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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: March 1, 2011 @ 10:09 am

    Geneva motor show live: Ford’s new B-Max

    Michael McAleer

    Ford's new B-Max: a direct rival to the Opel Meriva

    Ford is introducing a new small people carrier, the B-Max, a direct rival to the recently launched Opel Meriva. Slightly larger than a Fiesta it boasts rear sliding doors and no b-pillar (the central side pillar between the driver and passenger doors).

    Ford B-Max may have rear sliding doors and more functionality, but the firm is adamant the Fusion has a future...

    That makes side loading and entry a breeze and it’s a very smart trick, for the front a rear doors operate independently. In many ways it’s an improvement on the Meriva in that rear sliding doors make it easier to access in tight car parks than Opel’s reverse-opening format. The aperture with both doors open on the B-Max is 1.5 metres.

    Due in Ireland early next year, the folks at the blue oval brand are at pains to deny that this is a replacement for the Fusion, but clearly it’s going to devour whatever following that car has had, particularly as it’s more stylish and practical than the boxy Fusion.

    Inside and the car takes many of its design cues from the Fiesta, matching its nice interior styling and switchgear with a spacious cabin.

    Expect to see the car in showrooms early next year, when it will also boast Ford’s new 1-litre three-cylinder petrol ecoboost engine. No details as yet on this engine’s output but expect it to be powerful enough to feature in the Focus lineup as well and with emissions below 99g/km.

    The new B-Max will be followed with an all-electric version of the Focus, due to be introduced across Europe by the summer of next year.


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