Ford's S-Max Concept previews new European model

  • 05-Sep-2013 04:03 EDT
Ford S-MAX Concept.jpg

The four-door Ford S-Max Concept showcases design themes that launched on the Fusion.

Ford’s S-Max Concept features an array of connectivity technologies to complement a more refined interior and exterior presentation in comparison to the current production model sold in Europe.

“Package-wise it’s not too far off the current vehicle, but visually it’s become a much more upscale design language. Today’s car is very slab-sided, very sheer, and this (S-Max Concept) has much more voluptuous shapes on it,” J Mays, Ford Motor Company’s Vice President of Design and Chief Creative Officer, said during an interview with SAE Magazines.

Journalists saw visual images of the concept vehicle during an Aug. 27 media presentation in Dearborn, MI. The actual S-Max Concept makes its world debut in September at the IFA consumers electronics show in Berlin, followed by the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.

The concept vehicle has two front seats, three second-row seats, and two third-row seats. “We call it five plus two seating,” Mays said. The second row’s middle seat can be pushed forward flush to the floor, “so the second row has a pass-through into the third row,” said Mays, noting that the backside of the second-row middle seat incorporates cupholders.

High-grain leather, ultra suede fabric, and carbon fiber are used on the seats. “It’s actually colored carbon fiber. We were able to put gold strands in (the carbon fiber) that match the vehicle’s exterior,” said Mays.

A novel interior focal point is the center stack’s dual-view display.

According to Jim Buczkowski, Director of Electronics and Electrical Systems Engineering, Ford Research & Innovation, the driver and front passenger see different information on the dual-view display that was developed with Sharp, a Ford technology partner.

“It’s a standard liquid crystal display with a special kind of filter on the front of it. Think of it as each line in the display is a different picture. One is the left-hand picture, and one is the right-hand picture. And the filter on it routes one set of lines to the driver and the other set of lines to the passenger, so they see two different pictures from the same display,” Buczkowski explained.

Connectivity has a significant role on the concept vehicle, and that is especially relevant in light of Ford’s plan to offer its Sync system with MyFord Touch in Europe sometime next year with 19 languages available. The European version of Sync/MyFord Touch provides the same underlying features and capabilities as the North American system. “We’re not introducing any special features in Europe that we haven’t introduced in North America or vice versa,” said Buczkowski.

The S-Max Concept features Sync with MyFord Touch to provide wireless Internet access in-vehicle and a second-row tablet docking station to allow passengers to integrate their personal devices.

Safety technologies on the concept vehicle include an advanced version of Active Park Assist with perpendicular parking capability, Cross Traffic Alert, and park out assist.

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