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Auto Show:  2012 Geneva Auto Show

Ford B-Max Preview: Geneva Auto Show


author photo by Jeffrey Archer February 2012
  • Ford previewed the new B-Max ahead of its Geneva debut.
  • The new compact is based on the Fiesta.
  • Ford has not announced if it will sell the B-Max in the US.

Ford will debut a new mini-crossover based on the compact Fiesta at next month's Geneva Auto Show. The automaker recently previewed the new model, officially dubbed the B-Max, ahead of its debut at the show, revealing photos and announcing several preliminary details.

On the outside, the B-Max is distinguished by its Fiesta-style flared fenders, hexagonal lower grille and steeply raked windshield. Other unique traits include rear sliding doors and an upright passenger compartment, both reminiscent of a small minivan. But despite its minivan-like appearance, Ford shies away from the term, instead labeling the B-Max a "compact, city-friendly car."

While Ford hasn't released any images of the B-Max's interior, the automaker promises the compact will deliver an upscale cabin design that bests many of its compact rivals. Ford also says the B-Max will offer best-in-class load space, which is hugely important for many buyers considering the B-Max as a first car for a growing family.

Such buyers will certainly appreciate the B-Max's most unique features, which are its ingenious sliding doors. While passengers climbing into most vehicles equipped with sliding doors must contend with thick "B-pillars" mounted in front of the rear doors, the B-Max ingeniously integrates such pillars into the doors themselves. As a result, the B-Max's sliding doors provide a remarkably wide opening, vastly easing entry and exit for rear passengers.

"The B-Max combines an exciting, innovative design with features that only previously have been found in bigger cars," said Stephen Odell, Ford Europe's chairman and chief executive. "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."

But will it come to the United States? We can't be sure. Although Ford announced the B-Max will feature its highly efficient 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine, the automaker hasn't yet detailed which markets will receive the new compact. But with Ford's recent strategy of offering one model for all markets - and given the impending release of the slightly larger, Focus-based C-Max - our guess is that it's certainly a possibility.

What it means to you: Although it may never come here, we could see the B-Max having a major impact on the small car segment.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Ford B-Max Preview: Geneva Auto Show - Autotrader