Ford Tourneo Connect

Ford Tourneo Connect
The new Ford Tourneo Connect, available in five-seat and seven-seat ‘Grand’ variants, is a practical and flexible family MPV

The Ford Tourneo Connect is based on the Transit Connect van, with various extra trimmings designed to push it out of the commercial vehicle sector and into the competitive MPV market.Both five and seven-seat models are available, and both include rear-sliding doors and large-capacity boots with low loading heights to make carrying objects easier.There are three engine options available – a base-spec 99bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder and 1.6-litre petrol, plus a 1.6-litre Duratorq diesel in either 94bhp or 113bhp guises.Ford’s five-seat option is likely to take the majority of sales, and slots in between the current C-Max and Grand C-Max in Ford’s lineup. The rear row of seats split 60/40 and can either be tumbled forward or removed altogether – increasing the standard 1089 litres of storage space to 2410 litres.The cabin is light, airy and spacious. The latter effect is enhanced by the addition of large windows in both models, plus the optional panoramic sunroof. In a bid to stop potential buyers being turned off by the commercial-vehicle connotations of the Tourneo badge, however, Ford is offering the Tourneo Connect with the same Style, Zetec and Titanium trim levels offered on its conventional road cars.All models in the range get an adjustable steering wheel, trip computer, DAB radio with USB and Bluetooth and 16-inch wheels as standard. Zetec trim adds air conditioning, a heated windscreen and front foglamps while top-spec Titanium trim comes with cornering lights, cruise control and dual-zone climate control.Ford says it expects Zetec trim to be the biggest seller, and it’s easy to see why. There’s really no need for the luxuries that Titanium specification brings, and they go against the rough-and-ready ideal of the Tourneo Connect.There’s a range of engine options available, starting with the entry-level 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol, which produces 99bhp and 125lb ft of torque. We tried this engine in the smaller five-door Tourneo Connect, and although it did run out of puff fairly quickly the tiny EcoBoost still provides enough pull to get around.It’s loud under load, though, and we don’t think we’d choose it for long journeys. Remember that even the five-door weighs 1420kg, while the seven-door puts that up to 1523kg – however the larger Tourneo Connect isn’t available with this 1.0-litre engine, sensibly.There’s also a higher-powered 1.6-litre petrol producing 148bhp and 177lb ft. The diesel range is where Ford expects the majority of sales to go, and in particular to the 1.6-litre Duratorq unit.It’s available in either 94bhp or 113bhp guises, but we’d recommend the lower-powered option. It’s a very capable and refined engine, and is a good fit in both the five-seat and larger seven-seat Tourneo Connects. All 170lb ft of torque is released cleanly from a standard start, while there are decent economy and emissions advantages, too.Engines are available with either a five or six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic gearbox. Both manual options are the pick of the bunch, presenting short, fast changes with well-spaced ratios. The auto option isn’t bad by any means, but sometimes lingers at high revs before changing up.Whichever engine and gearbox configuration you choose, it’s worth noting that to get the best out of the Ford Tourneo Connect’s handling it needs to be carrying some weight. In the larger Tourneo this isn’t as much of a problem, and indeed in this model even with only two people in the car it feels planted and handles relatively well.With the same passengers in the five-door model, however, the Tourneo Connect feels skittish, with a secondary ride that fails to settle down at higher speeds.Price wise, the five-seat Tourneo starts at £14,245 in entry-level Style trim and equipped with a 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine. For the predicted best-selling specification of the 1.6-litre Duratorq petrol in Zetec trim, expect to pay £16,395.For the larger seven-seat Tourneo, prices start at £16,985 for a 1.6-litre Duratorq model in Style trim. Expect to pay £18,635 for the same model in Zetec trim, again tipped to be the biggest seller.There’s already plenty of competition for the Tourneo Connect in the MPV sector from the likes of the Citroën Berlingo, Fiat Doblo and Ford’s own C-Max as well as the van-based Peugeot Partner Tepee.The Tourneo Connect is a rough-and-ready option in this market, however. There aren’t many premium materials in the cabin – Ford instead choosing easy-wipe plastics for much of the trim – but for a large family with plenty of objects to carry that’s exactly what is needed.Buyers looking for luxury should perhaps look elsewhere, but for a mostly cheap and cheerful family load-lugger, the Tourneo Connect does its job very well indeed.

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