What's good? Strong and economical engine. Comfortable interior. Good equipment.
In case you didn't know, Ford recently slashed the price on two of its B-Max specifications amid poor European demand. Of those models slashed includes the Titanium Edition, which has fallen from £17,595 to £16,595. That's a £1,000 price drop, and that's rather significant on a new car. So is there anything wrong with the B-Max? Why the price drop? Simply, the reason Ford has dropped the price is because the likes of the Ford Focus represent good value for money for families. People are waking up and realising that 99% of the time, they do not need an MPV. So should you give this car a miss?
The Ford B-Max is a stylish car. Unlike many MPV's, this is compact, and it doesn't look oddly proportioned - in fact, it's as chic as a Ford Fiesta. Titanium trim benefits from a unique body kit and alloy wheels, which sets the cars appearance alight. Lower specification models look okay, but the extra detail in the Titanium model takes it to another level.
Inside, the good design continues, but I'll talk more about that below. Overall, the B-Max is a good looking car and it's much better looking in person than on any picture.
Once you drive an EcoBoost engine, you wonder why you'll ever want or need to drive a TDCi again, because they are just that good. There are two versions available in the B-Max - a 1.0-litre unit and a 1.6-litre unit. My car today has the former, and it's a strong performer around town and on the motorway.
Officially, this version of the B-Max will accelerate from 0 - 62 mph in 13.2 seconds, but it feels far brisker than that. The engine benefits from a small turbocharger which provides boost low down in the rev range, and the B-Max picks up at 30 mph in almost any gear, aside from fifth.
Perhaps even better than the engine is the ride quality, which is near perfect. It glides over rough surfaces and it never crashes over potholes. Despite the sporty alloys, this car does not suffer from road noise and on the motorway at 70 mph, there's only a hint of wind noise, which allows for a civilised conversation. In many ways, the B-Max drives like a Focus, which is a compliment.
Up front, the B-Max is rather sporty. The dashboard is designed like a spaceship (it's a higher quality take on the one you'll find in a Fiesta), and this car shares many of the same internal parts as the Ford Focus. In most ways, then, the B-Max is a high quality car, with good switchgear, weighty controls, and plenty of soft touch materials to make the interior a little bit special. There are some hard plastics - the door cards and the drivers foot well play host to plenty of it, but all in all, the B-Max is nice.
With a spacious boot that can hold 318-litres of 'stuff' without the rear seats folded, the B-Max is an ideal car for the monthly shop. If you do fold down the rear seats, you have a whole 1386-litres to play with which is roomy by anybody's standards. The back seats are very comfortable and rear leg room is good. Also, as with all Ford, you get a neat windscreen that will defrost itself - it's the little things, you know.
Ford's 1.0 EcoBoost has won plenty of awards for its efficiency.
In the B-Max, this engine will return 55.4 miles per gallon combined with a CO2 output of 119 g/km, which translates to an annual road tax cost of £30. For a car of this size, that's extremely good, and of course because this engine is petrol there's no finicky diesel particulate filter to go wrong. On the motorway, the 1.6 TDCi will better the EcoBoost's economy, but it won't offer as sweet a drive around town.
Trim and Equipment
This car has a revised on-the-road price of £16,596. Aside from Titanium X, Titanium trim is the top specification money can buy. It includes every piece of equipment a family will ever need, such as climate control, cruise control, heated electric power folding mirrors, heated seats, Bluetooth, iPod and MP3 connectivity, alloy wheels, front fog lights, plus much more.
Titanium also includes a unique body kit, and the alloys are unique to this car, too.
This is a very well equipped car for the price. The only optional extra I might consider ticking is satellite navigation, which costs an additional £400.
The Ford B-Max, in this trim level and with this engine, is a fantastic family car. It's economical, practical, spacious, well built, and it's a capable performer. If this were the only car in Ford's line-up for families, it would be a winner, but as it stands a Ford Focus is just as good. It might not offer the same head room, but the boot is only 2-litres smaller at 316-litres and in Titanium trim with the 1.0 EcoBoost, the Focus costs £19,595. That's £3000 more than the B-Max after its price cut, but it's low enough for families to at least consider the hatchback.
Ultimately, though, this B-Max now represents excellent value for money. It's not as sharp as the Focus, but that extra sharpness is not worth £3000. In fact, it's worth nowhere near.
As such, I highly recommend this car for families.