Garage forecourts throughout Britain are overflowing with fantastic value new family cars which are perfect for the summer holidays
Garage forecourts throughout Britain are overflowing with fantastic value new family cars which are perfect for the summer holidays. One such motoring marvel is the Ford S-Max. This unassuming multi-purpose vehicle is distinguishable from its rivals as it focuses more heavily on driver satisfaction. The S-Max therefore has confidence inspiring traction, smooth responsive steering, and very little body-roll considering its class.The S-Max is available with a wide range of engines. However, drivers who crave copious amounts of power for the school run will be most attracted to the 2.5-litre petrol. This unit produces 216bhp and propels the S-Max to 60mph in 7.4 seconds. Top speed is 143mph which is extraordinary for a seven-seater with a boot the size of Wales. Families who favour economy over speed may prefer the 123bhp 1.8-litre diesel. This frugal model hits 60mph in 11 seconds and returns an impressive penny-pinching combined average of 45mpg. Motorists who like lugging the kids around in a traditional estate may fall for the stoic charms of the Volkswagen Passat. This Germanic hold-all is one of the most robustly constructed vehicles on the market so it should last long enough to become a family heirloom. The best engine choice for balancing performance and economy is the 2.0-litre 137bhp diesel. This returns a combined average of 49.6mpg and accelerates to 62mph in a respectable 10.1 seconds. This complements the Passat's family focused safety features which in 2005 earned it the maximum five Euro NCAP safety stars. Motoring.co.uk's new car database lists the Ford S-Max with 'buy safe' sellers from £17,550. The finance section reveals the Volkswagen Passat estate is available on a personal contract purchase plan for a £5,729 deposit plus thirty-six payments of £289 at 4.7% APR.