From £13,0859

Dashboard, infotainment, sat-nav and passenger space

You’ll be wide-eyed the first time you open both side doors of the Ford B-Max, when a gap not unlike the one at the side of a Transit van is revealed. The doors themselves are designed so that you can close either the front or the rear one first (the catches are on the roof and floor, if you’re wondering). And although the rear sliding ones are a little heavy, they’re light enough for, say, a 10-year-old to manage. They latch open fairly easily, too.

When they’re closed, ironically enough, the doors make for a slightly wider blind spot for the driver than a conventional B-pillar might. But when those doors are open, you begin to understand the advantages that the B-Max has been designed to offer.

You'll want to specify the space-saver spare wheel option. Repair foam is no substitute when you're marooned.

Rear cabin space is only average for the mini-MPV class, but access to the back could hardly be more convenient if you’re leaning inside to adjust a child seat or similar. The effect is all the greater on the passenger side, because the B-Max’s front passenger seatback folds flat. Here, you could load or unload long boxes from the side of the car; there’s simply no B-pillar to get in your way.

However, we don’t like the fact that there’s nothing to lock the rear doors open for safety’s sake. If you parked on an incline and forgot to pull the handbrake on hard enough, for example, they could easily slam closed on an arm or leg after a meeting of bumpers. Nor do we like the exposed electrical cables at the bottom of the doors, where a little one could find them with a foot.

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Space inside is good but not great, and material quality is likewise. Cabin styling and architecture is a close match for that of the Fiesta. It’s smart and pleasingly modern compared with the class norm, but it could use a dose of added charm. You could also reasonably expect a more up-to-date, larger-screened multimedia setup, given the advancement of some of the systems being offered by Ford's competition.

There are four trims to choose from with the entry-level Studio trim being removed and the range starts with the better equipped Zetec models. Opt for one and the B-Max gets 15in alloys, Ford's Sync infotainment system, air conditioning and front foglights. Upgrade to the Zetec Colour Editions, and you get the choice of three snazzy colour combinations, a rear spoiler and privacy glass.

The mid-range Titanium models get a host more luxury equipment including, climate control, cruise control, a Sony audio system and 16in alloy wheels, while the range-topping Titantium X comes with a panoramic sunroof, a partial leather interior and heated front seats.