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.
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.