Tag Archive | "MPV"

Ford B-Max Mini MPV Review: A Good Car for the Money

What do you get when you cross the Ford Fiesta platform with the size and the styling of the Ford Focus? The B-Max Mini MPV, Ford’s strongest entry in the European minivan market. The B-Max was originally introduced as a concept car at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show as a way to display the company’s revolutionary B3 platform. It has done very well since being introduced to the consumer market in 2012.

The 2015 B-Max is everything you would expect from this car, and then some. Its strongest selling point for families is a combination of its price point and practicality. You get a lot for your money with the B-Max, although you will probably not win any style points for driving a sleek and sexy sport sedan. That is why the B-Max is really designed for families with young kids.

A bonus for families is that used versions of the B-Max are available through manufacturer-approved schemes such as Ford Direct. Choosing one that is a model a year or two older is yet another way to get an excellent car for not a lot of money.

The Positives

We like the B-Max, first and foremost because it answers one of the most annoying features of most minivans: barely accessible rear seats. Ford designers got rid of the centre pillars to create an open system that makes it easy to get the kids in and out. Believe it or not, child seats have never been easier to use in a minivan. No other minivan offers 59 inches of open space between side doors.

The use of the hatch in the back is another significant positive. Owners have easy access to the rear of the vehicle for loading everything from luggage to groceries. That said, there is not a whole lot of room in the back when the passenger seats are in their normal position. Travelling a long distance with a lot of luggage probably means using a roof-mounted luggage rack or a trailer.

Lastly, the fuel economy of the 99bhp 1.0-litre petrol model is excellent. Ford says you can get 55 mpg if you are careful not to drive aggressively. That’s not hard to do with the 1.0. You may have more difficulty getting mileage that good with the 1.4-litre engine. You will, however, get more punchy performance.

The Negatives

Despite the amount of space afforded by the removal of the central pillars, we cannot help but think that the B3 design presents a safety issue in the event of a side impact crash. Nevertheless, crash tests have resulted in a five star rating for the B-Max in the States. The Euro NCAP also gave the B-Max a five-star safety rating for the 2012 model.

There is not a lot to be impressed about with the comfort level of the B-Max. It is adequate, in the sense that it is not an uncomfortable car, but it is not as smooth and gentle as we would expect a family car to be. Some have described the ride as ‘firm’. It needs to be that way in order to give owners the handling they expect in a car of that size and shape.

Lastly, the design for the interior can be a bit annoying until one gets used to it. The dash seems overly generous while all of the gauges and user controls are compressed into a tiny area. It seems as though Ford could have done a better job of spreading things out a bit. Nonetheless, perhaps the dash arrangement was designed around the overall theme of more room to work rather than valuable space being taken up by unnecessary features.

Where to Buy the Ford B-Max

The Ford B-Max has done very well in a UK market that is heavy on fuel economy and low price point. It is available from most Ford.co.uk dealers in the UK as a brand new model and there are no real stock restrictions, some sites have strong special offers such as JenningsMotorGroup.co.uk. There is no reason it should not continue to do well for the foreseeable future. It is a minivan worth looking at for young families that need space for the little ones. In short, it is a good car for the price.

For a quick part exchange valuation then webuyanycar.com is a good bet or alternatively direct from a dealer against a car you are interested in http://www.jenningsforddirect.co.uk/cars/ford/b-max/

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FIAT Gets Fatter

Last March, Motor Blogger told you about the new FIAT 500L, a sort of small MPV based on the iconic design original. We suggested there was likely to be a family of them and so it is proving. Like an overfed Italian child, the original diminutive 500 has grown and grown until it is now reached its corpulent maturity in the form of the FIAT 500L MPW.

MPW stands for Multi-Purpose Wagon, presumably to differentiate the car from its MPV sibling. In most of Europe it will be called ‘Living’ and the interior is referred to as the ‘living space’, because, say FIAT, the car is ‘for living life to the full’.

Anyone who is not yet convinced that cars are turning from proper automobiles into lifestyle accessories must finally see the light. The trouble is, cars have become so well built and reliable these days that manufacturers are having trouble making their products seem different from the rest. This sort of thing is the result, alas.

Enough of this carping – let’s review the car. It’s wider than the 500L and is a seven seater. The rear seats fold flat as is usual. FIAT reckon it is the most compact car in this segment yet they haven’t stinted on space or generous boot capacity.500MPW2 FIAT Gets Fatter

The 500L MPW will be built in Serbia and launched in Italy in July. It will gradually spread across Europe subsequently. If you like the look of it then check with your dealer. At launch it will be powered by a choice of 2 petrol engines, a 1.4L of 95hp and the 0.9L Twin-Air turbo with a sprightly 105hp. Two turbo-diesels complete the line-up.

The ‘Living’ will offer two trim levels, ‘Pop-Star’ and ‘Lounge’ (ye gods). With a choice of nineteen body colours (11 of which can be two-tone). A collection of interior trims that include leather and a big choice of alloy wheels. In short, 282 combinations are available. Cameras and navigation are amongst the options available. No word on price yet.

It seems like the FIAT 500L MPW is trying to be all things to all men. They allege that the car is as agile as a city car, has the comforts of a station-wagon and the versatility of an MPV. Let’s hope it is a decent driver because other than the young and impressionable who might think it‘s funky, it is hard to get past the silly names. Let’s hope also that the car is otherwise as versatile as they are saying because there is certainly a place these days for the all-purpose vehicle when running more than one car is beyond the means of many.

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