If you search Google for the Volkswagen Touran, it returns 2.3 million potential web pages, which is pretty impressive considering it was so late to the MPV party.
Arch-rival Vauxhall gets nearly four million hits for the Zafira, which had a four-year head start after it launched in 1999.
It’s a pretty basic test, but it shows the clear in-roads made by Volkswagen into this key territory.
And with 4,000 miles fast approaching on our long-termer, it is simple to see why the Touran is such a strong contender.
It easily looks smart enough for the company car park, although it’s hardly a babe magnet. In fact, it is more of a baby magnet thanks to its third row of seats.
Over the holiday period, the Touran was filled to the gunwales with relations and their squawking offspring.
Some of the seatbelts are quite a fiddle when it comes to using child seats.
Most seats are OK but the centre seat in the middle row and one of the third row seats have a twin buckle arrangement that creates a three-point seatbelt from a single overhead reel.
I found the best way to get passengers in the back comfortable was to open the boot and lean in to reach the buckles properly, which provided bags of amusement for passengers.
With children in the rear two rows there is plenty of room, but if you throw in an adult who will want to slide one of the middle seats back on its runners to make room, then space is at a premium.
And as with all medium-sized MPVs, the result is barely any space in what’s left of the boot for all the stuff the passengers bring.
Still, I had no complaints once we were underway.
This is partly down to the brilliant ride and handling, which offers a perfect balance of compliance and body control.
The Touran takes whatever the road throws at it and even the impacts of potholes are filtered away before they reach driver and passengers.
It is also very quiet at speed, despite the small 1.4-litre petrol engine working hard in the background.
The 140bhp unit, which packs a punch thanks to its supercharger and turbocharger, coped well with all seven seats filled, although you can predictably feel a drop in performance when carrying five adults.
That may also be why fuel economy has fallen to 34mpg.
I spoke to another Touran driver in the company car park to get her thoughts on the car.
She, too, loved the back seats in her TDI model, although she wasn’t sure how long it would be before the children outgrew the rearmost ones.
She liked the high seating position because she said it managed to avoid a “mum’s minibus” feel.
I also helped her with the on-board computer, which offers an “over-speed” warning that can be set to sound an alert when the car reaches a specified speed to avoid accidental speeding.
Unfortunately, hers was set at 20mph and she thought it was a serious problem with the car, which meant she drove into work at 19mph.
A couple of clicks later and it was sorted, but it’s useful seeing how modern safety devices can actually have the opposite effect for some company car drivers.
Price: £18,262 (£20,147 as tested)
CO2 emissions 176
Company car tax bill (2007) 22% tax-payer: £73 per month
Insurance group: 9
Combined mpg: 38.2
Test mpg: 34.0
CAP Monitor RV: £6,800/37%
Contract hire rate £366
Expenditure to date: Nil
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles