Ford B-MAX vs Vauxhall Meriva

Revolutionary new Ford B-MAX supermini-MPV goes head-to-head with the Vauxhall Meriva

The Ford B-MAX is one of the most innovative MPVs ever, but there are plenty of other clever cars in this class – chief among them the Vauxhall Meriva.

We put the two side-by-side to see which wins the space race. Open all the doors and you’ll immediately see what makes the B-MAX so special. Unlike the Meriva (which wears Opel badges in our pictures), it has no B-pillar, creating an opening about 1.5 metres wide – perfect for fitting baby seats and passing objects through the cabin.

Yes, the Meriva’s rear opening door is clever, but the B-MAX’s B-pillarless design is far better. The Ford’s rear door also slides, making getting in and out in tight spaces a breeze.

But what about outright space? This is where things get a little closer, with both cars offering enough leg and headroom to seat five tall adults. Boot space is an area where the Meriva triumphs: it has 79 litres more room than the B-MAX with the seats in place, at 397 litres.

Yet it’s the way the Vauxhall makes the most of the interior space that shows just how much thought has gone into the design. The rear seats slide back and forth individually, while the middle seat can be folded and used as an armrest for the outer passengers.

Both cars allow the rear seats to be folded completely flat in one easy motion, and the front passenger seat in both models also folds forwards to enable owners to carry long loads.

When it comes to engines, the big news in the B-MAX is a three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine, producing 118bhp. The closest Vauxhall offers is a 1.4-litre turbo with 118bhp, and it trails on running costs – emitting 143g/km of CO2 and returning 47.9mpg to the Ford’s superb 114g/km and 57.7mpg.

The B-MAX also wins out for value. A range-topping Titanium 1.0 EcoBoost model is £18,195; the 1.4T Meriva in Active spec costs £18,100, but it misses out on the heated seats and automatic lights and wipers that are standard on the Ford.

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