By Ken Fletcher

FORD IS really driving the benefits of its little three-cylinder miracle engine, the 1.0-litre EcoBoost and while I have been unimpressed with the pounding you have to give it in the likes of the Focus, I was really impressed with it in the Fiesta-based mini-MPV B-Max model I've driven recently.

Delivered to me in what has become a Ford-fad of colour-schemed editions – this was the Silver Edition – its certainly looked like a smart wee operator, with its main body in silver, with black wheels and mirror covers.

So, the big question for me was, would the 1.0-litre be as wheezy in this as it was in some of the larger models from the Ford stable? Not a bit of it, but then, this version has been tuned to a rated 138bhp – making it the most powerful of the three-cylinder units (the others are 99bhp and 128bhp) and certainly a vast improvement on the pedestrian 89bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine and the 104bhp 1.6 diesel.

And while this little star of an engine might be tweaked to the max (pardon the pun), there's not much evidence of this while you are driving it. It is an exceptionally quite little motor and more fun that I thought any mini-MPV could ever be, thanks mainly to the EcoBoost technology and the sharp, Fiesta-like handling.

And, it certainly didn't feel as slow as the 0-62mph claimed time of more than 10 seconds. While it might physically achieve that, it didn't feel like it, which is a little trick that a lot of manufacturers would aspire to.

But mini-MPVs are designed with families in mind and Ford penchant for sliding rear doors on all of its MPV ranges is testament to that dogma. These really make getting in and out of the rear seats and loading stuff into them a lot easier than the usual hinged doors.

The downside is, though, that for non-powered closing versions (as tested), it can require quite a bit of effort to close them – a bit of work require here Mr Ford.

While it is based on the Fiesta chassis, the MPV element adds more than four extra inches to the bodyshell. For busy families, that means there’s 318 litres of luggage space behind the rear seats. Put them down and this increases to more than 1380 litres and loading the car is easy, given its inherent low sill height.

Four trim levels are available Studio, Zetec (as tested in Silver Edition guise), Titanium and Titanium X trims. Even entry-level models get DAB radio, powered mirrors and all electric windows, while Zetecs get alloys air-conditioning and that frosty morning boon, a heated windscreen.

Further up the food chain there's cruise and climate control, automatic headlamps and folding mirrors and the Titanium X-spec' gets a panoramic glass roof, part leather, heated seats and keyless entry.

One bugbear was the small 'infotainment' screen, which is just 4.2-inches and rather far away to be much use. My far sight is terrific ... but not that good!

The price of the model tested was £17,595.