Ford B-MAX: Festival trip

  • The B-Max takes a trip to Glastonbury
  • Boot struggles to fit all camping gear in
  • Twin 12v sockets inside prove useful

I’ve been away from the world of cars for the last week, choosing instead to temporarily live in a field in Somerset at Glastonbury Festival.

Since I was there as a volunteer steward with Oxfam rather than as a normal punter, I’d need to be at the festival site for a whole week and so I needed a car that could carry a fair amount of camping kit and provisions.

You’d think a tall, boxy car like the B-Max would have acres of space for luggage, but since the ’Max is based on similar underpinnings to the Ford Fiesta it’s actually a relatively short car and isn’t blessed with the largest boot in the world.

It does include an adjustable load floor, though, which can be set to a lower height to accommodate taller loads. Even with this in place, the various bags of clothes, food and camping kit I squashed in quickly reached the parcel shelf and a lot of kit ended up behind the front seats instead.

Even taking into account the fact that I over-packed to quite a silly degree (a fair amount of the stuff I took didn’t move from the boot throughout the festival), I was certainly able to fit a great deal more luggage in the Peugeot 306 I’ve previously used to travel to the festival in.

I was travelling on my own to the festival and meeting friends there, but had I been giving them and all their camping gear a lift as well we might have been quite pushed for space.

As it was, I had the car to myself and the two 12v sockets standard on Zetec and Titanium models (one just ahead of the gear lever, one further towards the back of the centre console for rear passengers) meant I could use one for a coolbox full of barbecue fodder and one for a portable sat-nav (a navigation system is available for the B-Max, but it’s a £400 option not fitted to our car). They still work when the engine’s switched off, too.

The USB port for an MP3 player helped keep me entertained on the long journey from the Midlands to Somerset, and it turns out the Titanium’s Sony stereo system is surprisingly bassy. It needs to be though, to drown out the surprisingly loud levels of road noise on the motorway.

Once at the site, positioning most of the camping stuff behind the front seats turned out to be a good move as the sliding doors and pillarless design made emptying all the gear quite literally the work of a moment.

Amazingly, it hardly rained at the festival this year and there was no need to use the B-Max as an impromptu shelter. Loading the car up after it had all finished was also a stress-free task, although the same can’t be said of joining the endless traffic jam leaving the site.

Our car’s high-power 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine feels more comfortable at higher speeds than sitting in stop-start traffic jams, and when combined with the B-Max’s own stop-start system (which cuts the engine when stationary in neutral to save fuel) feels a little abrupt on start-up, shaking the car as it fires into life.

The DAB radio standard across the B-Max range meant I could relive the festival via BBC 6 Music on the way home and the plethora of cup holders and door bins were pressed into action too on plenty of motorway service stops.

Bright sunlight meant the sunglasses holder (standard on Zetec and Titanium versions) was useful too, although it’s positioned in an extremely awkward place above the driver’s door – in fact, until you’re used to it, it almost feels as if you need to take both hands off the wheel to replace the glasses. In the B-Max, where you might normally expect a sunglasses holder to be is occupied by a curved mirror to help keep an eye on kids in the back seats.

Overall, the festival trip was one of the longest journeys and biggest loads I’ve tasked the B-Max with and it mostly took it in its stride.

New Parkers recruit Keith Jones will be taking the B-Max’s reins from now on, but I’m sure I’ll be borrowing it again if I get the chance.

Total mileage: 5,287 miles

Average mpg: 36.0 mpg