In one of the most closely fought contests for years, Ford's sporty MPV, the S-Max, has won the 2007 Car of the Year contest.
The S-Max won by a margin of just three points from Vauxhall's Corsa supermini. Citroën's new C4 Picasso MPV came third.
The competition's 58-strong panel of jurors - motoring journalists from 22 European countries, including Autcar's Steve Cropley - gave the S-Max 235 points. The Corsa got 233 points (making it the judges' favourite of three superminis in this year's shortlist). The C4 Picasso was awarded 222 points.
All eight finalists in this year's competition (there are usually seven, but two cars scored equal votes in the first round) were well supported. The Skoda Roomster won 189 votes, and even the Fiat Punto, which came eighth, amassed 138 votes, far more than usual for last place.
Ford management will take the S-Max's victory as clear backing for their decision to launch a driver-oriented MPV at a time when demand for full-size MPVs has been falling. It is the second win for an MPV in the Car of the Year contest's 44-year history. The first MPV winner was the Renault Mégane Scénic 10 years ago.
The 2007 Car of the Year trophy will be presented to Ford bigwigs at a ceremony in Amsterdam on 22 January.