The Ford Tourneo Connect is essentially a tough multi-purpose commercial vehicle turned compact MPV. Due to its van DNA it’s rugged, spacious and the definition of true practicality; yet it has come as far as to offer the plush comforts you’d expect from modern MPVs. Is it the perfect compromise? Well it definitely presents a great case for itself.
The shape of the Ford Tourneo Connect clearly shows its commercial origin, and why shouldn’t it? There’s a reason that vans are shaped the way they are and that’s because they are practically focused. Despite that it still manages to look smart with its aesthetics that follow the lines of Ford‘s kinetic design language. The new Tourneo Connect also comes in longer Ford Grand Tourneo Connect for those needing 7 seats; and for those wanting something uber practical along the lines of a B-Max then Ford also offer the Ford Tourneo Courier.
The tailgate of the Ford Tourneo Connect is actively huge, which can be a bother when trying to open in a tight space. Although it does give you great shelter from the elements when up. There is certainly a great amount of room to play with – 1029ltrs to be exact which is almost double what you’d get in the more expensive Ford C-Max. It is however a bit less than you’d find in comparative van based MPV rivals such as the Berlingo Multispace. But hell it’s still absolutely loads of room! The low boot floor makes it so easy to put stuff in and there is a plethora of practical features and storage areas dotted around – as there is throughout the interior. If you do need more room (suppose you need to transport a field cannon) you can fold down the rear bench to give you a whole 2410ltrs – 410ltrs more than even Ford’s biggest MPV, the Galaxy! You can tumble the seats forward, fold down the front passenger seat for transporting longer items and even remove the back seats completely to essentially bring it back to being a proper van! It’s such a versatile vehicle.
The rear seating area in the Ford Tourneo Connect is accessible from rear van-like sliding doors. The space you find back here is really good with plenty of leg and shoulder room – plus enough headroom for someone wearing a Carmen Miranda headdress. The front cabin is very utilitarian yet holds a pretty car-like feel. The new Ford Tourneo Connect combines LCV virtues such as tough and durable build quality, high practicality and supportive seats with the kind of comfort and refinement factor you’d associate with car based MPVs. The central console is copied from the Focus and is a little busy with the buttons, but once you know it, it’s simple to operate. The built in infotainment screen is also a little on the small side, but it’s still usable. What’s great is the way the lower dash mounted gearstick that falls so organically to hand.
There’s actually a lot to like about having a van based people carrier such as the commanding driving position and huge glass area, but great handling dynamics is something you wouldn’t traditionally expect from such a vehicle. The thing to remember here is that the Ford Transit Connect (the van that the new Ford Tourneo Connect is based on) actually drives extremely well for what it is. Its underpinnings are shared with the likes of the Ford C-Max, Focus and Cougar – All Ford cars that are commended for their great handling. The result is a LCV based people carrier that’s sharp, responsive and enjoyable to drive around in. True, as with all vehicles of this kind its at its best with a payload, but it’s still good without. The body roll of the Ford Tourneo Connect is well controlled and the cornering is easily predictable. Being more passenger focused than its commercially bound brethren, it’s been engineered with ride and refinement in mind. The cabin is kept nicely quiet for the most part (although at speeds the wing mirrors to make a bit of wind noise) and the ride can soak up even the bumpiest roads well.
Under the bonnet there is a new unit in town to replace the clattery 1.8ltr TDCi diesel unit – a new 1.6ltr Duratorq TDCi unit which comes in either 95ps or 115ps forms. It brings with it greater efficiency and refinement from the old school engine. Out of the 2 outputs the 95ps will no doubt be the most popular model due to being more affordable while still marshalling 213Nm of torque to shift a 1200kg towing weight and handle a full car of passengers. The 115ps version heightens the torque to 270Nm and also gives you the option of the extra 6th gear speed for better motorway refinement. If you anticipate carrying lots then this might be a more valid option for you. There are petrol options available too – the most notable is Fords latest coupe – its award winning 1.0ltr Eco boost unit which presents a great balance of performance and efficiency. It also has the added effect of lightening the steering due to being a less weighty unit. Petrol power should only be considered if you don’t need to rely on the diesel torque for towing or carrying.
All in all, what’s the lowdown with the Ford Tourneo Connect? The new Ford Tourneo Connect is definitely an improvement from the previous standard of van based MPV on the market. It’s cosy, refined and drives well yet still maintains the ruggedness and super practical appeal from its commercial roots. Fair enough it’s currently a more niche choice, but that’s just down to lack of marketing. If you’re looking for a practical compact MPV then this is definitely one you should be considering over the more conventional likes of the Renault Scenic, Ford C-Max or Vauxhall Zafira.
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