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Engine options, top speed, acceleration and refinement

Ford’s Ecoboost engine is a bit more rorty in the B-Max than in the Focus. That may be because it’s physically less distant, or because there are stiffer pathways here for its shimmies and vibrations to travel down from the engine bay to your backside. Whatever the reason, at just above idle the three-pot engine’s manners could certainly be improved.

You couldn’t ask for improvement from it in most other respects, though. Responding very cleanly indeed to the accelerator and revving freely all the way from 1200rpm to beyond 6000rpm, the engine’s breadth of operational range is remarkable. Cracking 60mph in 11.6sec is pretty ordinary. But being able to engage fourth gear and pull from 20mph to 40mph almost as quickly as you can get from 50mph to 70mph speaks volumes of a small capacity turbocharged petrol. This engine is supremely flexible and blissfully straightforward to interact with.

You may not be able to switch the ESP off, but it's never intrusive

At high revs, it just keeps on giving. At 5500rpm there seems to be little more harshness or noise than at 2500rpm. For sheer willingness to work, it could rival a red-blooded V8.

Is it economical? In a family car, you could reasonably argue that’s more important than any likeness to a supercar. And the answer is yes – to a point. Our touring economy test drew a corrected 41.3mpg from the B-Max; our average was 34.9mpg, including a stint at the track and some spirited road driving. We’d class that as good – for a petrol-powered MPV.

High-mile motorway regulars will still want the diesel. But then mini-MPV drivers don’t tend to be high-mileage motorway regulars. And off the multi-laners, at everyday speeds, the Ecoboost’s economy is a lot better than our test numbers suggest.

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If it must be a diesel, Ford’s super-frugal 94bhp 1.6-litre TDCi is the motor of choice, giving the B-Max quoted 70mpg potential and emissions of just 104g/km. In the real world, this is more like a 55mpg car, but that economy is still probably 10 per cent better than you'll produce from any other model in the range.

A lower-spec 98bhp 1.0-litre petrol (without engine start-stop) and 74bhp 1.5-litre diesel are also available, but use more fuel than their range-topping brethren while offering performance that’s not as outstanding for the petrol model, and pitiful to the tune of a 16.5sec 0-62mph time for the diesel. And the auto-option - Ford's 104bhp 1.6-litre motor, teamed with Getrag's six-speed Powershift twin-clutch transmission - offers respectable performance and economy, but nothing outstanding.