THE first of the new Ford B-Max models, with clever rear side sliding doors for easy access, are already in the hands of a 1,000 UK customers.
Priced from £12,900 there is the normal array of four cylinder petrol and diesel 1.4- to 1.6-litre engines. The B-Max range also comes with the award winning 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with two levels of power output, the best selling 100ps unit and the 120ps version.
There is the choice of the base level Studio, the best selling Zetec and the top spec Titanium levels of specification, depending on which engine is chosen. For those drivers that have the need for an automatic transmission this is available with the 1.6-litre, 105ps petrol engine. The main feature of this new model is the easy-in, easy-out four door system supported by the wide opening rear tailgate.
This design does away with the conventional fixed pillar between front and rear doors – great for loading people or long loads in today's cramped side-by-side parking spaces.
With the upright higher positioned seats loading children is much easier and people with mobility issues will find it much easier to get in and out of the vehicle as well.
With seating for four adults or two adults and up to three children there is 318-litres of boot space but fold down the rear seats to reveal a completely flat load floor and the load capacity goes up to 1,386-litres. Fold down the front passenger seat and the load length for long items is 2.3-metres.
The design has not stopped the B-Max gaining the all-important NCAP five star safety rating.
The front interior design and ergonomics of the instruments and controls are very much the same as the Fiesta. Specification for the base Studio version includes electrically operated front and rear windows and door mirrors, central locking, radio/CD player, front, side and curtain airbags, 15-inch steel wheels with covers, Easy-Fuel capless refuelling function, daytime running lights, electronic stability programme and ISOFIX child seat mounting points. Available with a wide choice of engine options today's financially hard pressed motorists must be clear on which version of the B-Maxsuits them best and in particular which suits their motoring budget best. Sometimes less specification and a less technically advanced engine is more appropriate, so I would suggest the 1.4-litre petrol Studio version could be a better buy and a bit of a bargain for some families at £12,995.