high-res image gallery above.
Ford S-MAX Concept Evolves Unique White Space Appeal with Beautifully Crafted Design and Smart Technology
- New S-MAX Concept reveals Ford's vision for future sport activity vehicle
- S-MAX Concept builds upon the popular current model's style without compromise ethos with sleek design, detailed craftsmanship, advanced technologies and more flexible interior
- Connectivity and wellness features include SYNC with MyFord Touch, Ford ECG Heart Rate Monitoring Seat and Glucose Level Monitoring
- Advanced safety and convenience technologies include car-to-car communications, Intelligent Protection System with Pre-Collision Assist, Dual-View Display and advanced version of Active Park Assist
- Dynamic driving appeal and efficiency delivered by new 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine
COLOGNE, Germany, Aug. 28, 2013 – Ford Motor Company today revealed the new Ford S MAX Concept, a new sport activity vehicle that takes the style-without-compromise ethos of the popular current S-MAX to new levels with a sharper design, advanced technology, and premium craftsmanship.
"When Ford unveiled the SAV – sport activity vehicle – Concept in 2005 it immediately captured the public's imagination and inspired us to produce today's S-MAX, a true white space vehicle," said Barb Samardzich, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe. "Our new S-MAX Concept takes that unique appeal to the next level with Ford's latest design and technology innovations for a new generation."
The new S MAX Concept employs the latest Ford global design language with a high mounted grille, swept-back headlamps and a unique treatment of the vehicle's lower fascia that includes design elements that appear to float within the lower front aperture and above the spoiler.
The characteristic S-MAX profile has been honed with the front bonnet sweeping seamlessly into the sharply raked front screen, which in turn flows into the dynamic arc of the roof to create a unique glass roof graphic. This sleek silhouette surrounds a spacious and versatile interior that offers anything from four-to seven-seat configurations.
"S MAX drivers are passionate and bring high expectations – they see their S-MAX as a one-of-a-kind vehicle," said Martin Smith, executive design director, Ford of Europe. "Our mission was to exceed their expectations in every area while respecting the core of what they love about the S-MAX."
Further exterior design cues include a feature line running along the side of the vehicle to deliver an impression of length and speed, sculptured muscular shoulders, and distinctive headlamps featuring Organic LEDs – the latest development in lighting that offers greater flexibility in terms of positioning and design, fast response and colour range.
The S MAX Concept interior is an expression of cutting-edge design, convenience, connectivity, flexibility, and craftsmanship.
The front cabin places the focus firmly on the driver. Dynamic shapes and forms combine in a high-set instrument panel that cuts back in the centre console and creates a feeling of space. The door panels are similarly sculptured and an innovative interior roof design maximises the feeling of spaciousness.
High quality materials, including an ultra-soft leather wrap for the instrument panel, and leather and carbon fibre detailing for the sculptured seats, give the interior a sophisticated aura.
"The fine detailing and visible craftsmanship in areas such as the instrument panel air vents reward the driver for really paying attention," said Smith. "Each and every element of the interior stands up to close inspection with intricate and thoroughly considered design."
The Ford S MAX Concept also employs leading-edge Ford features and technologies to provide customers with new levels of connectivity and well-being as well as safety, convenience, and driving appeal.
The Ford SYNC system sits at the heart of the vehicle's advanced connectivity features. Ford SYNC with MyFord Touch delivers wireless internet access for passengers, supported by a tablet docking station that allows second row occupants to seamlessly integrate their personal devices into the vehicle.
SYNC AppLink enables the driver to voice-control smart phone apps from an expanding list of service providers, which include Spotify, Kaliki, Glympse and Aha, bringing additional music, news, personalised information as well as location and navigation options into the vehicle.
SYNC also enables additional features to improve health and well-being:
- Ford's ECG Heart Rate Monitoring Seat records the driver's heart rate, delivering long-term heart activity data that would otherwise need to be recorded at medical centres, and offers the potential to connect with Ford SYNC to alert remote medical experts to unusual activity or even trigger active safety systems to take over in a case of emergency
- Glucose Level Monitoring connects with Ford SYNC could warn parents if a sleeping child in the rear seats suffers a diabetic episode
Sophisticated communications and sensor systems provide the S-MAX Concept with detailed information about the driving environment, to enhance awareness and safety:
- Ford's advanced car-to-car communications technology enables the vehicle to talk to similarly equipped vehicles, delivering warnings in the event of oncoming traffic on the wrong side of the motorway, or if a vehicle has stopped in a potentially dangerous situation such as a blind bend in the road
- Ford Intelligent Protection System with Pre-Collision Assist identifies pedestrians and automatically applies the brakes if a collision is imminent
- Advanced version of Active Park Assist featuring perpendicular parking capability, park out assist and Cross Traffic Alert is the next generation of Ford parking technology, able to control steering, gear selection and fore and aft movement, and assist drivers in leaving parking bays by alerting them to approaching traffic
The interior design offers a range of smart solutions to enhance flexibility and versatility:
- Thin Seat Technology is employed in the third row of seats, enabling the seats to be raised and lowered in a single action with minimum effort. An intelligent second row of seats makes it easy to get in and out, with a centre seat that folds into the vehicle's floor and allows for maximum versatility
- Dual-View Display in the centre console delivers different images to the driver and front passenger using the same screen, ensuring the driver receives important information without being distracted, while the front passenger can enjoy a movie at the same time
Advanced Ford powertrain ensures that the renowned S-MAX driving appeal is raised to a new level:
- High-efficiency powertrain features the all-new 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine with turbocharging, twin-independent variable camshaft timing and further advanced technologies to enhance power and fuel economy
"The new S-MAX Concept is not only a unique proposition in terms of its uncompromised combination of styling, versatility and driver-focused dynamics, but also through its innovative technologies delivering superior safety, well-being and seamlessly integrated connectivity," said Pim van der Jagt, executive technical leader, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. "With the S-MAX Concept we aimed to demonstrate just how wide a scope of technologies Ford is preparing to deliver for customers in future generations of vehicles."
By Jeremy Korzeniewski
See also: Ford C-Max sales hold steady despite fuel economy fracas, Ford doubling 1.0L EcoBoost engine production, Ford board OK with Mulally stepping down earlier.