Ford B-Max 1.0 EcoBoost Zetec
The Ford B-Max is something of a revelation. It has the same eye catching design as the latest generation Ford Focus in a bigger package, all of the same engines, yet it starts from just £12,995. The perfect small-sized family MPV? It has the potential to be that's for sure.
The model we're concentrating on today is the Ford B-Max 1.0 EcoBoost Zetec which costs £15,395. You get a decent amount of equipment as standard, including air conditioning, DAB radio, alloy wheels, front fog lights, and side and passenger air bags, which is enough for most families.
Under the bonnet is a 99 bhp and 123 lb/ft 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. This is the very same engine that has won several engineering awards and in the large B-Max it pulls surprisingly well, with more than enough low-end grunt and mid-range pull. 0 - 62 mph happens in 13.2 seconds, but it feels better than that, such is the responsiveness of the throttle and the crisp gearing, that's perfectly spaced to ensure you're almost always on boost. The only drawback to the drive is the lack of a sixth gear, which makes this B-Max a little noisy on the motorway.
Around town it's fantastic though. The steering is sharp and the suspension works well to absorb all uneven road surfaces. Because the engine up front weight so little, the B-Max is also really good fun to drive with all of the charm its smaller sibling, the Fiesta, benefits from.
It's efficient too. Annual tax costs just £30 and you can easily achieve 50 miles per gallon on the motorway - Ford says you can get up to 55.4 miles per gallon, but you'd have to be really careful to achieve that in my opinion. I recently tested this car and on a 200-mile round trip and I managed to achieve 48.8 miles per gallon.
That makes this B-Max way more efficient than the Meriva it goes up against today. It's also better equipped and in my opinion it looks better. Incredibly, it even costs less. In fact, you can get a 1.0-litre 125 EcoBoost engine in Titanium S/S trim for just £35 more than the Meriva 1.4 T or a 1.5 TDCI for almost £1,000 less.
The B-Max really is excellent value for money.
So what about practicality? Well, the B-Max has quite a small boot at 318-litres and extended this only stretches to 1,386-litres. The upside of this is plenty of space in the rear for children and plenty of space up front. Speaking of up front space, the B-Max has a much nicer interior than the Vauxhall, although neither are particularly inspiring or of a high quality. It does have to be said that the Vauxhall is more spacious, though.