But there’s one Ford product that has gone from strength to strength in the same period, and has lived up to its old marketing slogan of being the backbone of Britain: the Ford Transit.

Amazingly, the Transit was just two years into its second generation when Auto Express launched, with the original having served for more than 30 years as the model that shaped the commercial vehicle sector as we know it today. The Mk2’s wedge-shaped front end was in-keeping with other products of the time such as the Sierra, and the look evolved with the Transit Mk3 that arrived in 2000.

When the fourth generation was revealed in 2014, Ford took the Transit badge and used it as an umbrella to create a whole family of models – proof that creating spin-off brands – I’m looking at you, JLR – is nothing new. The Transit grew in size, which made space in the line-up for the medium-sized Transit Custom, while the smaller passenger car-based Transit Courier and Transit Connect completed the family. 

And so it remains today, with the four models putting in sales figures that mean the Transit not only outsells Ford’s passenger cars, but puts it ahead of the leaders in the new-car sales charts. It’s arguable that you could describe Ford as a commercial vehicle maker that just happens to build cars as well.

Dacia Jogger

Darren Wilson

Thirty-five years ago, Dacia was a little-known brand confined to producing simple, affordable vehicles in its domestic Romanian market. These days the Renault-owned firm is one of the greatest success stories of the European car industry, with booming demand for its good-value offerings.

The Jogger typifies Dacia’s clever thinking: give buyers what they need, and don’t expect them to pay for anything they don’t. How else could you come up with a genuine seven-seater based on the same platform as a Renault Clio? 

Like most modern Dacias, the Jogger has an appeal that grows long after you’ve first looked at its slightly awkward styling. There’s a kink somewhere around the front doors, designed to lift the roofline and allow enough headroom for the second and third rows of passengers. The cabin is stock Dacia fare, with the same controls as the big-selling Sandero supermini. Everything is logical, with simple, physical controls.

The car’s real genius is in the rear cabin, where you can fit four adults in comfort, and five with a slight squeeze across the middle row. You can remove the rear pair of seats entirely to help free up 2,085 litres of boot capacity. Dacia has even developed a kit that unfolds into a double bed, so you can use it as a mini campervan.

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