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Fleet World Fleet: Ford S-Max ST-Line 2.0 EcoBlue

Family-friendly transport need not always be a compromise, says Alex Grant.

Ready-set for family life but good to drive too; our S-Max aims for the best of both worlds

With three kids under five, I’ve accepted a few compromises. I spend more time in soft play areas than at the pub, sleeping properly is a distant memory and, while my heart desires a fast family estate car, my head knows I’m better off in an MPV. For that final point, the S-Max somehow ticks both boxes.

Segment-busting cars often end up as the worst of both worlds, but Ford has done well here. The S-Max looks more like a pumped-up estate than a boxy MPV, and it drives well too – there’s no high-sided nervousness or wind roar at motorway speeds, it’s relatively frugal, and it’s surprisingly manoeuvrable around town.

However, it’s also excellent as an MPV. A Galaxy offers significantly more room in the third row, but they’re occasional-use seats for us. Fold them flat and it offers a buggy- friendly boot with three individual ISOFIX-equipped seats in row two – talents no similarly sized estate, or SUV, can match. Continuing the human race comes with its compromises, but the S-Max manages not to leave me feeling like I’ve jettisoned the last of my (admittedly limited) street cred to make room for the kids. Bravo, Ford.

P11d/BiK: £36,760(36%) MPG/CO2: 42.2mpg (WLTP) /156g/km (NEDC Correlated) Test MPG: 38mpg

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Alex Grant

Trained on Cardiff University’s renowned Postgraduate Diploma in Motor Magazine Journalism, Alex is an award-winning motoring journalist with ten years’ experience across B2B and consumer titles. A life-long car enthusiast with a fascination for new technology and future drivetrains, he joined Fleet World in April 2011, contributing across the magazine and website portfolio and editing the EV Fleet World Website.