Ford has today opened up its new B-Max, literally. The new B-Max is almost a wanton show-off next to the Fusion that it replaces.
It's a mini-MPV with sliding rear doors, a bit like those on the ill-fated Peugeot 1007. They're more normally found on full-size or compact MPVs, such as Ford's own C-Max range.
So what's so clever about the Ford B-Max's doors?
Naturally, there's a snappy tag for these new Ford doors: it's the Easy Door Access System, of course. We'll just stick with sliding doors, thank you.
There is a clever detail, though. There is absolutely no B-pillar, which makes climbing in and out a cinch. Especially if any of the older clientele who bought the previous (Euro) Fusion come along for the ride.
The Blue Oval brags that the B-Max's aperture is a whopping 1.5 metres across, thanks to the lack of B-pillar.
In a move designed to niggle their opponents at Vauxhall, Ford says the Meriva's rear-hinged back doors allow for just 0.7-metre access.
Will the B-Max wobble like a blancmange?
Apparently not. To achieve stability and crash safety, Ford has equipped the B-Max with high-strength steels in key parts of the body to keep the torsional rigidity.
More than 1000 detailed computer simulations and 50 real side-impact crash tests mean the boffins are satisfied with the B-Max's stiffness.
Does it work? We'll reserve judgment until we've seen the car at the 2012 Geneva motor show. Suffice to say Ford says you can load a 2.3m long load through the side doors without problem. Sounds like the perfect car for CAR's own beanpoles, Georg Kacher and Ben Pulman both being over 6ft 6in, to travel around in back-seat comfort.
As for the engine range, Ford’s new 1.0 three-cylinder Ecoboost petrol engine will be offered in 99bhp and 122bhp guises, the latter fitted with stop/start to achieve 57.6mpg and 114g/km CO2. And if you want a diesel engine, there are two to pick from: a 1.6-litre TDCi offers 94bhp, 70.6mpg and 104g/km, while a 1.5-litre TDCi closely based on the 1.6 achieves 74bhp, 68.9mpg and 109g/km CO2.
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