OTHER people carrier makers took quite a while to catch up with Ford's very good S-MAX.
It's no different to most of them to look at but it is very comfortable and also handles like a much smaller car.
Most of the others when it came out had good comfort, but they came nowhere close on the handling front where the big seven seat Ford was way out in front.
Even now, it is still right at the top of the all round ability list.
Buying one secondhand should not be a problem - there are loads out there to choose from.
I'm going to concentrate on the model built between 2010 and 2015, where it's quite easy to find one with low mileage and full service history.
None of them feel like a big MPV from behind the wheel with agile handling and accurate, informative steering.
The 2.5-litre and 2.0-litre turbo petrol engines that topped the range at different times are similar to those used in the Focus ST, with 200bhp and enough grunt to make a real driver's car.
Other petrols are a 1.6 turbo, 2.0-litre and 2.3 with power ranging from 142 to 157bhp.
But of course, if you want decent economy, diesel has still to be the choice for most of us. On offer are 1.6, 1.8, 2.0-litre and 2.2 models, with power ranging from 113 to 197bhp.
The 1.6 is a little under powered for me and, while the 1.8 is fair, the 2.0-litre has to be the best all round bet with decent performance and 47 miles per gallon.
There's masses of grip which makes cornering a joy but, as I said above, comfort is also excellent - whether you're travelling in the front or the rear.
Ford's power steering is excellent, precise and informative and safety is also top notch, with umpteen airbags, seat belt pre-tensioners and stability control.
Refinement is very good with little wind or road noise and loads of seat and column adjustment makes an excellent car-like driving position.
The seats move in a bewildering variety of combinations to cater for every eventuality, and the rear five fold flat easily to make a vast load floor. But the rear two are only big enough for kids.
Equipment in the mid-range Zetec includes alloys, traction control, audio remote control, sports seats, aircon, loads of airbags and an alarm.
Pay about Â£13,000 for a '14 14-reg Zetec, or Â£9,200 for an '11 11-reg higher spec Titanium.