What's the used Ford B-Max hatchback like?
If you’ve ever been in the situation whereby you're trying to put a child into a car seat and there are cars parkded close-by on either side of you, you’ll understand why the sliding rear doors and lack of central pillars of the Ford B-Max are incredibly useful features.
Since it’s based on the Fiesta, the B-Max uses the same range of engines as its small hatchback sibling. The petrol line-up starts with an 89bhp 1.4-litre unit, a 104bhp 1.6-litre and the excellent turbocharged 1.0-litre Ecoboost in 99bhp and 123bhp form. If you want a diesel, there’s a 1.5-litre in 74bhp and 94bhp forms.
As MPVs go, the B-Max drives rather well. The ride is stiffer than you’ll find on most of its rivals because of the need to keep body lean to a minimum in corners, but the ride quality is still capable enough to deal with speed humps and small road imperfections. The steering is well weighted and very accurate, and the gearbox is slick.
The party piece of the B-Max is that there is no central pillar, but in order to maintain the structural integrity of the car, the doors are quite a bit wider than normal and are therefore much heavier, too. This also creates a wide sill for passengers to have to step over, so while the B-Max is great for new families, it isn’t quite so good for those with older children. The boot is also not as big as those of the C3 Picasso and Meriva.
Another issue is with the dashboard design, which is also lifted from the Fiesta. It has far too many small buttons for the radio and infotainment system that are hard to read or use on the move, and the screen they control is titchy.
Mid-range Zetec trim comes with lots of standard equipment, including air conditioning, 15in alloy wheels, a heated windscreen and LED daytime running lights.
Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used Ford B-Max hatchback?
The B-Max is an MPV that appeals to families, so check the interior thoroughly for stains to the seats and carpet and the dashboard and door cards for any broken or scratched plastic trim.
Ford often fits its excellent Quickclear heated windscreen to most mid-range spec cars and above, but this will cost you more to replace than a windscreen without a heating element in it, so look for any stone chips – these might result in an MOT failure.
If you’re considering a B-Max with Ford's Powershift automatic gearbox, ensure it shifts gears smoothly with no juddering when you pull away or come to a stop. Also look for evidence that the gearbox's fluids have been changed every third service in order to maintain correct operation and benefit from any warranty protection should you encounter a problem.
What are the most common problems with a used Ford B-Max hatchback?
The 1.5-litre diesel engine is fitted with a diesel particulate filter (DPF). To ensure that this can regenerate (burn off trapped soot), frequent motorway journeys are necessary, because this process is only triggered when the exhaust is hot enough. Check how the previous owner has used the car if you're unsure, because lots of urban journeys will clog up the filter, potentially leading to an expensive repair bill.
Other potential problems with the DPF come if it has been shut off part way through regeneration. The result is contamination of the oil system with fuel, which leads to the oil level rising gradually over time. This can cause damage to the engine, so it’s worth checking the oil level or have the car inspected if you're uncertain.
Is a used Ford B-Max hatchback reliable?
Most certainly: the B-Max was the most reliable MPV according to our latest What Car? Reliability Survey. Only 17% of B-Maxes had faults, and while these spanned from both minor and more serious issues, including the Quickclear screen and the steering system, all were fixed under warranty.
Ford as a brand came 9th out of 32 manufacturers, which is a very good result considering the huge number of cars that it sells.
If you'd like to see the full reliability rankings for MPVs, head to the What Car? Reliability Survey pages.
What used Ford B-Max hatchback will I get for my budget?
Prices for the Ford B-Max begin around £5000 for a 2012 or 2013 example that has done more than 80,000 miles. If you want something with around 40,000 miles, plan on spending about £6000.
A diesel B-Max with 40,000 miles will cost about £6250, while a late 2016 example with only a few thousand miles on it will be around £12,500.
How much does it cost to run a Ford B-Max hatchback?
As long as you avoid the automatic and the entry-level 1.4-litre petrol, the B-Max shouldn’t cost all that much to run.
The 89bhp 1.4-litre petrol has official combined fuel economy of 47.1mpg and will cost £140 in annual road tax, while the 104bhp 1.6 averages 44.1mpg and costs £155 to tax. While that might not sound awful, compare it with the £30 road tax and mid-50s mpg figures for any of the turbocharged 1.0 Ecoboost engines.
The diesel is the economy champion, though: both the 74bhp and 94bhp versions of the 1.5-litre diesel average 74.3mpg and break into the free road tax bracket.
Insurance costs are low for the class, and Ford offers competitive servicing prices and various servicing plans that can be paid for with a lump sum or by monthly direct debits. There’s even the offer of UK and European roadside assistance with Ford Schedule Services from the date of the service until the date the next one is due.
Which used Ford B-Max hatchback should I buy?
As previously stated, the 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol engines are rather expensive to run (although if you want an automatic, your choice is limited to the 1.6), and the diesel only makes sense if you cover lots of miles. We’d therefore recommend going for the 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol in mid-range 123bhp form. It's fast enough for town and country use, plus it still gets decent fuel economy.
Entry-level Studio trim misses out on many essentials. Top-end Titanium and Titanium X can be expensive and a family car with part-leather seats is asking for trouble, so go for Zetec for the best blend of equipment and value.
Our favourite Ford B-Max: 1.0 Ecoboost 125 Zetec
What alternatives should I consider to a used Ford B-Max hatchback?
The rear doors of the Vauxhall Meriva open in the opposite direction to the front ones to give you better access to child seats in the rear. It has plenty of efficient diesel engines to keep running costs low and standard equipment was generous.
The award-winning Citroën C3 Picasso has a bigger boot than the B-Max and suffers from less road noise on the motorway, making it slightly more relaxing to drive. It's also really good value for a spacious five-seat family MPV.