TRADITIONAL large vans converted in some form to become people carriers have always had their own niche in the car market.
Such vehicles have now moved up market and offer far more sophistication in their make up along with all the latest technology.
Take the long running Ford Transit, for example, which some 30 odd years ago I used to take my local scouts on their annual summer camp packed in with eight kids along with tents and other camping paraphernalia. It was all fairly crude with no comfort but it did the job.
Step forward to now and jump inside the latest Transit people carrier - the Tourneo Custom Titanium X - and it's a new world with luxury from top to toe.
Admittedly the Titanium X is top of the range and costs a whopping £44,658 but this new Ford people carrier is obviously not aimed at humble scout groups anymore and more for the premium business market carrying executives from A to B.
It's ideal too for hotels, posh restaurants and airlines transporting people around and has all the hallmarks of an expensive and luxurious mode of a travel - just like a top executive limousine.
This modern day seven-seater (there's also a nine-seater available on a long-wheelbase platform) has all the trimmings such company executive travellers would expect, such as leather trimmed seats, front and rear air conditioning, privacy glass, twin sliding side load doors with steps for ease of access and much more.
For passengers the ride is a far cry from those earlier Transit days. Improvements to the chassis and suspension make it a whole different ball game - this Tourneo even had the Â£1,104 option of rear air suspension to further improve comfort.
For the driver, there are now more car-like features that it really makes life as a chauffeur so much easier with distinctive Mondeo/Focus features inside.
The dashboard is clear and concise in its lay out and there's an infotainment system plus heated seats and door mirrors, cruise control, adjustable speed limiter, LED daytime running lights, blind spot warnings, a rear view camera, front and rear parking sensors and much more.
Power now comes from a much cleaner 2.0-litre 128bhp diesel powering the front wheels coupled to a six-speed automatic gearbox which has exceptionally quick and smooth gearchanges.
It really is a most refined engine that's responsive enough with a stop/start system. It has a claimed top speed of 99mph with a combined fuel consumption of 39.8mpg.
That's a rather conservative figure and over some 600 miles of mainly motorway driving this Tourneo returned an impressive 41.4mpg, admittedly while not fully loaded.
Drivers of large people carriers always tend to worry about the vehicle's height and whether it will fit into normal car parks. The Tourneo was fine and at less than two metres high there were no dramas when parking in height restricted supermarket car parks.
Despite the overall size, it's an extremely easy vehicle to drive.
There is bags of room inside with plenty of sensible storage spaces and ample head and leg room. Safety systems include front and curtain airbags.
The only minor niggle for the driver is on fuel filling with the filler cap sited next to the front passenger door.
Overall, the Tourneo Custom Titanium X may be expensive but compared to rivals like the VW Transporter it's still represents good value for the money.