THE Ford S-MAX is a really sensible family choice because of the comfort and practicality it offers.
Smart and adaptable, the spacious seven-seater looks more stylish than ever in top Vignale trim and this MPV looks cool.
SUVs may be more popular these days but they aren't as versatile as the S-MAX, nor as sharp to drive and the big Ford also offers a high driving position with great visibility.
The S-MAX also comes with a huge amount of kit that you would normally only find in executive models and you can now have it with self-charging hybrid power.
Inside the interior feels huge and the slim comfortable seats have been specially designed to provide extra legroom.
You can select from 32 seating and load-space combinations with the second and third row seats folding at the touch of buttons located just inside the tailgate.
Plenty of storage is available inside the cabin and tray tables are very useful for the kids. Tie-downs in the boot provide extra security for luggage and with the second and third row seats folded flat the S-MAX can be turned into a van with 2,020 litres of space.
As in most seven-seaters, the third row seats are only suitable for children but they are fairly easy to access.
This model has stacks of kit with a fully body styling kit, 19-inch alloys, rear spoiler and rear privacy glass. It also comes with a leather wrapped instrument panel, a heated steering wheel, ambient lighting, heated front seats and adaptive LED headlamps.
It also comes with a Quickclear windscreen and stacks of other equipment. This model also features Ford's SYNC 3 system with a large touchscreen, navigation, Ford Pass Connect and Emergency Assistance. There is a DAB radio and dual zone air conditioning as well as cruise control and an electric handbrake.
The S-MAX has all the latest safety equipment and for £1,000 you can add a Vignale Assistance Pack which adds, Active Park Assist with parallel and perpendicular parking, park out assists, adaptive cruise control, front and rear view camera and a blind spot information system.
Get behind the wheel and the S-MAX can pass for something much smaller - it is relatively nimble and disguises its bulk in a way few MPVs can.
It corners and handles well with little roll and provides lots of grip. The steering is sharp and accurate and the compliant suspension does a great job of dealing with all the lumps and bumps on our roads.
The 2.5 Duratec petrol engine is good for 190PS and powers its way to 62mph in just 9.9 seconds before going on to a top speed of 115mph. It really feels quite sporty and agile to drive despite its size and its fuel economy is also impressive.
Helped by the hybrid combination and the CVT automatic box it is capable of up to 51.4mpg according to the latest WLTP figures with a combined figure of 43.5mpg. I averaged just over 45mpg during my week with the car - very good for a car of this size.