Review: Ford B-MAX (2012 – 2017)

Rating:

Sliding side doors and no central pillar mean unimpeded access. Five star Euro NCAP rating. Engines include 1.0 litre three-cylinder EcoBoost petrol. Decent drive.

No models under 100g/km. Doors are thick and subsequently heavy to close. Cluttered centre stack. Numerous Powershift clutch pack failures. Production ended September 2017.

Recently Added To This Review

24 July 2019

Report of failed heated matrix on 2015/65 Ford B-Max 1.5TDCI. Quoted "at least 5 hours labour" to remove and replace the matrix due to the amount of dashboard dismantling involved. Read more

21 July 2019

Report of failure of 6-speed dry clutch Getrag Powershift transmission of 2012 Ford B-Max. Read more

19 July 2019

Report of leaking air from tyres of 2016 Ford B-Max setting off TMPS alarms. Two TPMS valve sensors have already been replaced. Read more

Ford B-MAX (2012 – 2017): At A Glance

The B-MAX is Ford's answer to small MPVs like the Vauxhall Meriva - a practical family car that blends plenty of exterior space with a compact, hatchback-like footprint. But unlike the competition, the B-MAX has a trump card in the form of a unique door arrangement - the rear doors slide open and there are no central pillars between the front and back doors. This makes access to the back row extraordinarily easy and means the B-MAX is easily the most practical small MPV on sale. 

Underneath the fancy doors, the B-MAX is based on the same platform as the Fiesta, so there’s a well-judged balance between ride comfort and nimbleness. For those moving from a hatchback to a people carrier for the first time the B-MAX is a smart choice. On the other hand, those used to MPVs might find the B-MAX a touch firm.

The engine range is broad, kicking off with a simple 90PS 1.4-litre petrol. Most buyers will find one of the other engines more versatile though, whether they go for a 1.6-litre TDCI diesel or the 1.0-litre Ecoboost, offered with either 100PS or 125PS. Those who want an automatic are restricted to a 1.6-litre petrol with 105PS, which unfortunately isn’t particularly good when it comes to emissions.

Despite the novel door arrangement, the B-MAX manages a five-star Euro NCAP rating, plus it offers a nicely trimmed interior and a large boot. Luggage capacity is 318 litres with the seats in place, expandable to 1386 litres if you fold them flat, something that’s easy to do. Children or adults will fit comfortably into the back row and – of course – they will have no issue getting in and out. Fitting child seats is a doddle too.

Practicality is further enhanced by plenty of little extra touches like map nets, bottle holders, 12v sockets, big door pockets and a wide-angle mirror for checking on the rear seat passengers. Altogether the B-MAX is a great package, only let down slightly by fairly high prices, slightly gruff diesel engines and a few confusing interior buttons.  

Ford B-MAX Road Test

What does a Ford B-MAX (2012 – 2017) cost?

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Ford B-MAX (2012 – 2017): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4077 mm
Width 2067 mm
Height 1604 mm
Wheelbase 2489 mm

Full specifications

Thanks to the sliding, pillarless rear doors it’s very easy to get in and out of the back row on the B-MAX, even in tight parking bays. The design helps massively with loading and unloading car seats and strapping in children too, so for a family it’s an ideal car. It also means you don't have to worry about opening doors into the car next to you in tight car parks.

The boot is spacious at 318 litres and has a flat load deck, so it’s perfect for folded push chairs, shopping or luggage. Folding the middle row of seats expands luggage capacity to 1386 litres, which is more than enough for those occasional trips to pick up some furniture. This practicality is enhanced by a folding front passenger seat, which lets you load longer items.

There are plenty of neat touches in the cabin including numerous cupholders, cubby holes and pockets. There’s also a family-friendly wide angle mirror up front, for checking on rear seat shenanigans at a glance. The rest of the cabin is similar to that of the Fiesta, which is both a blessing and a curse.

The materials used are generally fairly sturdy and there’s a feeling of solidity and quality through most of the controls and surfaces, but lower down and out of sight the plastics are a little less appealing. The centre stack isn’t the best either, with a confusing array of buttons that takes some getting used to. It has voice control, but it’s not the best system – you’re better off using your fingers.

Standard equipment is good enough on entry-spec Studio models, which come with electrically operated door mirrors, DAB radio, electric windows front and rear and tyre pressure monitoring – but you’ll need to move up to Zetec to get alloy wheels and air conditioning.

Standard equipment:

Studio models come with 15-inch alloy wheels, daytime running lights, DAB radio, remote audio controls, electric windows, adjustable load floor, tyre pressure monitor and electrically adjusted door mirros.

Zetec trim adds 15-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights, Quickclear heated windscreen, child observation mirror, sunglasses holder, MyKey, leather trimmed gear lever and steering wheel, air conditioning and the Ford SYNC infotainment system.

Titanium adds an uprated Sony DAB radio with eight speakers, cruise control, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, driver’s seat arm rest, driver’s lumbar support, rear centre armrest and climate control.

Titanium X is the top trim level and adds part-leather seats, heated front seats, keyless entry and start, a panoramic sunroof and scuff plates.

Child seats that fit a Ford B-MAX (2012 – 2017)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Ford B-MAX (2012 – 2017) like to drive?

The B-MAX engines are familiar from the Fiesta, kicking off with an entry-level 90PS 1.4-litre petrol. It does the job, but it’s a bit long in the tooth now. Better is the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, offered with either 100PS or 125PS. It produces plenty of torque across the rev range and manages respectable fuel economy of up to 57.7mpg.

The 1.6-litre 95PS diesel engine manages a more 70.6mpg but it’s a bit on the gruff side and isn’t particularly strong as modern diesels go. It has the lowest emissions of any engine in the range at 104g/km, meaning inexpensive annual tax – but it does miss out on the sub-100g/km to qualify for free annual VED.

Those who want an automatic transmission are restricted to one engine – a 1.6-litre petrol with 105PS. It’s linked to a six-speed twin-clutch auto but it’s not particularly frugal or clean, emitting 149g/km of CO2 and achieving official fuel economy of 44.1mpg.

Being based on the same platform as the Fiesta, the B-MAX has impressive road manners. The suspension, while perhaps a little on the firm side, is nicely damped and generally does a good job of absorbing imperfections. More impressive is the way it deals with corners – there’s little body roll and plenty of feedback, which inspires confidence.

This is helped by nicely weighted steering and smooth gearboxes. Indeed the B-MAX doesn’t really feel like an MPV – it’s far more like a fun, eager little hatchback. For a growing family that needs the extra practicality afforded by the spacious rear row, but doesn’t want to give up driving fun, it’s the ideal car.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.0T EcoBoost 100 55 mpg 13.2 s 119 g/km
1.0T EcoBoost 125 58 mpg 10.9 s 114 g/km
1.0T EcoBoost 140 57 mpg 10.3 s 116 g/km
1.4 47 mpg 13.8 s 139 g/km
1.5 TDCi 75 74 mpg 15.1 s 98 g/km
1.5 TDCi 95 74 mpg 13.0 s 98 g/km
1.6 PowerShift 44 mpg 12.1 s 149 g/km

Real MPG average for a Ford B-MAX (2012 – 2017)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

75%

Real MPG

27–67 mpg

MPGs submitted

419

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Ford B-MAX (2012 – 2017)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

How much work is required to replace a heater matrix?

I have a 2015 Ford B-MAX and water is coming into the driver's footwell. Our nearest Ford garage (which has been very good and I trust) has told me that it is something to do with the heater matrix - either pipe or matrix and this is unusual. They tell me that it is at least five hours labour (as they have to remove put back the dash board), before diagnosis and parts. Would you agree as this seems expensive on a vehicle that has just been serviced at 26000 miles?
Any work on a heater matrix is very expensive because of the long time it takes to dismantle the dashboard to get at the heater matrix. Same with every car.
Answered by Honest John
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