Ford B-MAX image

The new B-MAX, which could be considered the blueprint for all future Ford MPVs, will go on sale in September 2012 for £14,000 and it will be the only car in its class to get sliding doors and a pillar-less side opening.

“The Easy Access Door System is scalable and could work on a C-MAX, S-MAX and Galaxy,” said Darren Palmer, director of product development quality. “You get the greatest benefit on a smaller car, but if in testing we see that it’s the best solution for a larger model, we’ll choose it.”

The S-MAX and Galaxy MPVs, considered more like family cars, will be replaced by the unobstructed 1.5-metre side opening B-MAX. The Easy Access Door System is characteristic to Ford, who has been trying since 2004 to develop and overcome significant hurdles in manufacturing the high-strength boron steel used in the body, to compensate for the missing B-pillar. The company also managed to develop a latch system that holds the doors in place and creates a safety structure in the event of a crash.

The model features 119bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost petrol model emitting 114g/km and returning 57.6mpg economy. The 94bhp 1.6 TDCi diesel is even cleaner, with 104g/km and 70.6mpg. Each model has stop-start, a gearshift indicator and Smart Regenerative Charging.