Driven to the MAX

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Mike Tor­pey

EVER felt you’ve needed the dex­ter­ity of a con­tor­tion­ist to ex­tri­cate your­self from the rear seats of a car, es­pe­cially when that model hap­pens to be a three-door? It’s those bumps that are so an­noy­ing – a tap of the an­kle, knock of the knee, crack on the head and the dreaded hip twist fol­lowed by an awk­ward land­ing be­tween pave­ment and kerb.

The an­swer, ob­vi­ous as it may seem is slid­ing doors, and while they aren’t ex­actly new, they haven’t al­ways been used to max­i­mum ef­fect.

Ford’s B-MAX multi ac­tiv­ity ve­hi­cle, based on the Fi­esta but longer and taller, was a mould breaker when it hit the small car scene just over four years ago and has gone on to prove a mas­sive hit with fam­i­lies both young and old.

It’s trump card is some­thing Ford calls the Easy Ac­cess Door Sys­tem, dif­fer­ent to its ri­vals in that it doesn’t have a cen­tre door pil­lar.

The front doors open in the tra­di­tional way but the rear ones slide back into a groove, leav­ing a vast side open­ing.

It’s clever and prac­ti­cal. Those days of awk­ward ma­noeu­vring for a mum try­ing to se­cure a child seat are well and truly over. In fact fold­ing down the front pas­sen­ger seat pro­vides an ideal perch for fac­ing the tod­dler and se­cur­ing the belts.

By the same to­ken, if an el­derly pas­sen­ger needs back bench ac­cess it’s a sim­ple case of step­ping in or out.

And if you are con­cerned that this set-up may com­pro­mise safety, fear not, be­cause the B-MAX was awarded the high­est pos­si­ble safety rat­ing by in­de­pen­dent crash test author­ity Euro NCAP.

For what is es­sen­tially a small car, even though there’s plenty of in­te­rior space with am­ple head and legroom for four adults and a child, the load com­bi­na­tions are ex­cep­tional.

Dur­ing a trip to the DIY out­let we folded down the seats and ar­ranged a pair of 7ft flat packs, three large square boxes, a skate­board, a lawn­mower and some odd­ments – and still closed all the doors prop­erly.

While a choice of 1.0, 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol en­gines plus a 1.5-litre TDCi diesel are up for grabs in a choice of three trim grades, Ford has also in­tro­duced a trio of B-MAX Zetec Colour Edi­tions.

These mod­els come ex­clu­sively with a more pow­er­ful 140ps ver­sion of the 1.0 EcoBoost petrol unit, yet still ca­pa­ble of re­turn­ing an of­fi­cial 56.5 miles per gal­lon.

And key fea­tures also in­clude the likes of 16-inch black al­loy wheels, a black painted con­trast roof and mir­rors, a high gloss black front aero­foil and a rear spoiler.

Oth­er­wise there’s plenty of stan­dard kit in a car that’s a joy to drive – lively, well bal­anced, com­fort­able and very clev­erly de­signed. It’s a qual­ity per­former.

Prices start at £16,075 for the 1.4-litre petrol-en­gined Zetec Nav­i­ga­tor model which, as its name sug­gests, in­cludes sat nav.


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