New Ford S-Max to get class-leading driver assistance features

  • 15-Oct-2014 08:26 EDT
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The new S-Max is based on Ford’s CD4 platform shared with Edge and Fusion/Mondeo.

Ford launched revised and new products at the 2014 Paris Motor Show highlighted by the new S-Max. The model will replace the original launched in 2007, when Ford introduced the concept of a five/seven seat people mover. This model, using new architecture and powertrains, will see the debut of Ford’s adaptive steering system for Europe and will also be the first Ford to be offered with LED headlamps with glare-free high beam. Ford claims its pre-collision assist system is the first in the S-Max segment.

Among the targets set for the new car were improving some styling-related features including the LED headlamps. According to Uli Koesters, who is the vehicle line director for Ford of Europe’s C and D car segments, this gives new intelligent lighting functionality that Ford has not had before: “For example, the vehicle automatically recognizes certain conditions and then adapts the amount of light that it sheds in certain areas. So you can see around the corner or further ahead, and it recognizes if other vehicles are approaching or if you are approaching other vehicles in front of you.” This is Ford’s glare-free high-beam technology.

Ford claims a first in introducing front split-view camera technology, assisting with pulling out from junctions or parking spaces with restricted views. The system uses a 180° camera fitted to the front of the vehicle. Another camera mounted behind the rear-view mirror helps to monitor for obstacles that are closer. “If you are driving through a city and you have kids playing and you can’t necessarily see them because they are hidden behind other vehicles and suddenly jump in front of you, this camera can identify pedestrians and actively apply the brakes,” said Koesters.

“Another couple of new technologies are, for example, the next generation of radar and camera technologies that allows us to develop the adaptive cruise control, but also have pre-collision assist. This takes us from what we have learned from low-speed city driving with active city stop and applies it to the whole speed range by giving the driver an alert to a potential collision. If the driver does not respond, after a few milliseconds the system will prepare to brake. If the driver reacts, the brake pressure builds up much faster. If not, it will start to slow the vehicle down.

“We slow down the vehicle by 0.4 g from top speed to 110 km/h, which is quite noticeable deceleration, and below 110 km/h, it would even apply a full 1.0 g of brake force.”

The current S-Max was based on the Ford Galaxy MPV platform. Ford models are now using modular construction and the new S-Max will be based on Ford’s CD4 platform.

“Most of the chassis have very similar modules, with some of the powertrain content and some of the body content shared between the Edge, Fusion, S-Max, and we are going to talk soon about the Galaxy,” said Koesters. “That has given us the opportunity to generate some significant scale, not only together with a supplier to make sense in investing in certain solutions, but also because the development of these technologies is extremely extensive. The amount of testing that you have to do, especially on safety-critical content, means that we have to be certain that it is all working. Development shared across models that will exceed 600,000 units per year helps then if you want a product that by itself could not be afforded.”

Ford will offer a 160-hp (119-kW) 1.5-L EcoBoost gasoline engine and revised 2.0-L diesels with power outputs of 120 hp (89 kW), 150 hp (112 kW), and 180 hp (134 kW) as well as a 240-hp (179-kW) 2.0-L EcoBoost gasoline engine with automatic transmission. The Euro 6 compliant diesels will not be fitted with selective catalytic reduction aftertreatment but with a passive SCR system and a lean NOx trap. Service intervals are set at 30,000 km (18,600 mi) or two years.

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