Ford B-Max prices from around 13,500

* Ford B-Max likely to start from 13,500 * Body stiffer than a Fiestas * On sale in September...

Ford B-Max prices from around 13,500

Ford B-Max prices will start from around 13,500, Ford sources told What Car? at an exclusive preview of the car. The B-Max will make its public debut at the Geneva motor show next month.

The entry-level version is expected to have a 99bhp version of Fords new 1.0 Ecoboost petrol engine, which we recently tested in the Focus. Ford has revealed that with the 118bhp version of this engine, the B-Max will emit 114g/km of CO2, with average economy of 57.6mpg.

The 1.6 TDCi diesel model averages 70.6mpg and emits 104g/km of CO2. All B-Max models will have an engine start-stop system, Eco Mode driver information system and gearshift indicator. Theres also a system that charges the battery at the most economical points in a journey.

The B-Max is a compact MPV with sliding rear doors and no central pillar, which is designed to provide easier access than rivals such as the Citroen C3 Picasso, Nissan Note and Vauxhall Meriva.

The B-Maxs unusual layout gives it an unobstructed 1.5-metre rear door opening space, which Ford claims is more than double that offered by the Vauxhall Meriva.

Darren Palmer, director of product development quality at Ford, told us the decision to use the layout was founded on practicality and ease of access. He said that the rest of the car was designed around this.

Extensive use of high-strength steel, and strengthening in strategic areas has made the B-Maxs body stiffer than a Fiestas, Palmer says. A sophisticated latching system is designed to stop the doors opening in the event of an impact, and Ford is confident the B-Max will achieve the maximum five-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating.

The B-Max goes on sale in September.

Leo Wilkinson

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