A growing family tends to be the reason most people buy an MPV, but Ford decided to offer buyers all that practicality in a car that also looked good and was fun to drive. Hence the S-Max. It was developed at the same time as the current Galaxy and uses many of the same parts, but the smaller S-Max has a sleeker roofline and a slightly sportier suspension set-up. The S-Max isn’t as big as the giants of the MPV class, cars such as the Seat Alhambra and Volkswagen Sharan. However, it is longer than most of its other rivals, including the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso and Vauxhall Zafira Tourer. However, its greatest appeal lies in the fact that it’s a big and practical seven-seater that feels more like a sporty hatchback when you’re behind the wheel. Despite this, the S-Max is remarkably comfortable, so you and your family won’t have to suffer a bone-shaking ride. The pick of the engines is the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel; it combines adequate performance with impressive refinement and reasonable running costs. We’d go for Zetec trim, which has plenty of equipment despite being the cheapest in the line-up.