Geneva 2012: Ford's B-Max is a Mini-Minivan with Maximum Space

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We already had a look at the 2012 Ford B-Max before, but the subcompact MPV made its official debut in production form today at the Geneva Motor Show. Now that we've seen it on the show floor, we can say that it looks more ready than ever to take on the tight streets on European city centers. Sharing its platform with the subcompact Ford Fiesta, the 2012 B-Max expands Ford's European people-lineup down market in size and has some nifty tricks up its sleeve. Most noticeable about the B-Max is the lack of a B-pillar – Ford engineered the car's front doors so that they latch into the floor pan and header of the vehicle, and the rear sliding doors to the floor and the slider that runs along the rear-three quarter panel to the taillights. Without a B-pillar, egress and exit in and out of the small van is made much easier thanks to the 60-inch-wide opening, especially given the B-Max's 164.4-inch length and the tight parking spots often found in European cities. Trick number two is the 2012 B-Max's engine: it is the first Ford model to receive the brand's all-new 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder EcoBoost engine. Yes, that's right, a 1.0-liter turbo-three. The new engine produces 118 hp and reportedly achieves the equivalent of 57.6 mpg on the European test cycle, according to Ford. Buyers will also have the choice of a number of other engine options: the gas range includes a less-powerful, 99-hp version of the 1.0-liter EcoBoost; a 1.4-liter I-4 with 89 hp; or a 104-hp 1.6-liter I-4 that comes standard with Ford's six-speed PowerShift dual-clutch transmission. There are two oil-burning options – a 1.6-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine good for 93 hp and manages 70.6 mpg, and the 68.9-mpg 1.5-liter I-4 with 74 hp. Transmission options are either a manual or dual-clutch transmission, both with six speeds. When the 2012 B-Max goes on sale in Europe later this year, it will join the C-Max, Grand C-Max, S-Max, and Galaxy in Ford's MPV range. It will offer tech features such as a backup camera and Ford Sync for buyers to choose from. The subcompact people-mover segment is already filling up with the B-Max doing battle with the Citroen C3, Renault Modus, Nissan Note, Toyota Verso S, Fiat 500L, Hyundai i20, and Kia Venga. For more on the 2012 Ford B-Max, check out our First Look; for more on the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, including, videos, the latest photos, and more information, click here to visit our 2012 Geneva Motor Show homepage.

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