Ford opens the doors on clever new B-Max MPV


Ford has unveiled the unique door arrangement for the new B-Max small MPV. The setup takes away, rather ironically, the B-pillar, and replaces traditional rear doors for sliding ones.

Plenty of cars have sliding rear doors - the Volkswagen Sharan and SEAT Alhambra to name two one - but the missing B-pillar makes the B-Max unique. It means there's a massive opening at both sides of the car, making getting into it akin to entering a small cave.

Called the Easy Door Access System, Ford says it "makes loading bulky items, or helping children in and out of the car in tight spaces, a breeze."

And if you're worried that the big hole will leave said bulky items or children at risk of falling out after a small prang, fret not, because it also "deliver[s] excellent crash protection," emphasises Ford.

In a direct swipe at rivals Vauxhall, who could do without it at the moment to be honest, Ford notes that the B-Max offers a 1.5-metre wide unhindered access, while the Vauxhall Meriva, with its old school B-pillars, only musters up 0.7 metres.

Ford claims it allows objects up to 2.3 metres in length to be loaded through the door. Ikea, here we come...

"We set ourselves the challenge of re-imagining the small car," said Ford designer Stefan Lamm. "People are struggling with the spatial challenges of city driving and we wanted to find a new solution."

Most cars use the B-pillar as a key part of the chassis' structural rigidity, which is partly why, in the past, some convertibles would suffer from so-called 'scuttle shake'.

To help prevent the B-Max being a uniquely scuttle shaking MPV, Ford has moved the key structural pillars into the doors themselves using high strength steel, meaning no loss of safety and no gain in weight. Win-win, if it's worked.

The B-Max debuts at the Geneva Motor Show in March before hitting the shops later this year.