Ford S-MAX - best people carriers and MPVs
Based on the Mondeo, Ford’s seven-seater is still the best MPV to drive, and it’s impressively practical, too
The Ford S-MAX is spacious, practical and cheap to run, and while the latest model isn't the driver's car the original was, it's still hugely comfortable and refined on the move.
Buyers get a choice of four diesel and two petrol engines, including a very quick 237bhp turbo petrol unit – but most people plump for either the 148bhp or the 178bhp 2.0-litre TDCi diesel. They’re flexible engines, and though economy doesn’t trouble the likes of the Citroen C4 SpaceTourer, the S-MAX is still pretty cheap to run.
The 7-seat S-MAX isn’t as roomy as its larger Galaxy sibling, and the rearmost seats are pretty cramped. There’s also precious little boot space when they’re up, but there’s decent room when the car is in five-seat mode.
The handsome S-MAX is offered in three trim levels, from Zetec through Titanium and Titanium Sport. For those who want a little more luxury, the standalone Vignale model offers all the kit plus extra sound insulation and quilted leather seats – but it comes at a very hefty price, and is only offered with the highest-powered engines. For most buyers the lower trims will make more sense, and every car comes with the essentials.
Best people carriers and MPVs
- 1IntroductionHere are the 10 best MPVs and people carriers to buy this year – all loaded with family-friendly features and lots of space
- 21. Citroen Berlingo MultispaceIt's not the most stylish, but the Citroen Berlingo Multispace offers van-like practicality and good value
- 32. Citroen C4 SpaceTourer/Grand C4 SpaceTourerThe Citroen C4 SpaceTourer offers great fuel economy, a practical interior and a hefty dose of style
- 43. Renault Grand ScenicA total redesign has turned the Renault Grand Scenic from a dowdy family bus into a stylish MPV with a crossover vibe
- 54. Ford S-MAX - currently readingBased on the Mondeo, Ford’s seven-seater is still the best MPV to drive, and it’s impressively practical, too
- 65. Kia CarensKia's Carens MPV won't set the world alight with its design, but it makes a sound buy thanks to strong economy and a class leading warranty
- 76. Vauxhall Zafira TourerBigger and better-looking than its predecessor, the Zafira Tourer is a great option for comfortable family transport
- 87. Ford C-MAX/Grand C-MAXOne of the finest handling small MPVs on sale, the C-MAX is also impressively practical and available with five or seven seats
- 98. BMW 2 Series Active Tourer/Gran TourerGood-looking, great to drive and luxuriously equipped, the 2 Series Gran Tourer is a worthy first MPV from BMW
- 109. Ford Tourneo ConnectA van-based MPV that drives like a car, the Ford Tourneo Connect isn’t as refined as the competition, but it’s practical and well priced
- 1110. SEAT AlhambraThe SEAT Alhambra is mechanically identical to the classy and spacious VW Sharan, but cheaper