Ford's innovative small MPV pips its big brother – the C-MAX – to the Best Five-seat MPV award
Ford clearly knows what buyers want in this class, as it’s retained the Best Five-seat MPV award. Last year, the larger C-MAX took the honours, but it’s now been forced down the pecking order by its newer and smaller stablemate, the B-MAX.
With its innovative door layout, which does away with the central pillar to open up the entire side of the car, the B-MAX has been able to redefine the small MPV class.
If you’ve seen the adverts showing a man diving through the open doors of a B-MAX into a swimming pool and dismissed them as a gimmick, don’t be fooled: the hinged front and sliding rear doors deliver real-world gains that any stressed-out parent will appreciate.
Whether you’re leaning across to strap a toddler in the back or hauling a heavy baby seat into the cabin, the wide openings and raised body come into their own.
Best of all, the trick doors demand only minimal styling compromises, and the B-MAX drives with the precision and enthusiasm that we’ve come to expect from modern Fords.
A cracking engine line-up, affordable running costs and versatile cabin complete the mix. And with compact exterior dimensions plus a raised driving position, the B-MAX is incredibly easy to drive and manoeuvre around town centres and into the tightest parking spaces.
Plus, if you’re worried those nifty doors won’t be so clever in a collision, think again: the B-MAX was awarded five stars by Euro NCAP and has a confidence-inspiring array of safety kit as standard, such as electronic stability control and curtain airbags. In short, it ticks every box, and a few more besides...
OUR CHOICE: 1.0T 125 EcoBoost Zetec (£16,795) Don’t be put off by its diminutive size: the 123bhp 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine is easily up to the job of hauling the B-MAX around. And it does it with superb character, too.
Last year’s winner is still a class act – great to drive, affordable to run, spacious and easy to live with. And the five-seat C-MAX even looks good. Only an outstanding performance by the smaller B-MAX keeps it off top spot.
• Best MPV
- 1Introduction18 class winners, 36 commended cars, 8 Special Awards and the 2013 Auto Express Car of the Year – it's all here
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- 4Best SuperminiThe Ford Fiesta wrestles its way back onto the top of the podium after last year's loss to the 208
- 5Best Compact Family CarThe SEAT Leon fights off its fellow VW Group rivals to take the gold medal in one of the most competitive classes around
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- 7Best Estate CarOffering peerless practicality, huge value for money and attractive lines, the Skoda Octavia is the best Estate on the market
- 8Best Five-Seat MPV - currently readingFord's innovative small MPV pips its big brother – the C-MAX – to the Best Five-seat MPV award
- 9Best MPVFor the third year in a row, the SEAT Alhambra wins the Auto Express Best MPV award
- 10Best CrossoverThe Mazda CX-5 is a talented all-rounder that offers everything you could want from a crossover
- 11Best Compact SUVThe Range Rover Evoque is one of the most striking cars on the road – but it's also more than just a pretty face
- 12Best Large SUVThe talented Santa Fe is one of the best models Hyundai has ever produced
- 13Best Hot HatchThe Ford Fiesta ST is in a class of its own – and better value for money than its key rivals
- 14Best CoupeThe brilliant Porsche Cayman pips its big brother - the 911 – and three-time winner the Peugeot RCZ to the Best Coupe prize
- 15Best RoadsterThe new Porsche Boxster is so good it makes you question why anyone would every buy a 911
- 16Best ConvertibleWith funky looks, premium quality and low running costs – frivolity has never been so sensible. Or so desirable
- 17Best Pick-upWith decent handling, comfort levels and build quality, the VW Amarok is a cut above its rivals
- 18Best Compact Executive CarThe 3 Series continues its undisputed reign as king of the compact executive class
- 19Best Executive CarBMW 5 Series fends off some impressive German rivals to take the executive class crown
- 20Best Luxury CarAs a 4x4, an SUV and a luxury car, the Range Rover is jack of all trades. But it's a master of all trades, too
- 21Performance Car of the YearThe entertaining GT 86 outguns a host of big-name sports cars to take Performance Car of the Year
- 22Design Award The latest incarnation of the iconic Range Rover is voted by Auto Express readers as the best designed car of 2013
- 23Green AwardThe Vauxhall Ampera's innovative range-extending powertrain wins it our Green Award
- 24Van of the YearOur Van of the Year is hi-tech, practical and the first van in its class to get a five-star crash test rating
- 25Safety AwardThe Volvo V40 is probably the safest car ever made, and a worthy winner of our Safety Award
- 26Driver Power AwardThe Japanese premium brand has reclaimed its Driver Power top spot for the first time in four years
- 27Hall of FameBMW board member inducted into the Auto Express Hall of Fame