Ford B-MAX: Welcome to Parkers

  • Ford’s pillarless people carrier joins the Parkers fold
  • Top-spec Titanium trim with 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine
  • As tested, our B-MAX is worth £18,770 on-the-road

Joining the Parkers test fleet for the next six months is the rather clever Ford B-MAX, a small people carrier with some neat practical touches.

Chief among these is the B-MAX’s party piece, its ‘Easy Access Door System.’ The front doors open conventionally, but the rear doors slide backwards along runners (which you can spot on the outside of the car just ahead of its tail-lights).

Swing the front doors open and glide the rear doors backward and you’re met with an enormous 1.5m aperture through which to post people and items into the car.

Access is made all the easier by the lack of any kind of pillar in the middle: when shut, the front and rear doors overlap and lock together to create a structure that’s just as safe as a conventional pillar in a side impact.

That makes for an unbroken side opening from the dashboard to the rear seats, meaning that although rear passenger space isn’t anything particularly special, ease of access is the B-MAX’s trump card.

It’s not only easier for people to climb into the car but the pillarless layout also makes it easier to lean into the car when grappling with a child seat, for example, or loading bulky objects when the rear seats are folded flat.

The front passenger seat can fold flat too, to help with carrying long items.

Those sliding doors also make life a bit easier in tight parking spaces, and despite the overlapping arrangement you can open the front and rear doors in any order – the front doors don’t need to be open before you can slide the rear doors back.

Our car’s specification puts it at the top of the B-MAX range. It’s in Titanium trim, which is the highest equipment grade available, and under the bonnet is Ford’s clever little three-cylinder 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine.

It’s an engine that punches well above its weight. Despite its small size it generates 118bhp, making it the most powerful engine in the B-MAX line-up, but it is capable of a useful claimed average fuel consumption of nearly 58mpg.

It’ll be an interesting engine to cover miles with and we’ll be keeping track of its fuel consumption to see how it fares in all kinds of driving conditions.

The engine and spec means our test car is very much at the pricier end of the B-MAX scale. It has an on-the-road sticker price of £18,195 although a choice set of options boosts our test car’s price to £18,770.

They include heated front seats (£175), Active City Stop (£200 – a system that scans the road ahead and can brake the car to a halt automatically to avoid low-speed collisions) and the City Pack options bundle (£200).

The City Pack includes rear parking sensors and heated electric folding mirrors, although as a Titanium derivative the mirrors are already standard equipment on our car.

It’s all topped off by bright ‘Race Red’ paintwork – one of only two colours in the range that you don’t have to pay extra for.

There’s plenty of competition out there for the B-MAX, including the Citroen C3 Picasso and the Vauxhall Meriva, but on first impressions it has what it takes to steal attention from its rivals.

Over the next few months we’ll put plenty of miles under the B-MAX’s 16-inch alloys and find out if there’s more to it than just a fancy set of doors.

You can read more about the B-MAX range in our full Parkers review here.