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I HAD to a double-take the other day. In the car park of a local estate agents, instead of the usual Audi TT that has sat there for the last couple of days was… a Ford S-MAX.

Nothing wrong with the S-MAX, of course. In fact, I rather like it. And this was in perfect Titanium X Sport trim: black, darkened windows, the lot – it looked great.

But that wasn’t the point. Where once was a sporty 2+2 coupe was now a sporty 5+2 MPV. I was intrigued. What had brought about such a change in vehicle? As I was testing an S-MAX at the time (see Ford S-MAX: the family sports car) I was interested to swap notes.

Natalie Shepherd, the director of a local estate agent and owner of the shiny new S-MAX, explained.

“My husband wanted a two-seater after driving a BMW X5. It was also heavy on petrol. On the other hand I had a two-seater. So something had to give!

“I’ve always had sports cars but as you grow up a certain amount of practicality comes into your thinking,” continues Natalie. “That’s why I went for the S-MAX. It has the practicality but looks sporty.

“And do you know what? I prefer the Ford to the Audi,” continues Natalie. “It has its drawbacks. It’s a big car and that makes it difficult to park sometimes when I go out to do viewings.”

“But inevitably when I’m out, I get calls on my mobile and the Ford’s hands-free Bluetooth is brilliant. I’ve never had such easy to use hands-free. And then there’s the sat-nav – very useful when you can’t find an address!”

Away from business use, Natalie has two children of her own and a step-daughter, so she says she inevitably ends up using all seven seats. In fact, she often ends up not driving the car at all. “My husband loves it,” she confesses – so much for giving up the big car for a two-seater then!

“But that’s the thing about this car,” continues Natalie. “Ford makes good cars. The only thing it doesn’t have is the badge. But if you put an Audi or Porsche badge on the front of the S-MAX you could put another £30,000 on the car price!”

I think Natalie is bang-on with her assessment of the S-MAX – it is our Best Business Car MPV afterall. It’s a car that has many interchangeable characters. But they all add up to being a great business car. As Natalie is rapidly discovering.

Business Car Manager: Editor’s Blog on coupe to sporting MPV

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