The Ford B-Max is the company’s new variation to the downsized family car. But next to a countless number of competitors, how will this Ford model fare? It does offer the standard features, such as the well-advertised siding rear doors and the utility-oriented hatchback. But seen and experienced side by side to its ride, handling, and performance features, can the B-Max last in the next years? Read on to find out if this latest family car offering will find a place in your garage.
The B-Max is certainly downsized in size: its body is 200mm shorter than the Vauxhall Meriva. Other smaller measurements include the 150mm shorter wheelbase and a height just a little above 1.6m. Engines are positioned in sideways with the B-Max sporting the new “global B-Car platform,” which means the suspension is at the front MacPherson struts, the torsion beam at the rear, and with the front wheels driven by the said system. There’s also the re-engineered steel body-in-white for better crash safety and rigidity delivery, since the new model does away with B-Pillars.
The Ford B-Max’s most impressive feature is its side doors. These are designed for closing either at the rear or at the front. Flashy design aside, the doors clearly have their advantages once you see them open up. And although the doors give the driver a blind spot once closed, the passenger side benefits from the door’s position. Plus it’s easier to unload and load long boxes when placed from the side; no need to worry about the B-pillar causing any extra trouble.
Performance is impressive thanks to the remarkable improvement made in the right aspects. Although the Ecoboost engine is rather rorty than the Focus, it does respond rather cleanly as you accelerate and rev from 1200rpm to over 6000rpm. The unit’s turbocharged power stands out when you engage in fourth gear, pull from 20mph to 40mph, and arrive at such speed as quickly from 50mph to 70mph. The interaction is straightforward and very flexible. High revs also keep delivering, with only a little noise at 5500rpm but not as much after 2500 rpm. In terms of economy, the B-Max is able to draw 41.3mpg and an average at 34.9mpg—a generally decent output, but still not as good as the 1.6 TDCi at 96bhp. This default motor of choice gives the B-Max a 70mpg potential; emissions are practical at 104g/km.
Unfortunately the Ford B-Max isn’t as ambitious in ride and handling, especially against the more dynamic Nissan Note. Its responsive and controlled ride, and grippy yet involved steering is comparable and practically equal to the C4 Grand Picasso—the difference lying in how less comfortable it becomes along surface changes at low speeds.
But the B-Max makes up for this dynamic compromise in its mature and fine-tuned maturity against its rivals. Steering builds steadily over time and well weighted, enabling tactile interaction through its front contact patches. Consistent, reassuring, and controlled roll rate is promised as well. You won’t have any problems either getting feedback from the brake pedal and its precise modulation.
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