Ford Tourneo Connect review
The Ford Tourneo Connect is an MPV that offers low running costs and loads of interior space
The all-new Ford Tourneo Connect is essentially a hard-working Transit Connect van with rear seats and windows. Now in its second generation, this practical MPV is less boxy than its predecessor and features many improvements aimed at boosting comfort and refinement – something that Ford hopes will distinguish it from rivals, including the Citroen Berlingo Multispace and Peugeot Partner Tepee.
Ford’s reputation for building sturdy and reliable commercial vehicles is second to none, while its range of stylish MPVs is also much lauded. And with the Ford Tourneo Connect the manufacturer has managed to combine the best of both of these things. The Tourneo Connect swaps the bulkheads and empty loading bay of the Transit Connect for a rear row of seats and lots of clever storage solutions – one of the advantages of being built on the van’s platform.
There’s a selection of strong 1.6-litre TDCi diesel engines (a choice of 94bhp and 113bhp), as well as the excellent 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol, which continues to impress - even in a bulkier model like this.
Our choice: Ford Tourneo Connect 1.6 TDCi Zetec
Styling is a small footnote in the MPV market, but the Ford is definitely the best of the offerings available.
You’d struggle to call the Connect stylish, and from a distance the MPV still looks very much like a small van. However, it is sleeker and more car-like than its rivals, with a number of details that try to disguise its commercial appearance. The likeness to cars like the C-MAX and S-MAX are instantly noticeable.
This approach is most noticeable at the front, where you’ll find the manufacturer’s trapezoidal grille flanked by large, elongated headlamps. Also, a short bonnet and long windscreen give the Ford a rakish look, but the huge, squared rear end is pure van. The generous exterior dimensions do have the benefit of optimising interior space, which is another area where the Ford scores highly.
It’s very light inside, especially with the panoramic roof that comes as standard in the top-of-the-range Titanium trim. But even in entry-level form, it’s still airy and more refined than its main rivals, featuring a soft-touch dashboard that apes the Fiesta supermini. Robust plastics are used throughout.
The Ford Tourneo Connect engine range includes two diesels and two petrols. The most popular option is expected to be the 94bhp version of the 1.6-litre Duratorq, which is paired with a five-speed manual. There’s a higher-powered diesel choice with 113bhp and a six-speed gearbox, too.
The petrol engines include the excellent 1.0-litre Ecoboost with 99bhp, and despite the car’s bulk the small engine never feels overwhelmed and feels surprisingly eager on the road, which is helped by the six-speed manual gearbox.
The final petrol engine is the 1.6-litre Ecoboost with 148bhp, but this comes with a sole six-speed auto ‘box - though this is best avoided. Despite this car’s connections to the likes of the Focus, it still suffers some of the issues that come with the high body shape such as rolling in the corners, but it’s still the most involving of anything available of its kind, plus there’s more grip and feedback from the controls.
As a result, the Ford is genuinely entertaining to drive. Only the firm low-speed ride betrays the car’s commercial vehicle roots.
In fact, if it wasn’t for wind noise coming from the large door mirrors and high windscreen, the Tourneo would be nearly as refined as the C-MAX on the motorway. In town, the steering is light – which helps with parking – but well weighted and accurate when cornering.
The Tourneo feels sturdy inside and out, and with its Transit underpinnings you can expect it to be extremely durable. Despite that, Ford scored rather badly in our 2014 Driver Power satisfaction survey, where it ranked in 25th place, with owners complaining about poor build quality and patchy reliability.
On the plus side, the Tourneo Connect comes with the same three-year/60,000-mile warranty and 12-year anti-corrosion guarantee as Ford’s more mainstream models.
Buyers can also relax when it comes to safety, because the Tourneo features all the life-saving equipment you’d expect. It boasts six airbags, stability control and Isofix child seat mountings in the rear. Even better, low-speed collision alert is standard on the Titanium and available as an option on Style and Zetec models.
The Tourneo Connect also comes with Ford’s three-year/100,000-mile warranty, which should help cover any problems over the initial stage of ownership.
The Tourneo’s van shape is a big bonus in terms of practicality, and its high roofline frees up lots of passenger and luggage space. Its boot can hold 913 litres of gear with the rear seats up – nearly twice that of the C-MAX – and 2,410 litres when they’re folded, which is slightly less than in the Mercedes Citan.
A low load lip takes the strain out of lifting heavy items into the boot. The load bay is well lit, with two side lights at parcel shelf height, as well as a ceiling-mounted light. The rear seats can be arranged in 16 different configurations, and can even be removed completely for extra room – although this is fiddly and the seats are heavy.
Two rear sliding doors make it easier for passengers to get in, and they have bags of head and legroom, while the wide rear bench will comfortably accommodate three adults. Like its rivals, only the outer two seats feature Isofix child seat anchorage points.
Elsewhere, there are plenty of cubbyholes, bins, door pockets and cup-holders. Overhead trays are also included, and above the speedometer there is even a secret compartment with 12V charging point that can be used to plug in a mobile phone away from prying eyes. Another neat addition is the conversation mirror, which allows those in the front to keep an eye on children in the back.
The lower-powered diesel engine is the most efficient in the Tourneo Connect range, and it's expected to be the most popular choice. Emissions are rated at 120g/km, while the claimed economy is 61.4mpg. However, the 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine isn’t far off this with emissions of 129g/km (though this is dependent on the specification you choose the car in) and fuel economy of 50.4mpg.
There’s a choice of the usual Style, Zetec and Titanium spec levels. Entry-level Style models get electric windows, DAB radio with USB and Bluetooth connectivity, 16-inch steel wheels and daytime running lights.
Zetec is expected to be the most popular specification, and is the one we’d recommend. This adds alloy wheels, electric windows for the rear passengers, heated windscreen, front foglights and the Ford Sync connectivity kit.