The Ford S-Max is a great MPV – and a very impressive tow car.

There’s lots of space inside if you are travelling in the front or the second row, and the sixth and seventh seats are fine for children or short hops.

Stow the third row into the floor and there’s a big boot – large enough to take all our test load of holiday luggage.

As a tow car, the S-Max felt very stable at the legal limit and beyond unless the wind picked up. Even in a stiff crosswind there were only gentle movements needing little or no steering correction from the driver.

There’s strong performance from the 180PS (178bhp) diesel engine, accelerating from 30-60mph in 11.8 seconds. For a front-wheel-drive car, the S-Max handled the hill start well, too. The electronic parking brake held reliably and released smoothly.

Plenty of revs and some clutch slip were necessary to pull over the hill, but otherwise the S-Max towed over the slope without fuss.

Leave the caravan behind and the Ford is enjoyable to drive, combining a supple ride with composed handling. It’s refined at speed, too.

The biggest black mark against the S-Max is that the handbook warns against towing with the space-saver spare – hence the modest practicality score.

However, we’d make the effort to carry a full-size spare in the boot or the caravan, as in just about every other way the Ford is an excellent seven-seat tow car.

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