The Ford B-Max. Picture by Ashley Vaughan.
Car: Ford B-MaxModel: Zetec 1.4 litre (90PS) petrolMpg (comb): 47.1mpgCO2: 139g/kmPrice: Range starts from £12,995Loaned by: Premier Ford, Newport
FEW cars strike me as being the most useful thing since sliced bread — but the new Ford B-Max does.
It’s the first model in Europe with Ford SYNC, which delivers everything you would expect from Bluetooth/ voice control systems and more.
I am not one for playing music or making phone calls in the car but even I was impressed when I learned Ford SYNC could call the emergency services if you have been in an accident, show them where you are via its integrated GPS system, then put them through to you, so you can tell them what’s happened and if anyone is hurt.
Ford SYNC’s enhanced voice control operation is simplicity itself — literally say "Call", then the name to get through.
You can even receive SMS text messages through audio and reply to texts with simple pre-defined SMS messages, such as "Sound’s good!"
That’s not the only thing that attracts me to the new B-Max — it’s a stylish car that’s not much bigger than a Fiesta, yet it offers improved access with sliding rear doors, which is great if you are a mother with a small child, like me.
It offers great flexibility of space, there is a decent-sized boot for the weekly shop, while the fold-flat front passenger and rear seats provide a 2.35m-long cargo space in moments.
The model I drove gave me a smooth, quiet yet sporty drive, with plenty of overtaking power and the ability to get up the steepest hills on the Downs road in top gear.
It offers fairly decent mpg and emissions figures but other models in the range are even more frugal performers — the diesel engines kick out just 109g/km and can produce up to 70.6mpg on a combined cycle and there is a 1.0-litre EcoBoost model with start-stop technology available.
Do yourself a favour — meet the new B-Max.