February 6th, 2012 by Steve Cypher

Ford announces that the production version of its super mini people mover will debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show

Small on the outside

It was less than a year ago that the Ford B-MAX concept was unveiled at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. To help celebrate the anniversary of that event, Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally will personally travel to Switzerland this March to debut the production-ready version at this year’s show.

“The B-MAX combines an exciting, innovative design with features that only previously have been found in bigger cars,” said Stephen Odell, chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe. “It’s a brand new car that responds to the needs of an increasing number of customers who want much more from their small cars.”

If preliminary specifications are any indication, this diminutive people mover will actually be one inch shorter (at 159.1”) that its platform-mate (albeit with a higher roofline and longer wheelbase), the Ford Fiesta hatchback, currently buzzing the urban landscapes and back roads of the U.S. of A.

Big on the inside

Aside from expressing yet another version of Martin Smith’s kinetic design philosophy, the B-MAX is also one of the more interesting variants. In the first place, it has no B-pillars, allowing rear seat passengers to feel much less claustrophobic and allowing for better access to load and unload luggage. Secondly, to facilitate better passenger ingress and egress, it comes equipped with sliding rear doors.

According to Ford, these advantages demanded a new approach to door design and engineering, with the center B-pillars being integrated into the sliding doors, themselves.

Motivation

Finally, in addition to what is expected to be both a 1.6-liter gasoline engine and a 1.6-liter Duratorq TDCi diesel for engine choices, the B-MAX will be the first vehicle in which Ford’s new 1.0-liter turbocharged and direct injected EcoBoost gasoline engine will be available.

Availability

Alas, it doesn’t look like those of us in the States will be seeing this mini MPV anytime soon, but with production set to begin shortly, buyers in Europe can expect to see it in their Ford new car dealer showrooms sometime in the second quarter of this year.


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