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Winning pairof fab Fords 

FORD has many thoroughbreds in its UK stable and I sampled two models that plenty of motorists view as their favourites in back-to-back drives.

The B-Max has been around for some time now but it still manages to spring a surprise on some onlookers with its sliding rear doors.

Based on Ford’s top-selling Fiesta, this is one of the nicest looking small MPVs on the road.

And its performance and handling don’t disappoint either.

With prices starting at £13,095, there is a wide choice of models featuring petrol and diesel engines.

The test car was a top-of-the-range Titanium X powered by Ford’s super little three-cylinder 1-litre EcoBoost petrol engine.

Delivering 123bhp, this turbo unit provided plenty of power moving up and down the five-speed manual gearbox.

It’s capable of 117mph and was fairly smart out of the blocks with a zero to 62mph time of 11.2 seconds.

The B-Max was ideal in town traffic – and easy to park.

Ride comfort was better than expected on some rutted surfaces and road grip couldn’t be faulted on a journey taking in lots of winding roads.

During my time with the car my fuel consumption figure was 46mpg but official figures show it is capable of 57.7mpg combined, 47.2mpg urban and 67.3mpg extra urban.

Being a top spec model, the test car’s interior wasn’t short of quality features and included heated front and partial leather sports that were particularly comfortable.

The absence of a central B pillar and the sliding rear doors allow easy access for rear passengers or just dropping in your shopping bags.

The boot space of 316 litres – with its hidden compartment underneath where you can store valuables – can be increased to a flat loading 1,386 litres by folding down the split rear seats and even more for long loads with the front passenger seat folded down.

My test car was priced at £18,395 but came with cruise control, privacy glass, panorama roof with sunblind, Sony DAB radio/CD with Ford SYNC, lots of safety equipment and much more.

I enjoyed my time with the B-Max which, on top of good looks and handling, offers outstanding versatility and space for this size of MPV.

Next up was a car that was ideal for the snow, sleet, wind and rain conditions that marked its arrival.

This was Ford’s super Kuga – a mid-sized SUV – and again it was a top spec Titanium X model.

There were even more goodies on this than the smaller B-Max and also a standout extra.

The standard stuff included power panorama roof, Torino leather variable heated front seats, 10-way power driver seat, cruise control, Bi-Xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights, and Sony DAB radio/CD.

A power tailgate was also included but the £350 extra was the keyless opening with hands-free tailgate.

If your hands are full with parcels or bags, you simply kick your foot under the rear bumper and the boot opens.

Press the button at the top or swing your foot under again and it closes just as easily.

So, no shortage of gadgets on this model that had a price tag of £28,765 without extras.

What made it ideal for the wintry start to March in Scotland was Ford’s impressive all-wheel drive system.

This monitors conditions 20 times faster than it takes to blink, automatically read-justing the power split for best handling and traction.

And another clever piece of technology is Ford Curve Control that comes into play if you’ve taken the likes of a curved slip road too quickly.

Getting comfortable in the driver’s seat is easy thanks to the electronic controls and there is lots of head, leg and elbow room for driver, front passenger and three rear-seat passengers.

Boot space is adequate at 406 litres and this expands to 1,603 with rear seats folded.

With a 2-litre TDCI turbo 161bhp diesel engine under the bonnet there is no shortage of power in a car capable of 123mph and reaching 62mph in 9.9 seconds.

Fuel economy is impressive for this size of vehicle with a combined figure of 49.6mpg and a CO2 of 149g/km.

Ideal for long journeys, the Kuga cruised along the motorway quietly and smoothly with little wind or road noise.

Mid-range power was also good, going up and down a slick six-speed manual gearbox, and ride comfort was excellent.

Again, the interior trim and finish was of a high quality being a Titanium X spec, matching its stylish exterior.

Ford has a top-class fleet of vehicles and you won’t be taking a gamble if your pick is one of these excellent models.