First drive: Ford S-Max 2.2 TDCi

* Ford's MPV gets new diesel * Fast - 0-62mph in 9.0sec * Frugal - 42.8mpg...

First drive: Ford S-Max 2.2 TDCi

The S-Max has always been the MPV for people who need seven-seat practicality, but still want to enjoy their driving.

Now there's a diesel model for those who want performance, but without the fuel and CO2 penalties of the bigger petrol engines.

The 173bhp 2.2-litre diesel engine is already in use in the Mondeo and will also feature in the slightly more practical Galaxy MPV.

It's smooth, not too noisy and will whisk the S-Max from zero to 60mph is a none-too-shabby nine seconds flat.

Provided you're not doing that all the time, you should get over 40mpg, and CO2 emissions come in at 176g/km.

So this S-Max ticks the fast box. Informative steering, plenty of grip and good body control mean it also ticks the handling box.

The practicality and quality boxes get ticked, too - this is a cracking people-carrier with plenty of space and easy-to-rearrange seats.

The only shame is that the new engine only comes in bells-and-whistles Titanium trim, with its list price of over £23,000.

Thankfully, our Target Price team reckons a saving of around £2000 over list should be possible.

• The S-Max 2.2 TDCi Titanium is on sale now at £23,500.