Ford is aiming squarely at Vauxhall’s latest Meriva with this baby MPV, called B-Max and given its public debut as a production-ready concept at this week’s Geneva motor show.
The new model takes several styling cues from the Iosis Max, a concept revealed at the same event two years ago. In particular, it has adopted the show car’s radical door treatment, which does away with the B-pillar and features a neatly integrated sliding door on each side.
The concept shares a platform with the Fiesta. At just over four metres long, it’s 11cm longer than the five-door Fiesta but 32cm shorter than the latest C-Max. Ford claims the sliding doors and pillarless format give the car a 1.5-metre-wide aperture to ease access to the cabin — and that the opening is about twice as wide as those of “competitors with alternative door concepts”, a clear reference to the Meriva’s Flexdoor system.
The B-Max’s styling draws on Ford’s existing large MPV, the S-Max, but adopts new features from the firm’s developing ‘kinetic’ design language. That translates into a new chrome-edged interpretation of Ford’s trapezoidal grille, a smaller lower grille finished in gloss black, headlamps that are closer to the C-Max’s than the Fiesta’s and prominent wheel arch blisters.
The rails for the doors are neatly integrated under the leading edge of the rear lights. The concept has a full-length glass roof, which is likely to be a cost option on the production car.
The production B-Max is also the first vehicle to be linked to Ford’s smallest Ecoboost motor yet. The 1.0-litre, three-cylinder unit, previewed by the Start concept revealed at last year’s Beijing motor show, features turbocharging and variable cam timing. It also features stop-start as standard. Ford claims the unit delivers “significant reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions” but has not released any detailed specs or figures.