Ford B-MAX 1.0 EcoBoost

2 Nov, 2012 5:00pm Steve Fowler

The innovative Ford B-MAX has arrived in the UK with the company's multi-award-winning 1.0-litre engine

Verdict

5
A simply fabulous Ford. The combination of the lack of a central pillar and sliding rear doors is the work of genius, while the B-MAX is more comfortable and more fun to drive than any rival. With the added bonus of the brilliant little EcoBoost engine under the bonnet, plus good quality, space and tech, this is a small car that’s very easy to love.

The new Ford B-MAX supermini-MPV is now on sale in the UK, and we were first to grab the keys for a drive through London’s crowded streets.

For anyone who’s not seen the clever TV ad – where a high diver dives straight through the centre of the car – the B-MAX’s USP is the lack of a centre B-pillar which makes getting in and out (or diving through) a doddle.

If you’re worried about structural safety, don’t be. The bits that make a car strong enough to pass stringent side impact tests are all there, they’re just in the door. And they move out of the way when you slide the rear door backwards – itself a slice of genius as anyone who’s battled to get people out of the back in tight spaces will see.

Don’t go thinking the B-MAX is just about the doors, though. This car is Fiesta-based, which means it handles superbly. Okay, so you can’t avoid the extra height making the car lean a bit through corners, but it’s tidier around bends than any rival with nicely weighted steering an added bonus. The turning circle is on the wide side, though, so you might be twirling the steering wheel more than you might expect.

When we drove the car abroad earlier in the year, we were also impressed by the ride comfort, especially as the Fiesta can feel on the firm side. So how does the B-MAX cope here in the UK? Brilliantly is the simple answer – it felt really composed over our horrible winter roads and certainly won’t turn kids in the back green.

We tested a top-spec Titanium model, pricey at £18,195. But that does buy you a car with Ford’s brilliant, multi-award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine under the bonnet, with 118bhp. You can get a cheaper 99bhp version, but the more powerful model offers great response, impressive refinement and superb economy for a petrol engine. Who’d have thought it only had three cylinders?

Inside, quality is okay – as it is in the Fiesta – while the extra height means decent space for four, or five at a push. The boot isn’t exactly huge, but it’ll be big enough most of the time and the rear seats fold easily.

Ford’s full roster of in-car gadgets also features, including the SYNC infotainment system that’ll link your phone to voice control and even read your text messages to you. Plus, there’s Active City Stop, which aims to put an end to nose-to-tail shunts.

Disqus - noscript

And what about the down sides....you failed to mention them.... major flaw being the front seatbelts are difficult to get to unless you are fully mobile..... I know I've tested it working for motoring magazine gives you these benefits... 5* don't think so

WAY BETTER THAN A LOUSY VW!!

THANKS AUTOCAR FOR LOVIN' FORD CARS.

I LOVE THEM TOO!!
DRIVE ONE AND YOU ARE IN LOVE!!

DIE IN HELL ALL YOU CRAP AUDI AND VW'S!!!!

WHATS THE POINT A-MAX B-MAX C-MAX D-MAX, A12345678910, Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5 Q6 Q7 Q8 1SERIES 2345678910 X1 X2 X3 X4 X5 X6 X7 X8, WHATS THE POINT OF MAKING CARS THAT ALL LOOK THE SAME IN & OUT JUST A FEW MM LONGER, WIDER & TALLER, £18.000 FOR A FIESTA WITH A HIGH ROOF LONGER WHEELBASE & SLIDING DOORS A RIPP OFF, WHATS WRONG WITH A B-MAX ? WHY DO THIS ?

PETER: Seriously Get A Grip DIE IN HELL That's A Bit Extreme To Say The Least Don't U Think, Plus Audi's & Vw's Are Not Rubbish Cars There Quality & Refined Cars.

Agreed, these comments are OTT about VW group products even though I do believe them to be overpriced and unimaginatively styled. The vehicle under consideration here is not exactly a future design classic either.

So it's pricey, has a poor turning circle, a small boot and a generously described 'okay' interior but on the positive side it handles well (hardly top priority for an mpv), the light and simple b pillar has been replaced by a heavy and expensive sliding door arrangement and they have put a decent engine in it. There's some good engineering here for sure but a 5 star car? I think you got a little carried away.

"Superb economy" yeh right, people are reporting only 35-40 mpg from the same 1.0 litre engined focus. Do not believe all the hype.

You seem to be really intelligent...

I have driven the new fiesta and the 2007-2011 mondeo and the fuel stats that ford give are rubbish, the only way to reach their claims is to drive at 55mph on a motorway with the radio off, a/c off and in 6th gear (mondeo 2.0tdci). Same thing driving in the city. Never once their figures with both fiesta and mondeo. The best i got i was 5mpg behind their figures and i was driving like an old lady, and annoying everyone else on the road.
So yes ford fuel consumption figures are rubbish.

Will be trying out a Focus 1.0 EcoBoost over the next week so will be interesting if decent economy can be achieved. Checkout @ROBonCARS soon....

I had a Focus 1.0 EcoBoost for the week recently. 39mpg for a petrol engined car of that size is not at all bad. It would not be too difficult to improve on that if you were on dual carriageways or motorways. Me? I live in the sticks and climb some pretty steep hills on the way into the office, a journey of only 8 miles each way meaning the engine was hardly getting warm - my last car was a Civic Type R and I have two motorcycles, so you can guess at the kind of driving I like. As I said, 39mpg under these conditions was not too shabby.

Allied to that was the most eye opening driving experience I have had in a long time, when you compare the expectations to the reality. The 1.0 EcoBoost is a miracle - quick off the mark, plenty of torque if you are handy with the gear stick, refined. Add into the mix the best ride and handling of any family hatchback and you're onto a winner. These cars with this engine are perfect for urbanites travelling upto circa 12k per annum. I'd have one without a 2nd thought.

Of course if you have an anti-Ford bias then you'll be able to pick holes. But that would be just mean.

By the way, I run a leasing brokerage and so have no bias. I just don't have a closed mind

Has anyone considered the longevity of these engines? A 1.0 litre, all be it an "advanced" one, lugging around ever bigger cars? How will this pan out when the cars get a little older, are we going to return to "the good old days" of 60,000 miles = engine "goosed"?

Take a little visual historical survey and you'll see broad design language that is representative of an era. In that era, manufacturing processes, availability of various resources, education levels - and a whole raft of influences - conspire to create fundamental direction. Names, too, are reflective of the times and what consumers respond to. If you can contribute to change, please do. A rant is worthless.

It does seem strange to give a five star rating when the downsides that were pointed out are the things many would consider important.

A question I've been asking for a while. I wouldn't buy one until they've been in use long enough to garner a proper impression of their cost of ownership, life expectancy, and real world fuel consumption.
I'd be interested to know about servicing intervals, specialist lubrication, impact of stop start, reliability of turbo?

Don't think I could live with that hideous dash! And then you get out and have to look at the exterior! Yuk! The current Ford range is so UGLY! (with the honourable exception of the SMax - but give them time . . . )

All manufacturers mpg claims are based on a rolling road, indoors, with a minute amount of fuel in the tank. And no driver. Be fair to Ford, they did clearly point this out to me when I drove the bmax last week.

Key specs

  • Price: £18,195
  • Engine: 1.0-litre 3cyl, 118bhp
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 11.2 seconds
  • Top speed: 117mph
  • Economy: 57.7mpg
  • CO2: 114g/km
  • Equipment: 16-inch alloy wheels, SYNC voice control, DAB radio
  • On sale: Now
AEX 1,338
For more breaking car news and reviews, subscribe to Auto Express - available as a weekly magazine and on your iPad. We'll give you 6 issues for £1 and a free gift!

Sponsored Links