Sunday 12 February 2012

Road - To 'B' or not to 'B'

First official pictures of the new Ford B-MAX shows off the company’s ‘Easy Access Door System ‘ which does away with the fixed ‘B’ pillar allowing easier access to both front and rear seats.

Ford engineers spent several days observing drivers in their daily routine to understand exactly what customers really wanted in a compact car. The result is sliding rear doors coupled with traditional hinged front doors. The high-strength body-structure has been moved from the central body pillars and integrated directly into the doors to ensure excellent crash protection, particularly in the event of a side impact.

Special ultra-high-strength steels, which provide up to five times the strength of conventional mild steel, were used to create an extremely strong and stiff structure without adding extra weight.

Taking further advantage of the system, the rear seats and the front passenger seat can be folded flat to create a longer load platform, to accommodate everything from bicycles to flat-pack furniture, surfboards to exhaust systems.

The new Ford B-MAX will debut at Geneva next month and go on sale in Europe later in the year.

On a more cynical note, it does make me wonder if Ford is merely being too polite to say that they have created this concept in response to the fact that folk are getting bigger. Not so much taller, but wider. The pie-fed and Ben & Jerry’s stuffed, TV and sofa generation wouldn’t know what to do with a bicycle or a surfboard, and the only flat pack furniture they understand is when their sofa or bed collapses under them.

That may also be why every new generation of small car is bigger than the previous one. The original Ford Fiesta was 12 ft 3 inches long, 4 ft 4 inches high, 5 feet 1 inch wide and weighed 805 kgs, the latest Fiesta is 13 inches longer, 6 inches taller, 7 inches wider and weighs 1150 kgs . On the other hand it rides better, goes faster and sips less fuel!

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