Latest Ford is far more than just clever doors

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YES the fact that the Ford B-MAX has no B-pillar at the side and a huge aperture may have grabbed the headlines, but there’s so much more to this car than clever doors.

Sidestep that distraction and there’s a three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbo engine and some very interesting cabin features to take in as well.

The big talking point might well be the doors but under the bonnet is a really intriguing engine.

Displacing just 1.0 litre and with three tiny pistons tasked with moving you and yours down the road at a respectable clip, the turbocharged Ecoboost engine punches above its weight, managing a respectable 100bhp.

The B-MAX rides on the same chassis as the Fiesta and a good deal of work has gone into making sure that body rigidity is up to par and that side impact protection is also up to Ford’s commendably high standards.

Ultra-high-strength Boron steel is used in key load-bearing areas such that the door frames work together to absorb energy like a ‘virtual B pillar’.

Parking shouldn’t be a problem with an overall length of just 406cm which slots between the 395cm of a five-door Fiesta and the 436cm of a five-door Focus.

With all that glass, visibility out of the vehicle is very good, Ford thankfully keeping the raked windscreen pillars to a manageable thickness.

Ford claims the B-MAX sports a bold new interpretation of their trapezoidal grille but to this rheumy eye it looks a rather unashamed copy of an Aston Martin item.

Still, if one has to crib, Aston Martin isn’t a bad source. Otherwise, the exterior of the B-MAX follows much the same ‘kinetic design’ as contemporary Fords.

Certain features catch the eye. The zig-zag slash on the lower rear doors is a departure and the swage line that runs the length of the body is deeply chamfered.

Despite a sales record that’s second to none, building innovation and desirability into small cars hasn’t always been a Ford forte.

The Blue Oval has always got the pounds and pence side of the equation squared away and that has driven fleet sales quite agreeably but family buyers looking for something distinctive have often found pickings a bit slim.

The B-MAX could well change all of that, with Ford bringing the expertise that developed Galaxy, S-MAX and C-MAX models to bear in a miniaturised and even more intriguingly detailed format.

With its rear sliding doors that reveal no central B-pillars, the Ford B-MAX offers something unique that instantly makes its key rival, the Vauxhall Meriva, appear suddenly off the pace.

Couple that with an eager 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine and you have a package that’s just too singular to overlook.