I have been enjoying the parade of new cars from big blue. The new Ford B-MAX is no exception. Its a cleverly designed premium compact car which can double as a micro van.
The pretty unique feature is the rear doors which slide open, which is great in a garage and in a parking lot and because the middle (or B) pillar is built into the door the opening is as big as a van, or 1.5m wide. Ford calls it the easy access door system, and it is just that.
The B MAX is built on Ford’s B platform on which it shares with the Fiesta and EcoSport, but the interior feels bigger than that of the Fiesta and the boot is really bigger, squeezed into a just over 4m long car. The boot space is 304 litres when rear seat is being used but enlarges to 1 372 litres with the rear seat folded. The rear seats have seven folding combinations giving a 2.35m long load area.
It comes with a choice of one engine in two power outputs and three trim levels, Ambiente, Trend and Titanium but only in manual, at least for now.
The engine is the very efficient and effective 1 litre 3 cylinder EcoBoost unit which provides a zippy 92kw and torque of 171 Nm. The cherry on top is that you can expect around or just above 5 litre/100km.
Electronic stability control and hill launch assist are standard as are all the expected safety systems.
Nice to have items include electric windows, rear parking distance sensors, rear fog lamps, follow me home lights and daytime running lights, and a 1.5 litre bottle holder.
The fuel computer displays distance to empty, average fuel consumption, average speed, outside temperature. Included as standard is a rear power point and rear view mirror with reverse camera display, except in the base model.
The sound system includes a good Radio, CD, USB & Aux, Bluetooth, 8 speakers, 4.2″ TFT colour screen and the SYNC Gen1 interactive connectivity system.
I liked this car. It is practical, comfortable, handles and performs well and is a good size being small enough to fit small spaces but big enough to take a proper load and have good road manners. It drives almost as well as the Fiesta.
The Titanium model we drove had the panoramic roof, which gives an impression of space. The interior feels bright and airy.
The range is priced from R223 900 to R274 900.
Possible alternatives include the Ford Ecosport, Toyota Avanza, Honda Mobilio, Kia Soul and Suzuki Ertiga. A direct competitor is the Fiat 500L.
All B-MAXs have a warranty of 4 yr / 120 000km and a service plan for 4 yr / 60 000km.