Ford: B-Max more practical than the Meriva
With the Ford Fiesta battling it out with the Vauxhall Corsa at the top of the UK sales charts and the larger, new Ford Focus taking on the Vauxhall Astra, the two manufacturers are used to competing in every aspect of the new car market.
But the introduction of new, five-seat compact people carriers has stepped up the competition with every aspect of the cars being compared.
Now Ford has claimed the 1.5-metre-wide opening to the back seats in the new Fiesta-based Ford B-Max MPV is over double that of the Vauxhall Meriva.
Ford says the extra space afforded by sliding doors - a rare occurrence on a small MPV - makes carrying larger loads 'more realistic', according to Ernst Reim, Chief Interior Designer of the B-Max.
"The door concept means you can load really large items, more than 2.3 meters long, through the side doors," he explained.
The design, which does away with the traditional B-pillar (the pillar usually found between the front and rear doors, uses a unique sliding door system to offer easier access to the rear seats is also designed to help people get into the car in cramped parking spaces.
The new Vauxhall Meriva was launched last year with its own unique take on the rear door system. The five-seat Meriva uses rear-opening rear passenger doors. This, says Vauxhall, creates a 'safe' loading area when all four doors are open.
This in turn helps parents help children into the car safety in the area between the doors. The doors also have locking systems to prevent them being opened when the car is moving.
Practicality and versatility are key to the burgeoning compact MPV market as manufacturers battle to offer more space for less money.
However, the Ford B-Max versus Vauxhall Meriva competition is more likely to be settled in overall ability, including driving dynamics, equipment and even design.
In terms of cost, Vauxhall Meriva prices start from £12,500 and Ford B-Max prices start from a similar level with entry-level models costing £12,305.