Monday, February 28, 2011

Geneva Preshow: Ford Reveals B-MAX Small MPV Study Based on the Fiesta

Scheduled to make its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show this week is Ford's brand-new B-MAX concept that previews the firm's upcoming small MPV, designed to replace the current European Fusion and rival the Opel Meriva. Based on the
Fiesta platform, the almost production-ready minivan has some striking features, the most obvious being the new door concept. It has no B-pillar and the twin doors have a conventional opening system in the front and a sliding system in the back.

By eliminating the traditional B-pillar, Ford promises best-in-class access to the cabin without compromising safety. With both front and rear doors open, the aperture measures 1.5 metres, around twice the width offered by competitors, according to Ford.

“With its unique door format and dynamic design, the B-MAX sends a strong message that customers looking for a compact, stylish and versatile vehicle will soon have an exciting new choice,” said Stephen Odell, CEO of Ford Europe. Another highlight is the lack of door handles, with the opening system being remote-controlled.

The B-MAX measures is a little over 4 meters in length, and is 110mm longer than and 110mm taller than the Fiesta five-door hatch, with Ford promising enough room for five passengers. With the rear seats folded 60/40, the car offers a flat load floor that extends up to 2.35 meters in length when the front passenger seat is folded.

The B-MAX is powered by an all-new 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine that uses EcoBoost technology and is equipped with Ford's Auto-Start-Stop system. The 3-cylinder unit uses turbocharging, direct fuel injection and twin independent variable cam timing to achieve significant reductions in fuel-consumption and CO2 emissions. This engine is set to replace larger conventional four-cylinder units in the future and is now undergoing the final development phase.

A production version of the B-MAX is expected to launch within the next two years.

By Dan Mihalascu


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