Latest first drives New Ford B-Max
Ford's new B-Max compact MPV uses clever sliding rear doors to offer unimpeded access for passengers. How does it stack up?
Members can see our full first drive verdict of the new Ford B-Max, including our full video, first impressions, car specs and pictures. Sign up for £1 if you're not a member, and here's a sneak peek of our first drive video and verdict.
New Ford B-Max first drive video
Fiesta-based Ford B-Max is compact yet very spacious
New Ford B-Max: What's new?
Ford has done away with B-pillars (the centre pillar between the front and rear doors) in the B-Max, making it far easier for passengers to get in and out.
The B-Max is a compact five-seat MPV based on the Fiesta, and nominally replaces the ancient Ford Fusion. It's some five inches longer than a Fiesta, but a full 12 inches shorter than the C-Max, the next biggest MPV in Ford’s line-up.
Six engines are available from launch. Ford's 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost petrol engine is available in 100 and 120bhp versions, offering a mix of performance and economy (the 120bhp version of offers up to 57.7mpg and 114g/km of CO2). A 1.4-litre 90bhp unit slots in as an entry-level petrol engine, but if you want automatic, you'll have to choose the 1.6 petrol Durashift.
Diesels are expected to be less popular than petrols, but Ford is offering 1.5 (75bhp) and 1.6 (95bhp) diesels. UK deliveries started in November 2012.
Sliding rear doors and lack of B-pillars give Ford B-Max unrivalled accessibility
New Ford B-Max: What's it up against?
Ford is aiming at supermini-sized MPVs such as the Honda Jazz, Nissan Note and Citroen C3 Picasso, but perhaps its closest competitor is the Vauxhall Meriva. Other options to consider include the Toyota Verso-S, Skoda Roomster, Hyundai ix20 and Kia Venga.
New Ford B-Max: Why should you buy a Ford B-Max?
Ford is targeting two types of customer: young families and older drivers. It thinks both groups will benefit from the sliding rear door design.
There's no centre B-pillar to get in the way so, with front and rear doors fully open, it’s incredibly easy to access the interior (especially useful for fitting child car seats).
The boot is not only very big, but also highly adaptable thanks to its folding front passenger seat that creates a flat load floor some 2.3 metres long. If you’re an Ikea regular, the B-Max could be ideal.
Rear seats fold very easily and even front passenger seat can fold flat
New Ford B-Max: What's its Achilles heel?
Ford's list prices look on the high side. Almost nobody will buy the sparsely equipped entry-level £12,995 1.4 Studio model, and the cheapest 1.0 EcoBoost model costs more than £16,000. At the top end, the B-Max is pushing £19,000, without options.
New Ford B-Max: Running costs
Ford's 1.0 EcoBoost engines and both diesels all emit less than 120g/km of CO2, so tax costs will be low. Choose any of these engines and you should get good fuel economy, too.