Ford B-Max has designs on being a market leader
Unique features add greatly to car's appeal, writes Campbell Spray
WELL that's that then, the lady has spoken. At the launch of the Ford B-Max last Monday the PR consultant said that his mother "loved the car". And who am I to disagree? Especially as the car is aimed both at those starting a family and, at the other end of the scale, empty-nesters.
Much of this appeal will be through the Fiesta-sized MPV's unique design which has already picked up a maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
The B-MAX's Ford Easy Access Door System provides unobstructed entry and exit with hinged front doors and sliding rear doors integrating the central body pillars. When both front and rear doors are open there is outstanding access to the interior, with a huge, clear aperture more than 1.5 metres wide, making it significantly easier to enter or exit the rear seats, attend to children in child seats, or load and unload shopping.
The new B-MAX is also the first European Ford to offer the acclaimed SYNC system.
SYNC is an advanced voice control, device integration and connectivity interface. It enables users to connect mobile phones and music players by Bluetooth or USB, make hands-free telephone calls, and control music and other functions using voice commands.
It can automatically transfer contact information from a connected Bluetooth device to the vehicle, allows calls to be activated using voice commands and reads text messages aloud. However, much to the relief of some people, these texts are not read out automatically. The driver must request it to be done.
Actually I'm a bit worried about all the connectivity as anything that diverts the driver's mind, even when it is hands-free can be disastrous. However, by way of compensation, SYNC also enables the B-MAX to offer the innovative new Emergency Assistance feature which automatically calls the local emergency services operator in the event of an accident.
In Ireland, the car will be offered in two versions B-MAX and B-MAX Titanium. The specification list for B-MAX includes: leather trimmed steering wheel; air-conditioning; global open / closing windows; Fold Flat passenger & rear seats; Deflation Detection System; Electronic Stability Programme (ESP); Torque Vectoring Control; Headlight Courtesy Delay; and remote central locking.
The additional specification list for the B-MAX Titanium includes: 15-inch alloy wheels; front fog lights; LED day-time running lights; heated windscreen; child observation mirror; and trip computer.
The engine line-up includes the ground-breaking one-litre Ecoboost petrol engine with 119g/km at €21,600 and the well-tried 1.5 diesel at €21,480. Overall prices start at €19,170.
Over the last week I have found the B-Max a real delight to drive and the sliding doors have been a real boon in our tight garage, especially when I had to put in the cat box for a routine trip to the vet. The only problem I can see is that with all doors open people could almost be tripping over each other as they get out.
My test car had about €4,000 worth of options including: premium metallic paint; Ice pack -- Sony audio; rear parking sensors, power-fold mirrors, active city stop; 16-inch alloys -- 11-spoke; panoramic roof and privacy glass. This brought the 1.5 TDCi to around €27,000 which makes it luxurious but pricey.
But I'm sure the PR consultant's mum deserves the best.