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<div style="text-align: left; ">Auto Express have had a sneak peak at the new B-Max, here is the low down;

The new B-MAX could lay the blueprint for all future Ford MPVs. When it goes on sale in September, priced at just under £14,000, it will be the only car in its class to get sliding doors and a pillarless side opening ""“ and this could be transferred to larger models in the range.

Auto Express got exclusive access to a concept version ahead of the production B-MAX's debut at next month's Geneva Motor Show. And Darren Palmer, director of product development quality, told us there is no reason why the next S-MAX couldn't swap its doors for the B-MAX's set-up.

""The Easy Access Door System is scalable and could work on a C-MAX, S-MAX and Galaxy,""� he said. ""You get the greatest benefit on a smaller car, but if in testing we see that it's the best solution for a larger model, we'll choose it.""�

The S-MAX and Galaxy MPVs are due to be replaced, and would appeal more to family buyers with sliding doors and no B-pillar. When the B-MAX debuts, it will have an unobstructed 1.5-metre side opening (twice as large as a Fiesta's), plus class-leading boot space.

The Easy Access Door System has been in development since 2004, with Ford having to overcome significant hurdles in manufacturing the high-strength boron steel used in the body, to compensate for the missing B-pillar. It also had to develop a latch system that holds the doors in place and creates a safety structure in the event of a crash.

The effort has been worth it, according to Palmer. ""The B-MAX is stiffer than a Fiesta, which is vital as we want best-in-class driving dynamics,""� he said. A maximum five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating is expected, too.

In addition, the B-MAX will offer class-leading efficiency, with the 119bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost petrol model emitting 114g/km and returning 57.6mpg economy. The 94bhp 1.6 TDCi diesel is even cleaner, with 104g/km and 70.6mpg. All models get stop-start, Smart Regenerative Charging and a gearshift indicator, too.

While the production B-MAX has been toned down from the concept, the latter's bold interior trim could be offered on some models. Erika Tsubaki, studio manager for design strategy and futuring, said: ""I could envisage this on Individual-trimmed cars.""�
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