Ford B-MAX mini MPV
Price £13,095 - £19,325
- Wide door opening
- Cheap to buy and run
- As easy to drive as a Ford Fiesta
- No seven-seat option
- Automatic only comes with one engine
- Quality isn’t up to Volkswagen standards
At a glance
"The Ford B-MAX is a mini MPV with unique doors designed to maximise its practicality. It’s fun to drive, too."
There are few compact family cars as versatile as the Ford B-MAX. It's closely related to the small Ford Fiesta, but it has a tall and roomy cabin with two sliding rear doors – so it's easy to get in and out of – and a folding front passenger seat that enables you to fit long loads inside. The boot is big and well shaped, too, as well as having a false floor that can be raised to make a flat surface or lowered to increase space.
However, the B-MAX's most distinctive feature is its pillarless doors. Push back the sliding doors (they actually move very easily) and you’re greeted by a wide, open space with no beams or pillars to obstruct access – making fitting child seats very easy.
All this means the B-MAX's more traditionally styled rivals, such as the Vauxhall Meriva, Citroen C3 Picasso and Hyundai ix20, have their work cut out beating the Ford for family-friendly practicality.
The B-MAX's engines are equally enticing – at least some of them. The star of the line-up is the punchy yet economical 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol. It's available in two power outputs, but our pick is the most powerful 123bhp version – even if 0-62mph takes a rather slow 11.2 seconds. However, through the gears and when overtaking, it feels much quicker.
There are two diesel engines to choose from, but they’re more expensive than the petrols. The best is the 1.6-litre, which is usefully more powerful than the 1.5-litre and can still manage over 70mpg fuel economy.
The B-MAX is a tall car, but it handles and grips well, with little body lean in corners. The price of all that control is a firm, although not uncomfortable, ride.
Cabin quality is excellent and there are four trim levels, ranging from Studio to Titanium X. The Studio is cheap but quite basic – although it does have DAB digital radio – so we’d go for mid-range Zetec with the most powerful EcoBoost petrol engine. For your money you get alloy wheels, air-conditioning, Ford's excellent Quickclear heated windscreen and an all-important child observation mirror.
Although it lacks central door pillars, the B-MAX is a safe car. Euro NCAP awarded it the full five stars in its crash tests and standard safety equipment includes a full set of airbags, electronic stability control, emergency braking assistance and tyre pressure monitoring.
The Ford B-MAX diesel is costly to buy, making the impressive EcoBoost petrol very appealing
Avoid the sluggish entry-level Ford B-MAX engines and you’ll be driving the most fun car in its class
The Ford B-MAX is an easy car to live with, but its dashboard feels cluttered
The Ford B-MAX has a small boot, but unique side doors and thoughtful design makes up for it
Ford isn’t performing well for customer satisfaction these days, but the Ford B-MAX is very safe