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Ford's new mini MPV opens up a whole new world

WHAT has the all-new Ford B-Max and Dublin's fair city got in common? Quite a lot in fact. There's the Pillar for starters, or more to the point -- lack if it.

Yes folks, like the middle of O'Connell Street, the absence of the old centre piece doesn't actually look that out of place.

In fact, its removal has become the car's focal point and the more you look at it the more evident it becomes.

It's almost like looking at before and after pictures and like the demise of poor Lord Nelson, is all the better for it.

Then there is the the possibility that the designers were influenced by the now legendary YouTube footage of two natives getting their comeuppance on Talbot Street.


"Aah here, leave it out. . ." may well have been the Eureka moment for the boffins over at the Blue Oval badge.

And of course don't forget the mantra "less is more".

A catchphrase coined by Moore Street traders to explain why you only got eight apples instead of the 10 on offer. ("Two were rotten so I trun dem out for ye") is the official response, I believe.

But skullduggery isn't what you'll find with this mini MPV.

This car is genuinely brilliant -- designed solely with young families in mind.

Pillars aside, the sliding doors on both sides make life for those with children so much easier.

Loading and unloading the little 'uns is a doddle, especially in cramped spaces like the supermarket.

With an aperture of more than 1.5 metres wide, you could strap two tots into their car seats from the one side.

Inside is even more versatile with Ford's unique flexible seating system with fold flat 60/40 split rear seats which is operated with "one-hand, one-motion" mechanism.

For more awkward loads, the front passenger seat can also be folded, creating a 2.4 metre-long flat floor from front to rear.

Built on the same chassis as the Fiesta, the layout of the dash is quite similar even with the elevated driving position (12 cms taller) and the build quality is so good it wouldn't feel out of place in a more expensive model.

Take the seatbelts for example, which are cleverly stowed away in the side of the front seats and are easy to access, as is the vast array of large cubby holes and storage compartments peppered around the cabin.

She's loaded with state of the art gadgets too, like the Sony audio system, colour rear view camera, electronic temperature control and the SYNC infotainment system.

This space-age gizmo links your phone to the onboard voice control system via Bluetooth which will then take commands from you and even read out text messages. Linked to the SYNC is the award-winning new Emergency Assistance feature which is designed to call the local emergency services operator in the event of an accident.

Capable of communicating in more than 30 countries and in the correct language, the GPS locator will make an SOS call giving your current position should you need it.

Drive-wise, the three cylinder, 1.0 litre EcoBoost engine was simply divine and the 118bhp unit in Tax Band A (€200 annual duty) and had more than enough grunt to handle city streets while holding its own on the motorway. It's also returning 57 mpg which is diesel-like consumption.

The Ford B-Max range starts at €19,821.