Small car, big doors: B-Max opens up

Friday, 10 February 2012 10:52 AM

2012 Ford B-Max

The all-new Ford B-Max gets an all-new easier access system for flat-pack-families everywhere

Flat-pack furniture ferrying woes for self-erecting families everywhere may well be a thing of the past if Ford’s new B-Max side door design lives up to the pictures. As we can see here, the new B-Max has a pair of wide-sliding rear doors – called the Easy Access Door System – that offer up an opening up to 1.5 metres wide; double that of the rivalling Vauxhall Meriva’s rear-hinged rear door access of around 0.7 metres.

This gape is achieved by a new design flair that integrates the central body pillars (B-pillars) into the doors, instead of the traditional fixed B-pillar design.

“Door systems like this have been a designer’s dream for many years,” said Stefan Lamm, exterior design director, Ford of Europe. “We set ourselves the challenge of re-imagining the small car,” he added. “People are struggling with the spatial challenges of city driving and we wanted to find a new solution.”

And once (more easily) inside, the B-Max interior space is designed to take maximum advantage of the Easy Access Door System with rear seats and the front passenger seat that can be folded flat to create a large load platform, to accommodate everything from bicycles to flat-pack furniture. The fitter of us out there will be limbering up for a cycle ride, the rest of us perhaps dreading more weekends spent battling the now more easily couriered flat-pack with a furious hammer!

To keep the B-Max chassis as stiff and side-impact-safe as it should be without those more usual pillar placements, Ford engineers spent significant time in design and crash-testing, and employed special ultra-high-strength steels, which provide up to five times the strength of conventional mild steel, throughout key body-strength areas.

Large-load-luggers will be pleased to hear that the new Ford B-Max will debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month and go on sale in Europe later this year.

By Daniel Anslow

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