£15,345 - £19,795 Price range
44 - 74 MPG
Prices start from £15,345 and if you buy your new B-Max using carwow you can save £2,930 on average.
The interior of the B-Max is heavily influenced by that in the Fiesta and you get a stylish and well-built dashboard that is neither the most stylish nor the most robust in the class but is definitely above average. The sliding rear doors provide easier access to the rear and are very light and the boot if not the largest in class is big enough for most family needs.
The way the B-Max drives is its biggest selling point. Very few rivals can match the Ford in driver enjoyment and engagement. The body control, grip and steering are similar to those in the Fiesta and that is one of the best small cars to drive. The downside to the impressive way the B-Max drives is a slightly firm ride, but it never becomes uncomfortable.
Despite the many engine options the choice is quite simple – pick the 1.6-litre diesel if you plan on doing lots of motorway miles or the advanced 1.0-litre petrol for any other purpose. Despite the small capacity it has enough power to move the B-Max at a decent pace and is more fuel efficient than the other petrol choices.
The basic B-Max is surprisingly under equipped – air-con and Bluetooth connection are optional extras. Higher up the trim levels it does get better, but the price also creeps up accordingly. Our pick would be the Zetec trim that comes with alloy wheels, trip computer, a heated front windscreen, air-con and some leather interior applications.
Cheapest to buy: 1.4-litre Studio petrol
Cheapest to run: 1.5-litre Titanium diesel
Fastest model: 1.0-litre Titanium X petrol
Most popular: 1.0-litre Zetec petrol
If all that isn’t enough, testers also find the interior a comfortable place to be. Quality is roughly on par with the Fiesta on which it’s based – in other words, pretty good, but not class-leading – and there are plenty of gadgets.
Ford B-Max passenger space
As expected, the B-Max’s interior experience is dominated by its unique door layout. If you’ve not seen pictures then it’s easy enough to explain. Essentially, the car has no central pillar – where the rear doors on most cars are attached – meaning access to front or back is incredibly easy. Making it even easier, the rear doors slide back, as they used to on many regular MPVs.
Ford B-Max boot space
The boot is rather average, but the rear seats do flip down easily. It may be 2 litres larger than the Ford Focus one, but lags behind the Hyundai ix20 boot by 120 litres. However, you do get a splitting rear and folding front passenger seat which allows you to carry very long items.
Ford has a knack of making even its humble models handle with alacrity, and the B-Max does nothing to change that. All B-Max models drive well – particularly those with the tiny Ecoboost petrol engine – and handling is on more or less on a par with its Fiesta sibling.
Its leaps and bounds ahead of the nearest alternatives in the class in the handling department, but MPVs are not traditionally bought for their sportscar qualities and Ford could have done a little more with the ride quality. The lack of a sixth gear can also make it a little noisy and the turning circle is a little wide – so this may affect the ease by which you can park it or perform three-point turns.
There are quite a few engines to choose from, but most of them are outdated and will probably soon be removed from the line up. The 1.0-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel beat the other alternatives in just about any way.
Ford B-Max petrol engines
Much of the focus here is on the range of 1.0-litre ‘Ecoboost’ petrol engines. With three cylinders and a turbocharger they promise a nice mix of performance and economy. Refinement isn’t quite as good as you’ll find with the same engines in the larger Focus, and the B-Max misses a sixth gear too, but all the other qualities remain – its free-revving nature, the unique sound, a slick gearshift, decent performance and response, and high claimed economy figures – up to 57.7mpg combined.
A 1.0-litre non-turbocharged petrol is also available, as is a 1.4-litre one, but these are a little sluggish and only really suited to driving around town. There’s also a thirstier 1.6-litre version of the petrol engine.
Ford B-Max diesel engines
Official economy is higher for the 1.5-litre diesel, at 70.6mpg (a difference likely to be reflected in the real world too), but reviewers say it lacks the liveliness and refinement of the 1.6-litre. It’s also expensive, which means that most buyers will likely choose the petrol models.
While initial reports suggest real-world economy isn’t overly impressive, its official 57.7 mpg figure and low road tax costs are certainly enough to make you think twice about buying a diesel - particularly as the Ecoboost is cheaper to buy and much more pleasant to drive.
All reviewers have succumbed to the 1.0 3-pot’s charms, which include impressive refinement, usable power from low revs (i.e, at sensible city speeds) and a nice thrum when you’re giving it some revs. The only recurring criticism is that the engine could use an extra gear, to improve motorway refinement further.
The 1.4 is weightier, noisier, less punchy, less refined and not as economical as those new Ecoboosts. That isn’t to say it’s bad, but those modern engines have made models like the 1.4 feel a little old-tech. The extra weight harms the car’s handling a little, and economy of 47.1 mpg looks a bit average these days. The five-speed manual is slick, but like other B-Max, testers are left wishing for a sixth speed to improve higher-speed cruising.
Its 70.6 mpg combined economy figure is the best you’ll get in a B-Max at the moment, and claimed CO2 emissions are just 104 g/km. Comments on the engine’s performance range from “turgid” and “reluctant”, to saying it “lacks refinement”.
For most, the diesel simply won’t make much sense - you’re paying several thousand more than for most other B-Max models, for economy benefits that may take a long time to realise.
With the B-pillar providing a vital structural brace between roof and floor, you might expect the B-Max to resemble a bow-tie after a particularly heavy crash. Not a bit of it – the B-Max netted a full five-star rating at EuroNCAP, with exceptionally high scores for adult and child occupant protection.
Good scores in the other categories were bolstered by “special awards” from the European testing agency for innovative safety features. The B-Max features Ford Active City Stop collision mitigation electronics and also Ford SYNC autonomous emergency call in the event of a collision.
The B-Max 1.4-litre model in Studio trim costs about on a par with rivals. However, few people will opt for this particular engine and the more appealing EcoBoost and 1.6-litre diesel models start at just over £16,000 – and that seems a little on the pricey side for a car this size. Head for the top of the range and you’re over £19k without options.
Ford B-Max Studio
For a low base price expect low equipment levels and the Studio trim doesn’t disappoint. The only worthwhile kit you get is electric door mirrors, electric windows and a multifunction steering wheel.
Ford B-Max Zetec
Our preferred trim level comes with LED lights, 15-inch alloys, fog lights, USB media connectivity, a very useful child observation mirror and stylish ambient lighting in the footwells.
Ford B-Max Titanium
The Titanium trim level transforms the B-Max into a much more luxurious car than the basic Studio and comes with automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, a Sony stereo with eight speakers, climate control, a rear centre armrest and driver’s seat lumbar support.
Ford B-Max Titanium X
The most expensive trim level really bumps up the price of the B-Max, but you get partial leather heated seats, keyless entry, tinted windows and a panoramic sunroof.
Reviews are generally excellent for the B-Max, with only some reservations on ride quality and the relative merits of the lower-output engines. The unusual door layout is showered with positive comments, with access and practicality commended as a result. It’s also every bit as safe as others in the class.
Throw in Ford’s lauded 1.0 Ecoboost engines and it proves a compelling package – even if some B-Max options look very expensive for this class of car.