Wednesday, 25 April 2012 4:14 PM
Ford’s new mini-MPV, the B-Max, will be popping up in Ford dealers all over the UK very soon - you can order one now and it’ll be delivered in September. There’s been a fair chunk of B-Max interest from TotallyMotor readers, especially around those wide-opening doors, and today was our first opportunity to get hands-on with a full production-spec B-Max at the Ford HQ in Brentwood, Essex.
No test-driving as yet but we did give those new doors a good tug, poke around the interior and generally try it out for size and comfort.
Ford B-Max Titanium first look review
B-Max takes up about as much floor space as the Fiesta on which it’s based, but for the sake of inner space, the mini-MPV is of course taller. However, it still comes across as an easily-manageable size and shape to cope with the nipping and tucking of city life.
This Titanium spec B-Max was presented in a pleasant bronze colour with Ford’s latest and quite stern-looking family face – with intricate, back-swept headlights and high and solid-looking shoulder lines – and while this practicalities-focused new Ford needs its taller roofline, it wears it well in the metal. These 17-inch alloys look good, too.
The B-Max Titanium on show will cost you at least £17,595; up to £18,895 for the low-emitting (104g/km of CO2) 1.6 TDCi 95PS, while a Titanium spec car with Ford’s new 3-cylinder 1.0 T 100PS EcoBoost petrol engine (119g/km of CO2) begins the Titanium range at £17,595. However, the range starts at £12,995; so £3,000 more than a Fiesta.
But, with B-Max, it’s all about those disappearing doors, and it’s the only car in town to offer well over 1 metre of side-entry space.
Into the interior:
First up, let’s deal with those doors. The B-pillar – the roof-to-floor, front and rear door-splitting metal pillar that we see clearly on any 5-door car is now built into the rear sliding doors on each side, and as such, slides back with the door on opening. So, for all intents and purposes you can forget about these solid obstacles to entry.
There were plenty of engineering issues to resolve to make this system work – crucial as it was for Ford to offer something new and extra convenient to this market segment – but Ford are quoting a torsional rigidity on a par with the Fiesta and have used stronger steel in crucial areas to ensure B-Max meets its side impact safety requirements. In fact, they expect the car to score a maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP safety tests.
The doors slid easily with a relatively gentle tug of the chunky handle and roll back smoothly and click into place in the fully open position. Ford has certainly refined the open and slide operation here and with the conventional (and quite wide) front doors fully open there is indeed a very large entrance into the interior space.
The front passenger seat easily folds flat and the rear seats do a usual fold flat trick that, with an adjustable boot floor, gives nearly 2.5 metres of load length from front to rear in the B-Max. Loading kids, granny or heavy potted topiary will be considerably easier on the back with this gapping side portal to work with.
The Titanium trim is at the top of the trim tree, and for the moment I can’t tell you how the entry-level Studio trim B-Max looks and feels, but with buyers spending a fair chunk extra on the finer things of interior life on their smaller new Ford; it’s fair to say that the more expensive Titanium will be popular with the punters.
The clocks binnacle is of familiar Fiesta fare; as is the audio and colour screen centre-dash pod. All tried and tested in Fiesta and still modern enough in looks to suit the B-Max. However, all-new for the B-Max is the heater control panel below the audio deck which is super-clean and ergonomically-centred. A side-viewed person is illustrated on this control and you simply depress the relevant illustrated body part to heat or cool that bit of you.
The half-leather trim looked darkly classy and every Ford I’ve extensively test-driven recently has scored very highly for me on seating position, quality and comfort, and the B-Max hasn’t let the side down.
I’m 6’ 4” tall and I sat comfortably behind a driver of 6’ 1” in height, with room for knees, elbows and head in decent supply. Four “full-size” adults could happily travel in the B-Max; five with a bit of back-seat-nestling.
Ten second sum up:
So far, so good on looks, and inner space and quality, and with the underpinnings based on the spunky Fiesta, a test drive on our ragged roads shouldn’t disappoint. If Ford can make the much bigger S-Max drive like a saloon, then the B-Max should surely deliver when the going gets quicker. We’ll report on that side of the B-Max’s personality as soon as we get behind the wheel…
Prices and availability:
The all-new Ford B-Max range starts at £12,995 for the Studio 1.4 90PS, rising to £18,895 for the Titanium 1.6 TDCi 95PS, and is available to order now with deliveries expected in September.
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