If concept cars didn’t surprise us, I guess there wouldn’t be much point in coming to a motor show. However, I think it’s fair to say that the Iosis Max isn’t the car we were expecting to see from Ford at this year’s Geneva show. Which, of course, makes it all the more interesting.

It’s a size too big, for starters. During the tail-end of last year, all the information said that Ford would show a B-segment sized MPV this week in Switzerland; a Kia Soul, Citroen C3 Picasso rival. But this certainly isn’t the Fusion replacement everyone was expecting. Ford execs hint that the ‘B-Max’ has, in fact, been canned.

Neither is this the car that unifies Ford’s global design language, again as everyone expected. “A compact MAV like this would be the wrong kind of car for such a big mission,” said Stefan Lamm, Ford of Europe’s chief exterior designer, when I asked him about the ‘global harmonisation’ of Ford’s design languages. “The next Focus will be a global car, sure, but a Focus-sized MPV will never be popular all over the world. No, the car you’re referring to is still a year away.”Read more about the Ford Iosis Max

So what should we ‘focus’ (sorry) our attention on about this attractive monobox? Well, the fact that it’s attractive at all, for one. Ford’s clearly looking to pull off the same feat with the next C-Max as it has with the S-Max; to serve up a practical family car that you can really admire.

The car’s complex rear doors and boot hatch are fantastic but, as design boss Martin Smith admitted, trick solutions like that are still too expensive for cars like a Ford C-Max. “This car is a technical showcase,” Smith explained. “It shows you some of the things our R&D boys are working on at the moment. But with a lot of this stuff, all they can do is work with our suppliers, and keep working until the unit prices for these sorts of components are right. We can’t just click our fingers and make the sums add up.”

The car’s pillarless construction, Smith later admitted, is something he really wants to make work for a future four-door Ford; he wouldn’t say which, and it would be a fool who’d predict that it would appear on the next Focus. But it’s great that he’s so confident about the possibility.

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