At less than 4.1 metres long, the B-Max certainly qualifies as small. It’s a solitary millimetre shorter than Citroën’s C3 Picasso, but 200mm shorter than Vauxhall’s Meriva.

The Ford's wheelbase is more than 150mm shorter than the Vauxhall’s too – something that promises to make the B-Max more manoeuvrable but at the same time threatens inferior passenger space. Overall height is just over 1.6m, making the B-Max quite low and sleek for an MPV.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Special hinges keep the doors in place in case of a side impact

Based on Ford’s ‘global B-car’ platform, the car’s basics are shared with the smaller Fiesta. This means the engines go in sideways, driving the front wheels, and suspension is via MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam at the rear.

The steel body-in-white has been substantially re-engineered to deliver rigidity and crash safety, however, in the absence of those B-pillars. This has been achieved without adding a great deal of weight. On our scales, the B-Max registered 1345kg, only 5kg heavier than the C3 Picasso we tested. Thumbs up.

There are six engines in the line-up. The 1.5-litre diesel engines both record a sub-100g/km CO2 rating. So , if you judge these things simply by the amount of benefit-in-kind company car tax you’ll be liable for, that makes the diesels the fleet car of choice. That doesn't mean ruling out the 1.0-litre Ecoboost, even though they produce more emissions and less torque as a result.

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There aren’t many petrol engines that could possibly upstage a diesel , but this Ford triple isn’t any petrol engine. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t particularly light. An iron block, some complicated ancilliaries and numerous balancer weights make it heavier, overall, than Ford’s ‘all-aluminium’ 1.6. But, on paper at least, it is incredibly efficient, producing 123bhp and 147lb ft of torque from less than a litre of displacement – and, fitted with stop-start, produces 114g/km of CO2.

At the cheaper end of the model scale, Ford offers an 89bhp 1.4-litre B-Max, in Zetec trim, for a whisker over £15k. As you'd expect, it's a car quite sparsely equipped: air con and Bluetooth are both cost options.

Meantime, the entirety of the B-Max model range is manual-only, the exception being Ford's 104bhp 1.6-litre Powershift model.

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