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Ford B-Max 1.6 TDCi and Opel Meriva 1.6 CDTI: Small in nature, big in space

Achim Hartmann
Ford B-Max 1.6 TDCi and Opel Meriva 1.6 CDTI
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Because you shouldn't fall into the house with the door straight away, we leave it closed for now and look at the small vans from the outside. Despite the similar basic shape, the Meriva looks longer and wider than the Ford B -Max and it is, extends to 2.64 meters between the axles, while the Ford with the wheelbase of the Fiesta (2nd , 49 m) is content on which it is based. That was already the case with its predecessor, the Fusion, which, as a slightly taller compact car with a slightly raised seating position, found many friends and buyers not only among more mature vintages.

Ford B-Max with 318 liters of luggage space

In principle, the Ford B-Max True to this concept, but offers more variability thanks to an asymmetrically divided rear bench with an automatically plunging seat when the backrest is folded forward. If you now lock the loading floor in the higher position, an almost level surface is created on which even surfboards and grandfather clocks can be transported after folding down the passenger backrest. At 318 liters, the basic trunk is rather tight, and the maximum volume (1,386 liters) is not exactly generous.

In any case, the original door concept, which the Nissan Prairie already had in the 80s, deserves more attention -Years, but currently nowhere else to be found. Because between the front folding and rear sliding doors, the Ford B-Max on a fixed center post to allow easier entry. However, this only works when both portals are open, because the rear hatch alone is quite narrow.

The Meriva, on the other hand, relies on rear-hinged rear doors that swivel open comfortably and facilitate both loading and assembling child seats . But as soon as passengers in both rows want to get in or out at the same time, it can get tight between the two gates. A special safety lock prevents opening while driving.

More space in the Opel

Also with the interior Design, Opel has invested a lot of brains: The threeThe rear seats can be pushed back and forth individually, the narrower middle section can be lowered and the two outer ones can be moved inwards. So the five-seater becomes a comfortable four-seater with considerable leg and shoulder room. In the tested style version, there is even a sliding center console with armrests and a 12-volt socket for rear infotainment.

However, the occupants hardly benefit from the Meriva's larger external dimensions, only the trunk ( 400 to 1,500 liters) and the payload (506 instead of 433 kg) offer more reserves. The same applies to the permitted tensile load, because trailers can weigh twice as much here as with the Ford B-Max (1,200 instead of 575 kg). On the other hand, the Opel itself is 172 kg heavier, which is noticeable in a positive way.

With the finer suspension comfort, for example, and the pleasantly solid, stiff body, which does not show any twisting or rattling noises even on bad slopes. Or in the respectable material quality down to the less obvious areas. Or the large, well-formed seats, which, especially in the optional ergonomic version, do not cause annoyance and tension even on long journeys.

Ford B-Max provides driving pleasure

All of this succeeds Ford B-Max less convincing - just like its air conditioning system to efficiently cool the interior in summer and to keep the windows free from fogging. One of the other weak points is the complicated operation of the CD radio, which incidentally costs 1,200 euros extra even with the upscale Titanium equipment. Then USB and Bluetooth are included, but that also applies to the new IntelliLink infotainment from Opel for only 370 euros.

In addition to the connection of smartphones and external music or image sources, the system also enables the Use of Internet services including voice input. A navigation function is available for a further 500 (Ford B-Max 430) euros, with the Meriva display showing the route more clearly and in greater detail. Because of their poor clarity, we recommend equipping both of them with a rear-view camera and parking beeper all around.

However, the Ford B-Max scores with its smaller dimensions when maneuvering, and its relative lightness also makes itself felt on winding country roads at the latest noticeable in a greater light footedness. With its direct, responsive steering and spontaneous reactions through to the slightly jostling rear, it conveys more driving fun than the somewhat spongy, sluggish Meriva, which is also rigorously slowed down by its ESP. On the other hand, it needs a good two meters more, both empty and loaded, to come to a standstill from 100 km /h.

Ford B-Max with consumption advantage

After all, its weight handicap does not help performance, because despite the same cubic capacity and identical performance(95 PS) the Opel diesel is noticeably more powerful. Instead of 215 Nm at 1,750 revolutions, its 280 Nm are already available at 1,500 tours, which gives it clear advantages in terms of both acceleration and pulling power in fifth gear. Even in the long-geared sixth, which is missing in the Ford B-Max, it sprints from 80 to 120 km /h even faster than its Cologne competitor in the fifth gear.

The hoped-for reduction in consumption through the additional overdrive and the The standard start-stop function is not available. Although both are the same in the standard cycle of 4.0 l /100 km, the Meriva approves half a liter more per 100 km (6.5 instead of 6.0) in everyday life. It also reacts less lively to gas commands, sounds a bit boomy and cannot be switched as easily and precisely as the Ford B-Max from the wrist, but it already meets the Euro 6 emissions standard -A_-headline v-A_-headline__article - beta '> Vans at eye level

Apart from such differences, you are much more relaxed in both vans with the 1.6-liter diesel engines, at least when loaded and on long journeys than with comparable gasoline-powered cars, albeit at significantly higher cost prices. For example, the 1.6 TDCi in the Ford B-Max costs a whopping 2,300 euros more than the 1.4 naturally aspirated engine with 90 hp, the Meriva 1.6 CDTI surcharge for the 1.4 with 100 hp and start-stop is even 2,595 euros. You have to drive for a long time until the lower consumption compensates for the higher purchase and fixed costs.

In the end, the balance of the two rivals is largely balanced, but more in total than in detail. The Ford B-Max always deserves preference when it is primarily an agile, handy and economical small car with more space and variability. But when a real van with solid comfort, quality and suitability for travel is required, the flexible, spacious Opel proves to be a more convincing alternative.

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