(PRWEB UK) 11 September 2014

What is it?

A highly innovative and exceptionally versatile B sector multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), the full sales potential of which even Ford, its creator, is unsure about.

Ford claims premium sector style, build quality and driving dynamics as among the most alluring attributes of the B-Max, the smallest of Fords three people carriers and based on the platform of the UKs best-selling car, the Fiesta.

But claims of even such worthy characteristics are overshadowed by the B-Maxs unchallengeable ace in the hole: no vehicle on the road provides remotely similar ease of access.

The rear doors slide (along unobtrusive rails) like Citroens Multispace Berlingo. The front doors hinge conventionally. But they open to reveal, uniquely, no central B pillar – just a 1.5metre long unobstructed opening which is twice the length of any perceived rivals and longer, too, than on any luxury limousine .

This has been achieved by making the leading and trailing edges of the doors themselves engineering structures which interlock , forming their own B-pillar, when they close. The result: virtually unrestricted loading from nearside, offside or rear. And the interior space icing on the cake: all seats except the drivers fold flat, using a simple one-hand, one-motion mechanism, to form a van-like load platform capable of swallowing loads up to 2.34 metres long within the load area of the B-Max.

Debut for new connectivity system called SYNC

Not least, Ford has also chosen the B-Max for the European debut of SYNC what it otherwise describes as its voice-activated device integration and connectivity system. Put more simply, it connects mobile phones and music players by Bluetooth or USB, makes and receives phone calls, reads out text messages and operates various other systems all by voice command, as well as sending an automatic distress call to emergency services if occupants are incapacitated by a collision with the scenery.

Business users expected by Ford to account for around 35 per cent of sales are likely to take particular interest in the engines on offer; notably the 1 litre, three-cylinder petrol EcoBoost units which, with 99bhp or 118bhp on tap, scoot the B-Max along with the vigour of a 1.6; earned the industry title of 2014 engine of the year along withy BCM’s company car of the year title, and which already account for 30 per cent of sales in the only other car in which so far it has been fitted, the C sector Focus.

B-Max company car tax from 13%

Allied to sub-120 grammes of CO2, zero first year VED and 13 per cent BIK company car tax, the engines are credited with 55.4mpg combined (99bhp) and 57.7 mpg (119bhp). With lower CO2 emissions and more frugal yet, a 1.6 TDCi diesel offers just 104 grammes of CO2, and combined consumption of 70.6mpg.

There is a snag, however.

The full engine range comprises older-technology Duratec 1.4 and 1.6 petrol units, the EcoBoosts, and 1.5 litre (75bhp) and 1.6 litre(95bhp) TDCi diesels.

Three B-Max trim levels

There are three trim levels: Studio, starting at