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Frankfurt show: Ford to debut redesigned S-Max

Sugar coated: Knowing that parents are key prospective buyers of its new S-Max, Ford has built in carefully targeted technology to its concept car such as a glucose level monitor.

Ford S-Max concept set for show debut but Australia looks to be sitting on the Edge

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Ford logo29 Aug 2013

By TERRY MARTIN

FORD has unveiled a near-production version of its new-generation S-Max people-mover ahead of its debut at the Frankfurt motor show next month.

Due on sale in Europe next year, the S-Max is not on Ford Australia’s agenda, despite the company’s increased emphasis on global models as it prepares to close its manufacturing operations in 2016 and discontinue its locally built family cars, including the Territory SUV.

A replacement for Territory is expected to come from another fully redesigned model such as the forthcoming US-developed Edge mid-size crossover, which will be built off the same platform as the S-Max ‘sports activity vehicle’ but will carry SUV (rather than SAV) overtones that Australian buyers generally find more appealing.

Brandishing the Blue Oval’s new corporate look, dominated by a large gaping grille, the S-Max concept maintains the current model’s sporty-but-practical orientation and builds in new safety and convenience technology.

The familiar Sync and MyFord Touch connectivity systems are onboard, but Ford has added some unique touches that demonstrate the potential of its new technology, such as an ECG (electrocardiogram) heart rate monitoring seat that is ready to dial ‘000’ in case of emergency.

There is also a glucose level monitoring device that can be connected with Sync and warn parents up front if a sleeping child in the rear compartment suffers a diabetic attack.

Other technology of note includes a new iteration of ‘active park assist’, which can now help out drivers when leaving a parking space and alert them to approaching traffic, and car-to-car communications that enable the vehicle to ‘talk’ to similarly equipped vehicles and deliver relevant warnings as required.

An ‘intelligent protection system with pre-collision assist’ can reportedly identify pedestrians and automatically apply the brakes if a collision is imminent, while a ‘dual-view display’ in the centre console also debuts on the concept, showing different images and information to the driver and passenger on the one screen.

As well as the emphasis on styling, safety and connectivity, Ford claims the S-Max will offer a high level of cabin detail, craftsmanship, versatility (via new features such as ‘thin seat technology’) and driver-focused dynamics.

The concept is fitted with Ford’s all-new 1.5-litre EcoBoost turbo-petrol engine, which Ford announced earlier this month would be fitted to the redesigned Mondeo coming here in the second half of next year. Ford of Europe product development vice-president Barb Samardzich described the current S-Max as “a true white space vehicle” that has been a hit with European buyers since its introduction seven years ago.

“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,” she said.

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