GENEVA – Ford is unveiling its dramatic new B-MAX vehicle at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, providing an early preview of the carmakers plans for the small car market.The B-MAX sports a unique new body design which eliminates the traditional B pillar and features twin rear sliding doors, this allows for easy access to the rear seats. With both front and rear doors open there is ample access to the interior, with a huge, clear aperture measuring over 1.5 metres wide. The new model has a layout similar to a small MPV, though appears much more spacious than its actual size will have you believe courtesy of its sliding doors and panoramic glass roof.Stephen Odell, CEO Ford Europe, says that the new B-Max is aimed at urban drivers and brings something new to the small car market with its unique design and layout.“The new B-MAX signals that Ford is ready to bring the same bold thinking to the small car market. With its unique door format and dynamic design, the B-MAX sends a strong message that customers looking for a compact, stylish and versatile vehicle will soon have an exciting new choice,” said Odell.SMALL CAR MARKETThe new B-Max is based on Ford’s global B-car platform and is shared with the successful new Fiesta. In terms of dimensions, the new model is slightly more than four metres in length (11 cm longer than the Fiesta five-door), and is 32 cm shorter than the new C-MAX.Ford tips its new B-MAX to appeal to the growing demand for smaller vehicles especially in congested urban areas.Having folded the 60/40 split rear seats and the front passenger seat to create an extensive flat load floor, the side access is particularly convenient to load bulky items such as furniture or even a bicycle.With the front passenger seat folded, the interior is capable of fitting longer loads measuring up to 2.35 metres in length.Sitting 11cm taller than Fiesta, the B-MAX also provides extremely generous accommodation for its occupants. Drivers benefit from a higher ‘command’ seating position, while rear seat legroom and headroom is significantly improved.In developing the B-MAX’s unique integrated B-pillar body design for production, Ford engineers have ensured that it delivers the same outstanding levels of crash protection as Ford products with a more conventional structure.To deliver the required safety in side impacts, the structure of both front and rear doors has been significantly strengthened – with ultra-high-strength Boron steel in key load-bearing areas – so that the door frames work together to absorb energy like a ‘virtual B pillar’.Special safety interlocks and reinforced latch mechanisms ensure that the doors remain firmly fixed to the roof and floor structure during an impact, and enable the front and rear doors to act together to protect the occupants. EASY ACCESS: The rear sliding doors enable easy access and loading of bulking items into the B-Max interior. The exterior design of the B-MAX shows how Ford’s kinetic design language can be applied to its unique new vehicle format, creating a compact, sporty and stylish car with its own distinctive character.The vehicle’s striking front-end features a new interpretation of Ford’s signature trapezoidal grille. Spacious premium interiorThe cabin retains the dynamic, sporty feel of Ford’s small-car interiors, but introduces the more premium character and decorative elements from the larger C-MAX.Driver controls are based on Ford’s HMI (Human Machine Interface) approach, with a large six-inch touch screen display mounted in the centre of the upper IP, above the much-acclaimed mobile-phone style integrated control panel.NEW ENGINEUnder the hood the new model is powered by a low-CO2 powertrain, featuring a three-cylinder 1.0-litre Ford EcoBoost petrol engine equipped with the a Start-Stop system.Like the 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ford EcoBoost engines, which have recently been launched in the carmakers European models, the 1.0-litre unit combines direct fuel injection, turbocharging and twin independent variable cam timing to achieve reductions in fuel-consumption and CO2 emissions.Designed to replace conventional four-cylinder petrol engines, the three-cylinder EcoBoost engine is undergoing final development prior to its production launch.Although the Ford B-MAX will be revealed as a concept model, reports say it will be a model that is likely to join the Ford European line-up sometime in 2013.