First look at the innovative new sliding doors on Ford's new Fiesta-based MPV
3 March 2012

Ford has opened up the innovative sliding doors of its all-new Fiesta-based Ford B-Max for the first glimpse of the new baby MPV’s interior. The new model will make its public debut at the Geneva motor show.

The rear sliding doors – called Easy Access Door System by Ford - in a car of its size are made possible by incorporating the B-pillars into the doors themselves. This creates an opening into the car as wide as 1.5 metres. The B-Max’s main rival, the Vauxhall Meriva, can only offer access as wide as 0.7 metres with its rear-hinged ‘FlexDoors’.

See official pics of the new Ford B-Max

The rear doors are partly constructed from ultra high-strength steels, which are up to five times stronger than conventional steels. While being stronger and stiffer, they also offer no weight penalty.

Ford says the interior takes advantage of this extra space by incorporating a series of new features. The rear seats and the front passenger seat can be folded completely flat to create a large load platform. Items up to 2.3 metres in length can be loaded into the B-Max through the side doors.

Read more on the new Ford B-Max

Ford of Europe’s exterior design chief Stefan Lamm describes the rear doors as “a designer’s dream”. He added: “We set ourselves the challenge of reimagining the small car. People are struggling with the spatial challenges of city driving and we wanted to find a new solution.”

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Comments
31

9 February 2012

There are two problems I have with this system. Firstly, surely if this car is being bought by families, the parents will still have to stretch a bit to strap their tots in. The doors don't go 'all the way back' (at least judging by the photo) - in fact to my eyes, access looks only slightly better than a 3-door car. Secondly, if elderly people are climbing out of the back, they'll most likely need to grab onto the front seats in order to get themselves out, rather than 'slide' out. Just observations but I can honestly see that these will affect some people, if not the majority. The door arrangement on the Meriva seems a bit better in my opinion.

"The creative adult is the child who survived."

9 February 2012

Maybe Jezza May and the other one will do a feature on rear access(!) with their mums as the guinea pigs? C Max, Grand C Max, Meriva, 1007 and B Max. Hopefully it will be on when I am on holiday.

9 February 2012

To B or not to B. I'm with Mini1 here. The doors look cumbersome and unfit for purpose for all the reasons Mini1 explains. Add that the Meriva is by MPV standards a bit of a looker and the B-Max very much isn't and we have a clear winner. From these photos the cost of no B-pillar is a multi-layered and very large C-pillar. And the advantage of no B-pillar is what exactly? Incidentally why, when the car's USP is no B-pillar, is it called B-Max?

10 February 2012

Wolseley, I was impressed when I had an old style Meriva on hire in Italy a couple of years ago so was looking forward to seeing the new model. But every time I see one, and I had a good long look at one today, it looks to me like the front and back halves don't meet up well in the middle. I keep thinking of the old chew sweets that were such hard work, that as nasty little boys we would take them out of our mouths after a while and stretch them so that the pattern was all wiggly in the middle. Just looked wrong.

10 February 2012

In a collision (real world and not an NCAP situation) if it took a double side impact, the first damaging the door and its internal B pillar then surely the entire structure of the car would be seriusly compromised for the second impact? It'll pass the lab based NCAP scenarios i'm sure, but real life scenarios are very different

10 February 2012

[quote Autocar] People are struggling with the spatial challenges of city driving and we wanted to find a new solution.” [/quote]

Here's a little tip, designers of the automotive world, start spending some more design time on packaging and make the cars smaller!

That aside the B-Max is a step in the right direction and the door system is far better than that fitted to the Meriva but to highlight what I am saying, just look at the bulk of the front seats (more easy to see in this car without the pillar). I know some of it on this car will be down to the structural nature of the seat (mounting of the seatbelt within the seat frame) but with todays materials technology, I am sure they could have been made slimmer and more compact.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

10 February 2012

[quote Mini1] The doors don't go 'all the way back' (at least judging by the photo) - in fact to my eyes, access looks only slightly better than a 3-door car. [/quote]

Exactly right. That's the problem in a nutshell for this car- those doors don't slide back far enough to make this a usable, practical car for the very people it is aimed at.

10 February 2012

After Ford spent so long in the design department to come up with such an expensive and complicated door system you'd thought they'd fully open up the rear passenger area. The Meriva, at least in the photo's, looks a far easier option.

Ford should have photo-shopped the press release

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

10 February 2012

I'd be interested to know where the seat belt is ?

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

10 February 2012

[quote TegTypeR]

Here's a little tip, designers of the automotive world, start spending some more design time on packaging and make the cars smaller!

[/quote]

I am completely with you, but it seems that many buyers in the market (and on this forum) don't give as much about packaging as we do. Car makers look at the "average buyer" and make wrong decisions, going for longer and longer cars (just look at the evolution of the A-class through 3 generations, which is a disaster to me but has been applauded by many).

Luckily cars such as the B-max and the Venga (and hopefully in future the T25) are catering to the needs of people who need space and comfort in their cars and need to park in tight places.

PS the new Meriva is 4.29 metres so it is bang in B-class and Golf Plus territory, just 3cm shorter than a first gen Zafira. Completely useless as a daily drive to people who need to park in cities. No point comparing it to a 500L, B-Max, Jazz or Venga.

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