I really like it when I pick up a test drive that surprises me. If I’m being honest I wasn’t overly excited by the fact that I was about to pick up a Ford B-Max for test drive, but as I do with all test drives I sit into the vehicle with a completely open mind. Immediately I was impressed by a few things about this set of wheels, and I hadn’t even turned the engine over.
So what was it that stood out most for me? Well, it’s the sheer usefulness of the B-Max? It’s the easy to use and open anywhere sliding doors to the rear. It’s the fact that it has no B-pillar. It’s the unexpected spaciousness and head-height once you sit inside. Seriously, this small car is more useful than my mind had ever given it credit for. The interior space is brilliantly laid out. Despite the dimensions of the B-Max I would very seriously say that this is a good example of a small family car. I'm even surprised by the 318 litres of boot space that comes with this machine.
In terms of outside style it’s not what I’d call a “looker”, but honestly I feel that anyone who is going down the route of a B-Max is not there for style. They're there for functionality. They’ve got at least two kids and want a set of wheels which will comfortably take them where they need to go. The size of the vehicle meets these ends too; it's small, and easy to manoeuvre.
Where the B-Max let me down is in the engine department. It’s a noisy enough machine and it doesn’t offer as much power as I would hope. The 1.5 litre Diesel engine I tested will only offer you 75PS. That's a lot of engine giving a little return. I don’t think that every car has to be extremely powerful, but I do expect a car not to be sluggish going through the gears on the motorway, and sadly the B-Max doesn’t tick this box for me. While on the motorway you may also have to turn up the radio because the road noise does get a bit high while increasing the speed. Funnily enough, if I was in the market for a car like this I would have a look at Ford's 1.0litre Ecoboost engine and I would opt for the 100 to 120 bhp instead.
Despite my moaning about the power of the engine I do have to admit that this car handles the roads before and beneath it quiet well. It also soaks up bumps quiet well, which is always welcomed in a car of this size. It's also comforting that the on-paper fuel economy figures of all of the B-Max vehicles available in Ireland are very good. According to Ford the model I was driving offers a combined fuel economy of 4.1 litres to 100km.
This 5-speed manual machine falls into tax band A3, which means that to tax it's not going to be too painful. The colour on the model I was driving was moon dust silver, if you do want a more stylish look to the car I will say that it looks a lot better in black. In terms of price you should expect to pay from €20,995.
Overall I am actually very impressed by the Ford B-Max. Yes, it's a bit sluggish but to be fair to this vehicle, nobody will be buying this for its speed and power. What impresses me most about it is the functionality that this small car can offer.
Find more of our Ford reviews here.