back to article Ford's B-Max: Fiesta-based runaround that goes THUNK

This is the most sensible car you can buy. That's not necessarily a good thing. The Ford B-Max takes all the things you’d look for in practicality and turns them up to 11. However, in doing so it turns emotion down to zero. Look familiar? The Ford B-MAX is based on its Fiesta Look familiar? The Ford B-MAX is based on its …

  1. ravenviz

    Sliding doors on Mars

    often leaving them open as I drove around after a liquid lunch without wearing a seat belt, happy days!

  2. John Moppett

    Mt freind was given one of these as a company car. he liked it BUT he didn't lke the fact tht the ultra heavy engineering on the doors, to compensate for the mising B pillar, restricts the view when pulling ou, particularly if you are having to look over your shoulder.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More data please!

    How much room is there in the back when the front seats are right back? (new ElReg Unit please?)

    What's it like for a 6ft 5in person to drive for long periods?

    Otherwise this is a car for shorties (those under 6ft) only.

  4. ZSn


    Having had a few hire cars with SYNC recently I can testify that it is a nuisance to learn and use. It also is ugly as sin, it completely clutters the middle of the car. In addition the FORD airconditioning is even more cluttered. My MPV has far simpler to use controls for the radio/airco/cruise control and while less functional I can use all of those with looking down. Tring that with SYNC beggars belief.

    However I looked at one of these cars in a nearby showroom and they are a minor miracle, an MPV with sliding doors and what looks like a minute footprint.

    1. Patrick Moody

      Re: SYNC FAIL

      From what I've seen, Ford abandoned intuitive gadget controls (the ones you can use without having to look down at them) sometime before 2003.


      My late 2003 Mondeo has an awful digital display for it's air-con/fan controls which you have to look at to work out what you're doing with it. It's crap in several ways:

      1 - You can't tell how strong the fan will be, how hot the air will be or which vents will be active when you turn it on until you do, because the LCD only turns on when you turn the fans on. Unlike conventional controls which you can check on by feeling the position of the rotary switches and sliders.

      2 - Once it is switched on, you still have to look at it to do absolutely anything. This is a major bug-bear for me.

      3 - To adjust the heat requires repeated presses of the temperature adjustment push-button, along with repeated glances at the display to see if it's got to the level you want it at.

      4 - The same applies to the fan strength. You'd think that this one you could at least get feedback on by feeling the air-flow, but as there's a long delay between setting the fan strength and it actually having any effect even that isn't very practical.


      If you don't want to risk getting prosecuted for driving without due care and attention you should park before adjusting the heater on your Ford car! Granted that's not much of a risk, though, since there aren't any real police on the roads to observe you doing that these days anyway.

  5. Eddy Ito

    I don't understand it, why do you folks get all the interesting cars? Obviously you've now figured that I'm of the "a car goes from A to B, that's its job" variety so what more can a guy like me ask for? Well for starters there is the available 1.6 l diesel. I do wish more car manufacturers would bring small diesels like this to the US but I suppose it would be only a niche product in this society where '250 HP isn't bad for a base model'.

    1. ZSn

      Yes, I've often wondered about that. In the states barges on wheels seem to be the order of the day, whilst in Europe the same manufacturers produce cars like this. Are they actually two different companies? Personally I prefer European cars, but whatever way around you think best they are radically different in outlook.

      1. fishman

        "In the states barges on wheels seem to be the order of the day".

        Much of the barges have passed away in the US. Ford sells the Fiesta, Focus,

        Mondeo (Called the Fusion in the US), and is replacing the current Taurus with a stretched version of the Fusion. Cadillac has the ATS and CTS, with handling as good as, if not better than BMWs. Buick sells slightly modified Opels. Chevrolet is starting to get their act together with the redesigned Impala and Corvette, and the next generation Camaro coming out in a year is using the ATS as its underpinnings.

        1. Kev99

          ATS + handling as good in the same sentence? Oh please

          I had the misfortune of being in a ATS once. Mind it was a 2013 but I had more space in my wife's Corolla. For what they charge for that rolling monstrosity you'd thinkk they'd make it big enough for someone over 5' 4".

          1. fishman

            Re: ATS + handling as good in the same sentence? Oh please


            The ATS is about the same interior size as the previous generation BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C Class. And for what they charge, you should price a 3 Series or C Class.

            BTW, I'm 6' tall, and I can set the ATS drivers seat the way I like it and still fit in the back seat behind the driver. It was tighter for me in the 2014 C class.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          How many...

          F150's will Ford US sell this year especially now that the price of Gas has dropped?

          AFAIK, the US is in love with their Pickups and SUV's and for the latter, the Bigger and more brash the better despite some of them being downright Fugly.

          The Focus I rented from JFK at the end of Sept was totally gutless despite having a 2Ltr engine.

          The Subaru I rented last May was a lot better all round. Yes it cost more but compared to my 4yr old Pug the Ford was crap. It only had 200miles on the clock yet rattled like a tin containing a few nuts and shaken hard.

        3. Eddy Ito

          Part of the reason the barges have passed on is for the same reason the long station wagons of yesteryear went away, CAFE standards. Currently mpg (in US gallons) is a simple linear form based on 'footprint' (wheelbase x track) between simple min and max values which for 2015 are 41 sq. ft. (29 mpg sticker) and 55 sq. ft. (23 mpg sticker) respectively. To put those footprints into perspective a MB S550 has a 54.5 sq. ft. footprint and the car reviewed here, the B-Max has a footprint of 39.8 sq. ft. which is about half a square foot less than a Honda Fit for those in the US. Note the S550 just makes it under the gas guzzler tax.

          I suppose that also answers the question of why we don't see B-Max like vehicles in the US. There isn't a great incentive to get better than 29 mpg other than selling to skinflints like me and getting the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) up.

          1. fishman

            Eddy Ito:

            "Part of the reason the barges have passed on is for the same reason the long station wagons of yesteryear went away, CAFE standards. "

            It's the minivans that killed off the big station wagons. The sedan versions of the big station wagons lived on for another 10 years or so, and the sedans got only slightly better gas mileage than the wagon versions. And the smaller wagons were decimated first by the minivans, and now by the SUV/CUVs.

            1. Eddy Ito

              That's exactly it. Minivans are classed as light trucks so they don't impact the fleet CAFE as much as a station wagon based on a car would. That gave the manufacturers an incentive to swap station wagons for minivans and the marketing machine convinced consumers that minivans were the next great thing.

              The current shift to SUV type vehicles is also marketing pushing the more profitable SUV on the back of bigger = safer even in the light of the increased rollover risk. Remember it was a bunch of SUV rollovers several years ago that let to making tire pressure monitoring a standard feature in modern cars.

              We still get a few imported station wagons precisely because they aren't classed as light trucks since light trucks carry a rather impressive import duty. That duty of course is the result of lobbying by the US "big 3" to maintain a nice margin on that market segment and is one reason why companies like Honda and Toyota make most of their US market SUVs and trucks in the US.

              (edit) I need to check the current crop of CUVs to see if they are also light truck class as that would go a long way to explaining why every company seems to be pushing them harder than the local crack/meth dealer.

      2. Kev99

        ZSn - In the states I believe this is the Fiesta ST.

        I too would like to know if someone of normal height (6'3") would be comfortable driving it and if the rig is decent for a long spin on the interstate (M1 to you blokes) or if it would sound like my wife's Toyota Corolla Matrix - a bleedin' kettledrum running over washboards.

  6. stu 4

    why all the dreary cars ?

    I'd like to think us El Reg readers are just as diverse a section of the population as any other.

    Yet every single car review so far has been for either leccy cars, economy city cars, or people carriers.

    What's with that ? I make no dispersions to people interested in those cars types at all, but it does seem that you are somewhat pigeon holing your readership into those categories ??

    And now the come clean/get me down voted bit:

    Personally they don't interest me in the slightest.

    But I've been in IT for 20 years. I drive rear wheel drive sports cars. I started back in the early 90s with an MR2, then 300ZX, TVR Tuscan, M roadster, and then (last week) an SLK AMG 55.

    I'm surely not the only one out there am I ?

    If El Reg is going to cover cars (for an as yet unspecified reason) at least cover the market ? Or base your coverage on some sort of analysis of your readership ?

    I admit, it's the old 'can't prove the general from the particular' here - but none the less - it's all I have to go on: the people I know in IT who read the Reg, have a healthy interest in fast cars… how about covering those a bit more ?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: why all the dreary cars ?

      Spacko, is that you?

      I would think that IT people of the non-managerial sort are naturally attracted to miracles of miniaturization and energy-efficiency. Possible exception for people who have the bubble-fuelled jobs in "financial software" (principally, drawing beautiful interactive graphs based on pseudo-science and mumbo-jumbo, should actually be in the domain of artistry), of course.

      1. Jan 0 Silver badge

        Re: why all the dreary cars ?


        Too damn right, that's why we ride motorcycles rather than cars!

        When are we going to see some KTMs or a Midual ridden the El Reg way?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: why all the dreary cars ?

          I thought it was just me.

          I've got a GSX-R 1000 and a 2010 Polo GTi and I'm looking for a rear drive car with a better engine than the Polo. It must be petrol and have lots of low-down torque. I'm not so bothered about top end power, 200-250 bhp should be enough. Also, it must not be a Japanese grey import or a convertible.

          Any suggestions?

        2. Nick Pettefar

          Re: why all the dreary cars ?

          BMW R nineT here. Man I'm having fun! The car (Mazda 323) is for taking the family places.

          All cars are dreary when a) looking for somewhere to park or b) driving or waiting in traffic.

      2. stu 4

        Re: why all the dreary cars ?

        @dam dunno why you'd think that ?

        I'm drawn to cars which have been designed by engineers to do a job purely. Whether it's the amazing 3.2 straight six of the M, or the work of genius that is the SLK folding roof. Or the mental 400hp tractor engine in a Tupperware box that was my Tuscan.

        I don't see any evidence that more 'management types' by interesting performance cars personally.

        I've got a Ducati Monster too, a Blade before that and have been riding for 20 years. And again, if anything would say I've came across more than the average techy geeks that ride.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: why all the dreary cars ?

          @AC - you won't find a RWD car in the same class as the Polo. If you need RWD, your best bet's probably a 1-series BMW, assuming you need the practicality and are discounting sports cars. It's about the same size as a Golf, but is less practical as there's less space inside and the boot's harder to get things in and out of.

          The M135's the one to have. I considered getting one recently, but the extra space in the Golf veered me to get a Golf R. Haven't regretted it. I'm never going to get the back-end out, but it doesn't understeer much either. It just grips and grips. Great fun.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: why all the dreary cars ?

            Polo/GSXR AC here.

            I'm not discounting sports cars, just J-spec ones (they love to salt the roads around here so the non-undersealed Japanese domestic market/grey UK imports turn into rot boxes quite quick if you're not careful.)

            I'm so not discounting sports cars that I'm thinking about a turbocharged Honda S2000.

            Any ideas?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: why all the dreary cars ?

              Other A/C here :-)

              You won't get low-end torque with an S2000. They're lovely cars. I test-drove one many years ago and it's a great driver's car to some extent. The engine sounds fantastic and the gearbox is great. Never driven one with a turbo on it but the standard car has woeful torque. You have to really thrash it to get the best out of it.

              What put me off, apart from the knob-end salesman, was the rawness of the cabin. I wanted a car I could drive across the continent and the S2000 was too uncomfortable. I ended up with a TT at the time. In fact, I had two of them, and drove to Greece, Spain (several times), Portugal, and a few trips to the Alps. Of course, a 911 or similar would have done the job better, but I didn't have the cash :-(

            2. Omgwtfbbqtime

              Re: non-undersealed Japanese domestic market/grey UK

              Mix your own underseal - Tyre paint + used sump oil + lithium grease

              A generous coating and it NEVER EVER DRIES.

              Worked wonders on my '77 mini.

  7. dogged


    Could I get a 7 foot longbow in it? How about 6'8" tent poles? Could I do this by only dropping one rear seat, leaving one for the child-seat?

    If so, potentially interested.

    If not, anyone got any recommendations?

    1. Jan 0 Silver badge

      Re: Question

      A roof rack and a waterproof longbow container will fit almost any car! (Well I've seen a 911 with two mountain bikes on the roof, so why not a longbow?)

    2. Omgwtfbbqtime

      Re: Question


      long poles (including bows) go diagonally from drivers rear over drivers side rear passenger to footwell of passenger.

      I only have to deal with a 10' spear, my bows are nice short hungarian recurves and the tent poles are jointed in the middle courtesy of Blacks.

  8. roger stillick

    Thunk is great, lose the center console...

    Have ridden in a Dodge minivan w/ electric side doors for back seat folks for several years now (hobby carpool)... the big doors are no problem if pushing a button opens / closes them.

    The center console on a 2010 Prius w/ only aircraft type lighted switches (no internet or trackballs is a safety feature the USDOT / highway safety bureau wanted for 2015 vehicles sold in the USA)... it didn't happen.

    The trunk needs an electruc door open / close a USA white van man, the rear side doors would only be opened to get stuff at job site, and, an electric trunk door would really make that camera usefull at loading platforms.

    MHO= the 1.0L engine is perfect... whole vehicle is sized OK for work or family... i would buy this in a simplified console version w/3 door electric open / close systems...a Variomatic transmission would be nice too (that 2010 Prius has that, no gears, YUM)...RS.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Technology site, not motor site

    There are a great many sites that cover cars, thinking of competing with them El Reg?

    Great if you cover a car that's bringing a new technology to the world, but why bother posting this standard fare?

    1. fishman

      Re: Technology site, not motor site

      They don't post many car reviews - usually one every few weeks. And you don't have to read articles that you don't care for.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What an absolutely horrible ugly car

    The body is hideous, the cabin is hideous, the colour is hideous, the seats are hideous and that stupid sliding door is hideous. Ugh.

    However designed this should have 'I am a boring waste of DNA' tattooed on their foreheads. And whoever signed it off for production should have to say 'I'm sorry for making the world more ugly' to every person they meet. Presumably when assembling the car, no-one at Ford is allowed to see the finished product; I feel rank dispair even viewing a photo of it - no mortal should have to behold such an ugly, average mess in the flesh.

    Please remove this article from your site.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What an absolutely horrible ugly car

      I don't think people who buy this sort of car really care what it looks like. They buy it for practical reasons, and from what I can tell it does what it says it does.

      Apart from the fuel economy figures. A car this heavy, with such a small engine is never going to get anywhere near the quoted mpg.

    2. Chika

      Re: What an absolutely horrible ugly car

      I agree that the B-Max is an ugly car (I had reason to consider this first hand at the start of the year when I changed my Ford Fusion, the car that the B-Max replaces, for a slightly younger Ford Fusion!) but that's no reason to remove the article. People won't know how totally ugly this car is unless they see reviews like this one or my own take on this -

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    As a muscle car driver, this new B-Max would make a decent starter motor.

    ; )

  12. MJI Silver badge

    So boring

    I could not think of a single reason I would want that

  13. Prof Denzil Dexter

    Review without a price

    Whats the point?

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