A slightly bizarre creation, but Ford's 'MPV with attitude' is a curiously compelling proposition. It should be on any MPV buyer's list, particularly if you're an enthusiastic driver.

What’s new?

This is Ford’s attempt at building an MPV with genuine ‘want one’ appeal. Built on a new, independently-suspended platform, and styled using the company's new ‘kinetic design’ philosophy, it’s a crossover featuring parts of off-roader, elements of SUV and characteristics of a sports hatch.

What’s it like?

You can’t expect this car to handle like a hot hatch. However, for a seven-seat MPV, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The steering is accurate, the body control remarkably good, and overall, it’s quite fun to drive. Thankfully, Ford’s engineers have left the chassis remarkably compliant, so the ride is comfortable.

With Ford’s Foldflat system, all seven seats disappear into the floor, meaning you won’t graze your knuckles trying to remove them. The cabin is spacious, although the third row of seats is really only for children, as leg and head room are a bit compromised.

There’s a wide range of engines available – including the fine 2.0 litre diesel – but the Focus ST engine is the performance choice. It’s much quieter in this application, but its lusty torque suits the character of the S-Max.

Should I buy one?

If you need plenty of seats and practicality, but don’t want to give up enjoying your driving, the S-Max is worth a look.

Adam Towler

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