Underneath the old Mk1 Ford S-Max (2006-2014) is a Ford Mondeo, which explains why it’s good to drive.

In fact, this is one of the few socially acceptable family vans for true motoring enthusiasts. Not only that, but it will also take up to seven bodies. It’s a bit of a squeeze in the rearmost two seats but at least they fold flat.

There were four engine options from the off. The 2.0-litre petrol was okay and the turbocharged 217bhp 2.5-litre petrol would struggle to get over 34mpg. So unsurprisingly, the 1.8-litre and 2.0-litre diesels took the bulk of sales, delivering 40-50mpg. Note that in 2007, a more flexible 2.3-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel on top-spec Titanium models broadened buyer appeal.

As for equipment, every model has electric front windows and remote locking and virtually all have air-con. Even so, it’s best to get at least Zetec spec. Better still is Titanium, which is a nicer place to be because of its parking sensors, cruise control and auto lights and wipers.

98 Ford s max front quarter driving

A facelift in 2010 ushered in new 2.0-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel engines and a Powershift automatic gearbox. The following year, a 158bhp turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel went on the price list so there is a massive choice of engines. Indeed, almost as many as there are cubbyholes – at the last count 26.

The S-Max isn’t the most reliable of models and statistically all people carriers lead a tough life, so at the very least they can be scruffy with a patchy MOT record. Otherwise, there can be water leaks in the cabin because of blocked drainage and that can cause electrical issues. So ensure the air-con works, as well as other major electrics such as windows, locks, heated rear screen, auto headlights and in-car entertainment.