Ford B-MAX: Time to say goodbye

  • We say au revoir to our long-term Ford B-MAX
  • Sliding doors and top-spec Titanium trim appeal
  • EcoBoost’s disappointing economy doesn’t

“So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodnight, I hate to go and leave this pretty sight...”

I’m not sure exactly why The Sound of Music soundtrack’s in my iTunes library, but it was rather fitting that it blared out of the Bluetooth-connected Sync system’s speakers on my last drive in our B-MAX long-termer.

Yes, a little over four months since I joined Parkers, it’s time for me to bid adieu to the Race Red Ford B-MAX 1.0T (120ps) EcoBoost Titanium, to give its name in full.

Having covered 4,921 miles in that time and spent £823.87 on 602.37 litres of unleaded petrol in the process, has the B-MAX been a car that’s captivated me?

To quote Loyd Grossman out of context, let’s look at the evidence.

The B-MAX has got a lot going for it, not least its diminutive footprint on the road. It would be stretching it to say the interior’s TARDIS-like – Nissan’s new Note boasts considerably more rear seat room, for instance.

Getting into the car is made easy by virtue of those sliding rear doors and the lack of a central pillar. Whether installing child seats, using it as a small van or simply getting in and out yourself, they’re a definite boon.

If your kids are as brutal as mine can be when alighting from a car, it’s refreshing how infrequently I clench my teeth these days knowing the doors aren’t going to be used to reshape adjacently parked cars’ body panels.

Other aspects I’ve enjoyed include the genuinely decent handling, its surprising ability to cover long motorway miles without me booking an appointment with a chiropractor at the journey’s end and the effective climate control system - standard on Titanium grade.

At times I’ve sounded like a stuck record but I still have a problem with the thickness of the door pillars and how they restrict vision. Yes, you deal with it and ensure you can see properly before making a manoeuvre, but they do make you hesitate before pulling out of junctions or overtaking on single carriageways.

Equally gripe-worthy was the EcoBoost engine’s disappointing fuel efficiency. Over the course of the last four months it’s averaged 37.1mpg, considerably shy of Ford’s claim of 57.7mpg, albeit produced in lab conditions.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no lead-footed fossil fuel glutton, and the B-MAX has spent many a night pounding much of the length of the M1, but even on gentler travels the trip computer rarely suggests much above 40mpg.

So, who’d drive a car like this?

Had the opportunity existed to ‘build’ the B-MAX, it may well have the more frugal 1.6-litre TDCi diesel motor under its bonnet and I’d have specced the optional integral sat-nav too. While I’m at it, Ink Blue and Tectonic Silver paintwork are more me but both cost a further £495. At least swapping to the beige interior colour-scheme costs nothing.

Unfortunately, that package costs an eye-watering £19,990, compared to our example’s already steep £18,770. That’s an awful lot for a small car and more than enough to get you into the agile, roomier and more economical Focus. Or a tasty Fiesta ST and a holiday.

That sums the B-MAX up for me: as fine to drive and as practical as it is, Ford’s own range offers more attractive propositions. It’s not without appeal, as over 17,000 British B-MAX customers so far will testify, but ultimately it’s a head over heart car.

Total mileage: 9,203 miles Average mpg: 39.7 mpg