The all-new Ford B-MAX is a practical five-seater hatchback based on the popular Ford Fiesta. Its unique selling point is a pair of sliding rear doors that do without central body pillars, offering much greater access to the rear cabin and luggage area. Ford's clever design provides the B-MAX with a 1.5 metre wide opening on either side – compared to the Vauxhall Meriva's 0.7-metre opening. It is due to go on sale in the UK in September 2012, priced from around £13,000.
Price £12,995 - £18,895
If you need a people carrier but don't want to sacrifice sporty handling, then the Ford C-MAX is a great choice. Accurate steering and a sporty chassis means it's the most entertaining MPV to drive, yet it offers plenty of space for families. The latest model is available as a five seater or in seven-seat Grand C-MAX trim, and the latter also gets sliding rear doors to improve access to the back seats. Soft touch fabrics and a moulded dashboard means interior quality is impressive.
Price £17,695 - £25,800
With its modern looks and an ability to offer big-car comfort in a compact, fun-to-drive package, is it any wonder that the Fiesta is Britain's best-selling small hatchback? The value-for-money model consistently tops the sales charts, and holds on to its value as well as some luxury cars from the likes of Audi and BMW. It's available in three and five-door formats, and the line-up is extensive, encompassing eight different trims and a choice of six engines, ranging from 1.25-litre petrol to 1.6 TDCi diesel. The economy champion of the range is the ECOnetic, while the Zetec S is as close as you’ll get to a hot hatchback version.
3 & 5 Doors
Price £9,995 - £17,545
With a distinctive family look and wide variety of body styles, there's a Focus to suit nearly every driver. All Focus models are practical and generously equipped - even entry-level Style and Studio versions offer traction control as standard, while a facelift in January 2008 improved looks and interior quality. An all new version will be available from March 2010, and is reviewed below. Zetec-badged cars are the most fun to drive, with sporty looks and firmer suspension. Flagship Titanium models are among the most luxurious family hatchbacks available.
The Ford Fusion is based on the previous Fiesta, but gets an enlarged body, offering lots of interior space and a raised driving position for a better view of the road. There are four engines to choose from, with the 1.4-litre petrol automatic best avoided, as it's sluggish and noisy, while the 1.6-litre diesel is pricey. The Fusion is an expensive car, but all models come equipped with air-conditioning, alloy wheels and heated windscreens. Despite the interior space, the cabin lacks cubby holes and smaller storage areas.
Ford's biggest car is also its most luxurious, and a recent facelift has added even more equipment to the seven-seat Galaxy. The full-sized MPV isn’t quite as stylish or dynamic to drive as the S-MAX it shares so much with, but it's more comfortable to ride in. With a massive cabin and boot, it's one of the few cars that really will carry seven adults in comfort. The new 2.0 EcoBoost turbo petrol engine is smooth and powerful, but the 2.0 TDCi diesel, available in three power outputs, is more economical. There are three trims: Zetec, Titanium and Titanium X.
Price £25,155 - £33,810
The previous Ford Ka won buyers over with its cheeky looks, fun-to-drive character and inexpensive running costs. But like a bad sequel to a popular film, the second-generation Ka – which is built in partnership with Fiat - isn’t as impressive. It shares its basic underpinnings with Fiat's retro 500. But while the 500 is a great looking car, applying Ford's design rules to the same platform means awkward styling, less driver appeal and lean specification levels. The Ka and Fiat 500 are closely related, but despite the Ford offering a more enjoyable drive, the Fiat is the better choice.
Price £8,725 - £12,225
It took Ford a while to enter the compact SUV market with its Kuga, but it was worth the wait. Both four and front-wheel-drive versions are available, and Ford's stylish SUV majors on good looks and driver appeal, but it does so at the expense of some practicality. Its cabin is a snug fit for four adults, and there is only limited storage on offer. It feels like a tall Focus to drive, and is a strong contender in the SUV class. It's not cheap, though, as it's priced to rival Volkswagen's Tiguan.
Price £20,895 - £29,045
If you think Ford's big-selling family car is a ‘middle of the road’ choice, think again. The Mondeo, facelifted in the latter part of 2010, is anything but average. It's spacious and practical, while the suspension and chassis balance comfort and sportiness. There are ten petrol and diesel engines to choose from, and there's a trim level to suit nearly every pocket. Even base model cars are well equipped.
Price £21,250 - £31,005
The Ranger is Ford's rugged pick-up. Unlike modern SUVs, like the Kia Sportage or BMW X1, which are biased towards road use, the Ranger gives true off-road ability. It's practical too, thanks to its large truck bed, although the cabin is smaller than you might expect. The Ranger is designed predominantly as a commercial vehicle, so it's tough and should be reliable. However this also means that fewer concessions to comfort have been made, so the Ranger is noisy and can be uncomfortable on longer trips.
4 & 2 Doors
Price £18,665 - £30,499
The Ford S-MAX is a people carrier that offers masses of space and seven-seat versatility for family buyers. Ford developed the car alongside the similar-looking Galaxy, but made that the ‘luxury’ version, while the S-MAX is the ‘sporty’ one, with slightly sleeker styling. All four trim levels - Edge, Zetec, Titanium and Titanium X - are well equipped and the S-MAX is built using solid materials. It's considerably more expensive than rivals, however, with flagship versions rivalling the likes of BMW's 5 Series on price. The S-MAX was updated in 2010, gaining a new front end with revised bumpers and lights along with 1.6 and 2.0-litre EcoBoost turbocharged petrol engines.
Price £22,805 - £32,575