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Ford B-max: Test Drive Review

Date: 27 August 2012   |   Author: David Motton

Category: Supermini-MPV
P11D price: £18,840
Key rival: Vauxhall Meriva

Downsizing may be one of the motor industry's buzz words of the moment, but the supermini-sized MPV has never really sold in numbers to rival larger people carriers. Ford hopes the new B-max will change all that when it goes on sale next month.

With its high seating position and sliding rear doors, the B-max has 'Motability' written all over it, but there are good reasons why the new Ford should appeal to other fleet users, too. For one thing, its economy and emissions figures are among the most impressive in the class.

The 120hp 1.0-litre Ecoboost achieves 57.7mpg on the combined cycle and emits 114g/km of CO2, putting it in the 13% BIK bracket.

It's an exceptional engine that belies its small capacity with zesty performance and an eager character. It's also remarkably refined for a three-cylinder, and when it makes itself heard there's a pleasing off-beat thrum.

The 95hp 1.6 TDCi engine isn't as quiet or as much fun, but the economy and emissions figures stack up very well. It returns 70.6mpg and emits 104g/km of CO2 for a 14% BIK tax banding, while the equivalent Vauxhall Meriva emits 119g/km and sits three bands higher. Ford's hard work on economy and emissions is partly offset by some stiff pricing, though. The P11D cost for the 1.6 diesel, which is only sold in top-spec Titanium trim, is £18,840. Rivals from the likes of Nissan and Skoda (see below) are significantly cheaper.

The B-max is every bit as good to drive as you'd expect of a car that shares its platform with the lively and likeable Fiesta. It corners eagerly and the ride is firm but composed. Wind and road noise are also kept in check.

Don't expect to stretch out in the back seats - this may be an MPV but it is based on a supermini - yet there's enough legroom for adults to be reasonably comfortable and there's plenty of headroom. The sliding rear doors are unique in this class and give easy access to the back seats in narrow parking spaces.

Luggage space is less generous than in the Meriva, but the boot is a good square shape, has under-floor storage and can easily be extended by folding the 60/40-split rear bench. The front passenger seat also folds flat for long loads, even on the basic Studio model, which really is very basic as even aircon is on the options list (£700). No wonder, then, that six out of 10 cars registered are expected to be Zetecs, with 15-inch alloys, halogen projector headlights, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, manual air-conditioning and a digital radio all included.

Ford B-max 1.6 TDCi Titanium
P11d price£18,840
Model price range£12,995-£18,895
Residual value32.3%
Service, maintenance
and repair
Vehicle Excise Duty£40
National Insurance£1170
Cost per mile42.0p
Fuel consumption70.6mpg
CO2 (tax)104g/km (14%)
BIK 20/40% per month£44/£88
Service interval1yr/12,500mls
Insurance (1-50)group 8
Warranty3yrs/60,000 miles
Boot space min/max304/1386 litres
Engine size/power1560cc/94hp
Top speed/0-62mph108mph/13.9secs
On saleSeptember 2012
VerdictA practical and
engaging small
MPV with low emissions


A practical and engaging small MPV with low emissions