From a distance, the S-Max and Galaxy look very similar – Ford uses the same independently sprung chassis on both. Close up, the differences are easier to spot. The S-Max is lower by 69mm and has a subtly raked roofline, a more aggressive-looking front with a slimmer grille, high-intensity circular fog lights and slatted air vents just below the bumper line.

It also has a bigger, trapezoidal lower air intake and – hot design flourish of the moment – front wheelarch vents. It’s also 52mm shorter than the Galaxy.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
The S-Max doesn't come with a spare wheel – there's a tyre inflation kit instead

The upshot is that it looks exactly as Ford intended: sporty first, sensible second and, with that shorter rear overhang, impressively unbulky. This links into the thinking that the S-Max will more naturally appeal to buyers moving out of a saloon, estate or hatch, rather than those locked into an MPV mindset.

Ford offers the same three trim levels as it does on its other road cars. In basic Zetec specification, the S-Max comes equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control and front and rear parking sensors.

Middle-range Titanium trim adds larger 17-inch alloys alongside cruise control, a DAB radio and automatic headlights and wipers. Top-spec Titanium X trim upgrades the S-Max’s wheels even more to 18-inch alloys, while also granting a sports body kit (including a lower grille and a more pronounced front valance).

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Titanium X models also feature twin chrome-ended exhausts, which look smart and add to the sporty look of the car, but the fake rear diffuser is perhaps a step too far. Further upgrades include special leather trim and a panoramic roof.

And, sadly, those air intakes behind the front wheels are fake, though they do again add to the sporty stance of the S-Max.

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