Ford B-MAX: Readers' Drives

  • Our B-MAX Titanium compared to mid-spec Zetec
  • Owners Tanya and John full of praise for the Ford
  • EcoBoost falling short of economy claims disappoints

It’s always interesting to hear other people’s thoughts when you drive the same sort of car, especially when it’s a car you don’t see in huge numbers, like the Ford B-MAX.

Many of you know that I was a teacher before I joined Parkers, but you won’t know that at the 13-plate changeover in March two former colleagues bought B-MAXs – a pair of Zetec EcoBoosts. So, when it came to canvassing opinions, one of them, Deputy Head Tanya Wiles, along with her husband, John, were all too happy to share their views on the car.

Opting for a Moondust Silver example in Zetec trim meant that the Wiles’ B-MAX comes with the 99bhp version of the 1.0-litre engine as opposed to our Titanium’s 118bhp version (which has since been superseded with a 123bhp edition). It also misses out on the fuel-saving stop/start function.

Additionally, the Zetec does without some of the higher specification’s equipment, such as the Sony DAB radio, climate control and, most noticeably from the outside, it rides on smaller 15-inch alloy wheels.

John says they’re still happy with the specification they chose although he misses not having a front armrest and cruise control, both of which the Titanium features.

Tanya likes the B-MAX's higher seating position

Tanya enjoys the raised seating position of her B-MAX

Having downsized from a Honda CR-V, Tanya enjoys the B-MAX’s relatively high seating position, “making it feel like a much bigger car.” They bought a closely-related Fiesta EcoBoost at the same time which she says by comparison “feels too close to the ground”.

John likes the more commanding view too, but has an issue with the seatbelts. It’s not the same gripe I highlighted but instead related to it “not feeling in a natural place to grab,” instead scooping your arm behind yourself to pull it out from behind your back.

Ford’s SYNC infotainment system impresses everyone I’ve met who’s used it and the Wileses are no exception. “It’s great for making and receiving calls as well as playing music through Bluetooth,” said Tanya, although they’ve yet to try other functionality like the text message reading. “I’m not sure I’d want my messages reading out,” ventured John. Anyway, moving on…

John demonstrates Ford's Sync system, as well as his good taste in modern composers

Although the Wiles’ kids are growing up - their youngest twins are almost teenagers - they still want a car that offers practicality. “Sliding doors would have been great when the twins were babies making it easy to get their seats in and out,” says John, “although nowadays I find it’s dead easy to get my golf clubs in.”

So, is there anything they don’t like about their B-MAX?

Tanya immediately leaps back into the driver’s seat to complain about the thick windscreen pillars, something I encountered on my initial drives too. “I know they have to be thicker because there’s no central pillar, but they really restrict your view, especially at junctions.”

Thick windscreen pillar gripes strike again for Tanya

“The biggest disappointment’s been the engine,” says John. “It’s powerful for a little 1.0-litre but it’s not as economical as it says in the brochure – we’ve been getting about 44 to 45mpg.” It’s short of Ford’s claim of 55.4mpg but closer to the official figure than I get with the Parkers one – en route to meet the Wileses the overall average crept up to 37.2mpg, considerably short of the 57.7mpg suggested by Ford.

Would they buy one again? “YES!” was the immediate response. Then there was a pause. “I might consider the next model up when it comes around to trade-in time,” suggests John, “and we might look closer at a diesel too,” chips in Tanya before adding “we got a great finance package from the Ford dealer and the B-MAX has done everything we’ve asked of it – so why change?”

Seven months in and they’re B-MAX converts.

And what of the Parkers’ B-MAX? Next time I’ll be reporting on how it performed on a long weekend in Scotland.

Total mileage: 7,991 miles Average mpg: 37.2 mpg