Favourite Ford road test

Ford produces the biggest selection of family cars on the market – but which is the one for you? We put four to the test to pick the best.

Ford family group test

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs… you’ll probably purchase a Ford! The choice available to family car buyers in today’s market can be truly baffling. Scores of manufacturers claim to offer the perfect household transport in all shapes and sizes to fit into every budget. But glance at the sales charts and the results of the past year’s Auto Express group tests, and it’s clear that there is one showroom that has several class-leading gimmick-free options under a single roof. Ford is on top form. Virtually every car in the blue oval’s line-up offers great dynamics, sound practicality and good design – but which provides the ultimate solution to family car motoring?

To find out, we’ve brought four of the firm’s most versatile models together in an unprecedented head-to-head test. And where better to do so than Ford’s British home, Dagenham, which will soon pump out more than one million engines per year?

At the heart of this group is the 2007 Auto Express Car of the Year, the Mondeo. The conventional family machine will have to tackle competition from the firm’s S-MAX MPV, Kuga SUV and compact load-lugger, the Focus Estate.

All of our Fords have diesel engines of varying capacities and power outputs. There is an increasingly strong argument for choosing petrol units in many new cars, but we reckon the current crop of blue oval models work best in oil-burning form. We’ve even included the Mondeo ECOnetic to see if a family car engineered to go green is the perfect option for the 21st century household. May the best family Ford win!

Verdict

Few firms can match the strength and breadth of the blue oval range. Every one of our contenders has proved a top choice in their own class, but only one can claim the title of the ultimate family Ford.

Fourth place goes to a five-door whose space-per-pound ratio just doesn’t quite make sense here. For any buyer who doesn’t need to regularly carry children, the Kuga is arguably the most desirable model in our quartet. But the limited and luxurious line-up means it can’t match the value offered by its peers for family buyers.

Third place is picked up by the Mondeo. It is a great family car, but in ECOnetic trim its drive and desirability are too compromised to make it a winner.

In the end, the duel for the top spot was between an MPV and a compact family estate. There’s no doubt the S-MAX is a mighty people carrier with wide abilities, but do you really need all that space and the option of seven seats? If the answer is yes, it’s unbeatable. For most, however, we’re convinced the Focus will fit the bill – and save you a fortune in the process.

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