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Ford Tourneo Connect review (2013 onwards)
Ford Tourneo Connect: summary
The Connect is Ford's Citroen Berlingo rival a van-based people carrier aimed at families with active lifestyles who need as much space as possible. But is the Connect more than just a Transit with seats?
What: Ford Tourneo Connect
Where: Munich, Germany
Date: October 2013
Price: £14,245 - £18,895
Available: end of 2013
Key rivals: Citroen Berlingo, Fiat Doblo
We like: massively spacious, very practical, drives well
We don't like: it's still a van with windows, automatic gearbox is poor
Ford Tourneo Connect: first impressions
The Ford Tourneo Connect is a new addition to the companys packed MPV line-up. It's aimed at families with active lifestyles who crave as much space as possible for whom a regular people carrier just isnt practical enough.
Of three engines available, the 1.6 turbodiesel makes for a more relaxing drive
From the outside doubts start to form in your head about whether this is just a van with windows. That's not to say it's ugly, as the front end is very in keeping with the Ford image.
It is big and boxy, however, leaving the nagging question: will that make it difficult to drive?
Things improve inside. There's no doubt about it, this feels massive. But the seats are comfortable and the dash is very similar to that of the Focus, so the van with windows image starts to disappear. Thank goodness.
Ford Tourneo Connect: performance
Until recently, a small 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine wouldn't have powered anything bigger than a city car. But Ford's smallest EcoBoost engine is proving popular right across its range, and even in a vehicle this size it copes admirably. Hardly swift, 0-62mph takes 14.0 seconds but once up to speed it cruises at motorway velocities comfortably.
Even the bumpiest of roads wont faze the Tourneo Connect
If you want an automatic, the only option is the 150hp 1.6-litre EcoBoost turbo petrol, a combination we found disappointing. The engine was quite unrefined in this application, and the box struggled, hesitantly dropping down at the wrong times. Unless you really need an auto, the manual does the job a lot better.
Of three engines available, the 1.6 TDCi turbodiesel makes for a more relaxing drive. We tried the more powerful 115hp version and found it to be a very torquey unit thats more than up to the task of lugging around a people-packed Connect.
Ford Tourneo Connect: ride and handling
The rear seats are removable, leaving a van-rivalling 2,410 litres of load space
This is where the Connect really impresses. Even the bumpiest of roads wont faze it, meaning families who want a smooth long distance cruiser and little danger of children crying for sick bags should definitely consider the Connect. The light, airy feeling of the cabin helps in that regard, too.
Through bends, it's all too easy to forget the size of this thing. Roundabouts can be taken at speed without the Connect rolling about alarmingly, and only when it comes to parking do you have to remind yourself that you're not in a conventional family hatchback.
Ford Tourneo Connect: interior
We've already mentioned how big it feels inside - even the tallest of passengers will have no complaints. The feeling of airiness is aided by the massive panoramic roof, which is standard on the top-of-the-range Titanium model and available as an option on the mid-range Zetec trim. The plastics are typically Ford. They're solid and sturdy but will probably pick up a few scratches in day-to-day family life.
The 95hp turbodiesel will achieve a combined 61.4mpg. Impressive
The rear seats fold flat, and you can even take them out altogether, leaving a van-rivalling 2,410 litres of load space. Even with them up theres 1,029 litres of luggage capacity - plenty of room for the most active family. Practicality will be one of the top priorities for Connect buyers and in that regard it really does excel.
Ford's gone to town with little features inside, too, such as the 'curry' hooks in the passenger foot well to keep your takeaway upright. There are overhead lockers and even a stowage area hidden in the instrument cluster, complete with 12V socket.
Ford Tourneo Connect: economy and safety
With the optional stop-start function, the 95hp TDCi turbodiesel (likely to be Ford's biggest seller in the UK) will achieve a combined 61.4mpg. That's very impressive for a people carrier of this size.
The 1.0-litre EcoBoost claims 50.4mpg, but from experience with this engine, expect a significant reduction if you work it hard. You'd have to be pretty determined to get the 1.6 turbo automatic, as this sees fuel efficiency decrease to a disappointing 35.3mpg, and as the range-topping model costs £18,995.
Safety is an important factor for a family car, and again the Tourneo ticks all of the right boxes. Although the Connect is yet to be crash tested, the Transit Custom its based on scored a maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP trials.
Active city stop auto-brake technology comes as standard on the Titanium trim level and is available as an option on the Zetec grade - one of these new autonomous braking systems, this works at speeds up to 18mph to avoid or mitigate front-end impacts. It certainly worked when we tried it with Ford's crash-test dummies, but thankfully we didnt have to call on it on the road.
Ford Tourneo Connect: the MSN Cars verdict
If practicality is your absolute top requirement in a car, the Ford Tourneo Connect is a good choice. There aren't too many sacrifices - it drives very well and the figures stack up.
However, it is essentially a van with windows, so those who don't require maximum space may prefer a more-rounded people carrier - the Ford C-Max would be a fine place to start...
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