Doors. They're emerging as theme for the 2011 Geneva motor show. The Mini Rocketman concept's swing-out front doors and drawer bootlid. And these. The Ford B-Max concept has sliding rear doors and no centre pillar, so it's a clear opening or the whole side of the car.
Yeah well, concept cars often have strange doors. Thing is, the Ford's are for real. This arrangement will be used exactly as is on a new small MPV on sale in just over a year.
The advantages, they're saying, are that you can wheel a bike or a flatpack chest in there through a far bigger aperture than any similar small car. That means the clap-hands Meriva. And both the front and rear doors open independently.
The rest of the B-Max styling and interior is pretty much production ready. Except for a few flashes of chrome and the fancy LED lighting anyway. And the 18in wheels. And the lack of door handles. And...
You don't need us to tell you the B-Max is aimed at the same sort of people who'd buy a C-Max but can manage with something smaller. And want something cheaper. The B-Max is slightly longer than a Fiesta but uses the same chassis.
There's news under the bonnet too: a turbocharged three-cylinder Ecoboost 1.0-litre petrol engine, which should be good for about 100bhp. It turns up in the Focus later this year and is rolled out across most of the Ford range soon after, replacing the present 1.6. It'll have more torque and better economy.