Here's some good news for Ford: its S-Max earned the 2007 European Car of the Year award. A panel of 58 journalists from 22 countries chose the S-Max over the Citroen C4 Picasso, Fiat Grande Punto, Honda Civic, Vauxhall Corsa, Peugeot 207, Skoda Roomster and Volvo C30. The award is organized by seven top magazines from around Europe.

Ford introduced the vehicle, which it calls a 'sports minivan,' across Europe in June and so far it has been a resounding success for the automaker. It is the first vehicle to use Ford's new kinetic design style that will be seen in more of Ford's upcoming European offerings.

Although putting the words sports and minivan in the same sentence can come off as sounding absurd to anyone who has ever shopped for or owned one, Ford says the S-Max combines the cargo-and-people hauling capabilities of a minivan with the driving dynamics of a sports sedan. Apparently, the journalists agree.

Half the S-Maxes sold so far are top-of-the-line Titanium models, and the automaker is boasting around 50 percent of the buyers of the vehicle are new Ford customers. The S-Max shares its platform with the Ford Galaxy minivan and the upcoming fourth-generation Ford Mondeo.

The S-Max joins the long list of vehicles Ford should be selling here in the U.S.