Would You Buy It? 2013 Ford B-Max

Ford b-max-1
Does the U.S. market need another mini-minivan? Well, the Mazda5 is doing OK here, so why not add Ford's B-Max to the mix?

The B-Max was unveiled at the 2012 Geneva International Motor Show earlier this month and will go on sale in Europe later this year. It's a difficult-to-classify vehicle thanks to its compact wagon body style, tall ride height and sliding doors. Ford calls the B-Max a "city-friendly crossover," and in looks and purpose, it's a cross between the Mazda5 and Honda Fit. The wagon seats five passengers and rides on a stretched version of the Ford Fiesta platform, making the 164-inch B-Max quite a bit smaller than the 180.5-inch Mazda5 and a bit longer than the Fit.

In terms of styling, the B-Max gets points over the awkward, angular Mazda5, but they share the sliding door setup. We know the B-Max's minivan doors may seem uncool. We get it; however, they provide a much wider opening than a traditional door, which is great when trying to load people, stuff or a child-safety seat into the second row. Maybe sliding doors are even better for entering tight spaces like the B-Max versus the cavernous confines of full-size minivans. Ford says the front passenger seat and backseat can be folded to create a flat load floor capable of swallowing loads measuring up to 92.5 inches long.

A variety of gas and diesel engines will be offered, including a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine making 118 horsepower. It's a member of the efficient EcoBoost engine family and features standard start/stop functionality and an Eco mode, which lets the driver know when the car is being driven most efficiently. Ford estimates it'll have a fuel consumption rating of about 4.9 liters/100 kilometers, which translates to 57.6 mpg on the European cycle.

For a subcompact, the B-Max has some impressive equipment, including Active City Stop, a safety system that automatically applies the brakes if a low-speed crash is imminent. Ford's Sync voice-activated multimedia system is also available, as are a panoramic sunroof, rearview camera and leather upholstery.

With gas prices continuing to skyrocket, smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles should look more appealing to cash-strapped U.S. consumers, especially if the vehicles are versatile and equipped with the latest safety and tech features.

The B-Max has all of the above, but according to Mark Schirmer, Ford's global communications manager, the automaker has no plans to market it in the States and wants to instead focus on sales of the Fiesta subcompact and the compact Focus.

Can a case be made for the B-Max? Well, Honda Fit and Mazda5 sales were both up in 2011. Though not overly impressive, Mazda sold 19,155 Mazda5s last year, up 22% from 2010 sales. Honda moved a healthy 59,235 Fits in 2011, up 9% over 2010 sales.

So, why isn't Ford considering widening the B-Max’s reach?

"In Europe, the B-segment is the meat and heart of the market. In the U.S., we recognize that it's a smaller part of the market," Schirmer said. Offering another subcompact car to U.S. buyers would create competition within Ford's own lineup, he said. Schirmer also noted that to Ford's North American operations, the compact C-segment is a more important class, making the Focus a top priority.

Ford spokesman Said Deep also confirmed to us that the B-Max doesn't have a future in the States, but don't rule it out just yet. Earlier this month, Ford CEO Alan Mulally told Canada's The Globe and Mail that the B-Max might eventually make its way to North America.

The deciding factor for Ford will ultimately be the consumer. Tell us, would you buy it?

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Ford b-max-4

Comments 

Jack

By not offering vehicles like this in the US, the big three keep shooting themselves in the foot. Many smaller euro designs are where we need to go both in offerings and in consumer acceptance/demand.

WTF

What consumer demand?

Jon

As a Fit owner, I would definitely consider trading ours in for a used B-Max in the future. Our Fit swallows nearly everything, but it can be difficult to get things in and out of the side doors. I love the idea of eliminating the B-Pillar - as long as it meets crash standards.

Paul

Is it possible to make something functional like this without it being Fugly? Beyond personal preference, this seems really limited from a cargo perspective, especially if you have a family of 4. I've driven the Mazda5 and couldn't imagine the B-max would accommodate much if 1.5' shorter. It's also not clear to me why anyone without a family of 4+ would even consider a mini-van (or a mini-mini-van).

Rich

I saw one on the road. Was surprisingly impressed. It looks kind of sporty like the previous-generation Mazda 3 5-door.

Brom

Hopefully this thing goes the way of the old B-max (Betamax). I'm all for fuel economy and functionality, but I don't see what niche this thing serves. Too small for a family and what non-family person wants a mini-van. Nor would I want to drive Snuffleupagus outfitted with sliding doors, but that's my personal aesthetic preference - to each their own.

TB

I think MPV's could be a viable segment here, especially when People realize that gas prices will never be $2 or $2.50 again. I would not buy this ford's but I would jump on a Skoda Yeti.

Max Reid

C-Max hybrid is coming, why not B-Max with 1 liter ecoboost as well.

Prius C is selling like hot cakes, people do need small spacious vehicles like this. Please bring it on, otherwise Toyota will take away all the market.

Nik

Leave to B-Max in Europe and give a Fusion wagon instead, please.

db

Diesel, diesel, diesel!

Six

I like this a lot, but I only buy used cars. The Fit and Prius C are successful enough to warrant more competition in the segment.

DaPont

US drivers are finally realizing land yachts are out and quality minivans are in. We should benefit from the latest designs offered the rest of the world without regard to sales volume.

Thor

We would definitely consider the B-Max. We like small vehicles for the fuel efficiency, and the versatility of this almost-minivan concept is very appealing. I actually like the current Fiesta/Focus styling concept, so this would fit right in. I like the look of the C-Max as well, but hybrid-only is a non-starter for me. Too bad..

So bring the B-Max. But please make it at least a BIT more of a driver's car than the Mazda 5!!

Francis Dove, Major, USAF, Retired

I would buy three.

g

YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!!! Bring B MAX! That thing looks awesome.

bnell

Would definitely put it on my list. Been considering a Mazda5 for a while now. I think there is and will definitely be a demand for these vehicles as gas prices rise. I'm seeing more and more 5's on the road and even old MPV's for that matter. Reason why they are not selling more is lack of marketing and lack of commitment to really pushing these vehicles in the U.S. Mazda had hardly seemed serious about really pushing the 5 in this market. Marketing is non-existent. Navigation system pulled from 2012 model and who knows if it will ever get SkyActive. I think prospective buyers are afraid Mazda will discontinue. Many people have small families with kids still in car seats for which these vehicles are perfect because of flexibility and sliding doors. Who wants a huge minivan if they don't need it?

roger

sliding doors are a big big help for moving small kids - I look forward for such an option in US. We own 2012 Mazda5 and love it anything more fuel efficient and sliding doors is welcome

Rick

Yep, I'd buy one. I own a 2012 Focus hatch, and it's great fun. A bit short on utility, though, and the B-Max has that in spades. Along with far better mpg. It should do even better in that regard than the C-Max hybrid. Supercompact size, lots of utility, extreme fuel efficient—hat's a great combination.

Renman

Better than a Honda Fit, Mazda 3, or Mazda CX5.

I'd buy it in a heartbeat if 0-60 mph is under 9 seconds.

If Ford doesn't want to bring it here, there's the aforementioned cars, and the Elantra 5 door.

Ford, do you want my business?

Lucia in SW Iowa

We'll eventually have to replace our Metro we bought new in 1999. I've been waiting for Ford to get it together and this looks like it...FINALLY.

Can I order one in UK and ship it here?

Marc Benson

I see all sorts of cars in south Texas that you
can't buy in the USA. I was interested in Mercedes A class after seeing some from
Mexico. I settled for Scion XB, wanted to
replace it with a Ford Grand C-Max but
alas Ford said no to the USA market. I'll
be looking at the 2013 Mazda 5 in the fall.
Way to go US Auto industry!

M Williams

just like the other comments, it seems that ford is moving in the right direction with the b-max. but why advertise such a car that ford has no immediate plans for the states. i personally would like to see this car up close to make a decision on buying this car.

This kind of vehicle will always continue to become more and more popular. It is more practical than a tiny sedan and will be picked up by more and more Explorer owners who are realizing that it just isn't worth it to drive around these days, and can use the Explorer on the weekends.

The big issue for a lot of people is that they're not that great on a 4-lane highway. They get by, but it's not as nice as a bigger, more powerful car.

I have a Mazda5 and would love to have this or an Up! just for around town use, and retiring the Mazda to special purpose duty. Even though it gets decent mileage, I'd rather be getting 30 or 35mpg.

M

It's a cute ute that can scoot!

And to those who say "who would buy such a thing without a family", I bought my Mazda5 as a delivery/business vehicle. Now it hauls around a family of 4 and grandma.

IMO, anyone who buys a sedan is mentally impaired. Most useless design ever. I used to have a Jetta and will NEVER buy another sedan after having a Mazda5. What a special car that is. People just have no clue what they're missing when they buy a sedan.

Dr Tyrone Collins

Yes, I would buy one even though I do not have any small childern @ home. This is the perfect cross between economy, utility, and styling. Why does Ford keep selling their most innovative products in any market but the US? Please bring the B-Max to the states!

Volume Van

C-Max will be launched this month, soon B-Max will come.

With ever increasing oil prices, people are looking at more functional vehicles.

Prius and Kia-Soul are best selling Wagon type vehicles.

That segment will increase in the coming months and the sales of sedan will go down.

Kat

I have a Ford Focus and I'd buy one of these in a heartbeat!

klb

I LOVE this and want one! As a mom of 7 this would be the ultimate vehicle to add to our soon to be growing "fleet" of vehicles! Not every day do I NEED to be driving my gimongo 15 passenger van when I only have 2,3, or 4 kids with me. I also live out in the country and my oldest goes to school 37 miles away from home - cost prohibitive to the family at 14 mpg with my "maxi-van". PLEASE bring it to the US! FORD has put the food on our table for 40+ years and I hate to go to the competition if they can't meet our needs!

Dennis

I'd love one. I'm a single guy. I haul equipment all over the place and want a fuel efficient vehicle to do it in. This would blow away my current mini van. I'd probably want a used one, three years old or so with a port rack. Made in the US is important to me too. I care not just about the environment but about our own economy too.

Mike

A yes vote for me.
I looked at Fiesta two years ago and is just a little too small.
One of my co-workers based in the UK has one, his family loves it. He has another one on order.

Linda Moccia

I want one. Love the doors. I have elderly passengers. It would be a big help to get them in the back seat. I hate B pillars. I want one. I am single. Get it in the USA already!!

oldcarguy73

Yeah, I'd buy one. Need more usable space than my Focus ZX3 and more rear headroom. The Fit isn't bad, but the drivers seat position is bad for me and it drives worse than my 1987 Ford E350! The sliding door with no "B" pillar makes loading items easy and the size works well in urban areas.

Dave

Being an old Dagenham boy, I have driven Fords exclusively for 50 years. In the last 12 I have owned 4 Fusions so you could say I was the target market for the new BMax when Ford finally discontinued the ageing Fusion. The BMax was naturally the first car I tried as a replacement. I liked it very much but oh those rear doors! What were Ford thinking of? Sit your elderly mum in the back seat and see if she can close them comfortably - it can't be done. But if the car is sloping forward the doors are apt to close like a guillotine. Want to fill the car with petrol and aged parent wants a pee? She can’t get out. Do you prefer the front seat belt anchorage below your right shoulder? I don’t. And where is this improved accessibility? The front seat backrests are still there. The rear doors do not clear the rear seat backrests like a normal door would.
If the car ever gets a bang will those doors ever be the same again?
I have bought a Hyundai ix20. Not a better car but it is a similar shape and has "proper rear doors.

Steve

If this could get 40 plus mpg in real world, realistic driving with that little engine, home run Ford.

Sue Fricken

This is EXACTLY what I am looking for. Hope they start selling them in the US soon.

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