Ford Tourneo Connect review
Ford’s alliance with VW bears fruit with the Tourneo Connect MPV offering practicality, flexibility and excellent value for money
It might be a rebadged VW Caddy, but Ford’s Tourneo Connect van-based MPV offers the practicality and flexibility an SUV can only dream of. It even comes with the option of two wheelbases and either five- or seven-seats.
Not only is it cheaper to buy than the VW Caddy, the Tourneo Connect also offers better value for money, with more kit fitted as standard. So while Caddy buyers have to pay extra for something like a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system, it’s fitted as standard to all versions of the Tourneo Connect.
Five- and seven-seat MPVs might be a dying breed, but the Tourneo Connect is proof that the people carrier still has a place. There’s even an SUV-inspired Active trim, if you want the styling of a crossover with the practicality of an MPV.
About the Ford Tourneo Connect
In common with the previous generations of this practical MPV, the Ford Tourneo Connect is essentially a van with back seats and rear windows instead of a load area. But that’s where the similarities end, because the Tourneo Connect is no longer based on a Ford van.
Instead, like its commercial vehicle cousin the Ford Transit Connect, it’s a rebadged version of the VW Caddy, which in-turn shares a platform with the VW Golf. There are two models to choose from: the standard Tourneo Connect with five seats and Grand Tourneo Connect seven-seater. Both are available with a longer wheelbase.
With customer demand for MPVs having slowed, many have slipped from price lists and the remaining options like the Ford Tourneo Connect have fewer direct rivals. The platform-sharing VW Caddy is the most obvious competitor, but the Ford also faces the challenge of the Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Rifter and Vauxhall Combo Life that share a common Stellantis group platform and also have equivalent compact van versions. Then there’s the Dacia Jogger, a seven-seater with a bargain price, and available with fuel-saving hybrid technology.
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There are currently two trim levels: Titanium and Active, and both are available on the Tourneo and Grand Tourneo. Standard features on the Titanium model include 16-inch alloy wheels, a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, heated driver and passenger seats, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, rear privacy glass, air conditioning, silver roof rails and a suite of driver assistance systems. We think it’s the best value trim choice in the Tourneo Connect range.
The Active models have a more rugged look, headlined by 17-inch painted alloy wheels and a unique front bumper design with a honeycomb grille and pseudo skid plate, wheel arch mouldings, and scuff plates. There’s also an interior overhaul, complete with ‘Nordic Blue’ stitching. An optional X Pack features LED headlights with automatic high beam, rear-view camera and dual-zone climate control.
There’s a choice of two engines, both of which are shared with the Caddy. Although the 1.5-litre petrol is badged EcoBoost and the 2.0-litre diesel is called EcoBlue, they’re identical to VW’s familiar TSI and TDI four-cylinder engines. Both come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with a seven-speed automatic available as an option.
Prices start from just over £29,000 for a short-wheelbase (L1) Tourneo Connect with five seats, rising to a little over £32,000 for a long-wheelbase (L2) Grand Tourneo Connect with seven seats. That makes this one of the most affordable seven-seat family cars on the market, being on a par with the Berlingo, Rifter, and Combo Life. However, the latest Duster manages to undercut it by several thousand, even if it doesn’t offer the same amount of interior space and the Tourneo Connect’s five-star EuroNCAP safety rating.
Engines, performance & drive
The Tourneo Connect is based on VW’s MQB platform, which is good news from a ride and handling perspective. It means that, despite the MPV’s commercial origins, it doesn’t feel like a van when you’re behind the wheel.
The steering is as precise as the Golf that the Tourneo Connect shares many parts with, providing just the right amount of weight as speeds increase on B-roads to inspire confidence. The suspension is taught enough that it does a great job of controlling body lean in bends, which is all the more impressive when considering the car’s height. The ride quality remains supple, even if you choose the Active and its larger 17-inch wheels.
We tested the longest (and heaviest) Grand Tourneo Connect with the 112bhp 1.5 EcoBoost petrol engine and six-speed manual, and the 120bhp 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engine and seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The 1.5 petrol does a remarkably good job of motivating the Tourneo Connect to keep up with traffic in town, but you’ll need to rev it out just like the petrol-powered Jogger beyond the city limits, and especially to get up to motorway speeds. The Tourneo Connect has a much slicker manual gearshift and its four-cylinder engine isn’t as thrummy as the three-cylinder in the Jogger, so keeping the Ford on the boil is not a hassle.
Thanks to a healthy 320Nm of torque, the diesel engine has all the punch you’ll need to get you up to speed, even with a full load. The gearbox’s changes are swift and contribute to a relaxed driving experience, so a diesel engine and automatic transmission would be our recommendation for a would-be Tourneo Connect owner.
0-62mph acceleration and top speed
The diesel engine in the Tourneo Connect is a reminder that diesel still has a place in the right setting. With a 0-62mph time of 11.2 seconds and a top speed of 106mph (104mph in the automatic), performance is best described as ‘leisurely’, but strong torque means plenty of pulling power to get up to speed, even with six passengers and their associated luggage.
The 1.5 petrol with less power and torque than the 2.0-litre diesel means the 0-62mph time takes longer, at 12.4 seconds, and that’s without a load of people aboard. The manual and automatic cars have a top speed of 106mph and 104mph, respectively.
As with any petrol versus diesel debate, if most of your time is spent driving the children to school and nipping to the shops, the 1.5 EcoBoost makes the most sense. On the other hand, if you’re going to spend your days pounding the motorways of Britain and the weekends loaded with children and their kit, the 2.0 EcoBlue is the one to choose.
MPG, CO2 & running costs
Unlike the Berlingo, Rifter and Combo Life, the Tourneo Connect isn’t available as an electric MPV; you can’t even get one with a mild-hybrid or hybrid powertrain like the Jogger. This means that company car drivers will likely pay more to run the Tourneo Connect than these rivals due to higher emissions. The CO2 emissions for the Tourneo Connect range from 128g/km to 150g/km, which does compare well with a typical large SUV, the only sort of vehicle offering something close to the interior space this Ford has.
The 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel offers the best fuel economy, managing an impressive 57.6mpg on the official WLTP cycle in short-wheelbase Tourneo Connect form. This drops to 56.5mpg in the seven-seat Grand Tourneo Connect.
Even the 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol manages a respectable 44.1mpg in the Tourneo Connect and 42.8mpg in the Grand Tourneo.
Insurance groups for the Tourneo Connect start from 11 for the 1.5 EcoBoost Active to 13 for the 2.0 EcoBlue Active Grand Tourneo.
The Caddy is cheaper to insure because it is available with a less powerful 101bhp 2.0-litre diesel, so it starts in group 9, while the 120bhp diesel is in group 12.
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We don’t have the depreciation figures for the Tourneo Connect, but because of their unfashionable status, five- and seven-seat MPVs are not particularly good at retaining their value. Due to the brand power of the Volkswagen badge, we predict that the Caddy is likely to hold its value better over time compared with the Ford.
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Interior, design & technology
There’s no hiding the Ford Tourneo Connect’s van-based origins, which isn’t necessarily bad if you want to stand out in a car park filled with SUVs. Ford has done an excellent job of disguising its VW roots at the front, but in profile and at the back, it looks just like a Caddy.
It’s a similar story on the inside, with a dashboard layout lifted directly from the VW. It works well in terms of ease-of-use, but the absence of soft-touch materials and a rather gloomy colour palette let the side down, especially when compared with Flair XTR versions of Berlingo with accents of green and orange (trust us, it does work) or the Rifter in posh GT trim. The key touchpoints feel fine, but the quality of the plastics on the doors and lower sections of the interior isn’t up to the standards you’d expect in a traditional family vehicle or SUV.
On the plus side, the Active trim looks more interesting with more rugged exterior styling, larger alloy wheels and seats finished in Arctic Glacier fabric with blue contrast stitching.
Frozen White is the only no-cost colour option; you’ll pay £180 for the other solid colours, Lava Red and Comet Grey. The Tourneo Connect looks more appealing in metallic paint (a £684 option), especially Boundless Blue, which works particularly well on the Active trim.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The standard 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system in the Tourneo Connect is reserved for the options list on the VW Caddy. That’s the good news. The bad news is it features the VW’s frustrating touch-sensitive climate and volume controls, which means it’s not the most straightforward system to use, even if the graphics and responses to your inputs are sharp.
A 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster panel is available as an option. The desired information can be selected via the steering wheel-mounted buttons. We particularly like that you can set it up so the sat-nav map is right in front of the driver.
Practicality, comfort & boot space
Ford calls the Tourneo Connect a Multi-Activity Vehicle, which is marketing speak for a conventional MPV or people carrier. You may have five seats or optionally seven-seats, in either short-wheelbase Tourneo Connect, or long-wheelbase Grand Tourneo Connect configurations.
The huge sliding doors give excellent access to the spacious cabin, where you’ll find masses of legroom and headroom in the back. Small children can stand on the back seats and still not reach the roof lining!
The short-wheelbase Tourneo Connect measures 4,500mm in length, 2,100 wide (including door mirrors), and has a maximum height of 1,833mm (including roof rails). The Active is 2mm taller and 15mm longer due to the larger wheels and revised bumper. As a comparison, the Citroen Berlingo M is shorter at 4,403mm.
The long-wheelbase Grand Tourneo Connect is the same height and width, but the length increases to 4,853mm (4,868mm for the Active).
Leg room, head room & passenger space
Access to the third row in the seven-seat versions is a little tricky; to get there, you pull a black strap to fold the back of the seat onto the base, then a red strap to fold it forward. The resulting gap is large enough for children and adults to get through. Some larger SUVs, such as the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento, have a much more elegant solution that tilts the seat before it slides forward with just the press of one button.
Once there, there’s plenty of space for adults – certainly more than you’ll find in most seven-seat SUVs – but it’d be worth buying the long-wheelbase Grand Tourneo Connect if you expect to use these seats more often than not. That’s because it allows the rear seats to be pushed farther back, freeing up more legroom.
Boot space is excellent in five-seat mode, regardless of whether you go for the L1 or L2 model. There's a van-like 1,213 litres of luggage capacity in the L1 model, extending to 1,720 litres in the L2. Folding down the second row of seats increases these figures to 2,556 litres and 3,105 litres, respectively.
The load length figures are even more impressive, with the L2 offering 2,265mm behind the first row, 1,452mm behind the second row, and 629mm behind the third. These figures drop to 1,913mm, 1,100mm and 317mm in the L1 version, respectively.
If we were to offer some criticisms, it is that the rear seats don’t have a clever mechanism to fold flat into the floor, leaving a somewhat awkward step when loading longer items in the back. Also, the rear tailgate is huge, which could make it awkward to open in a tight parking space. There is an optional electric tailgate to take away the burden of opening and closing it, but what it really needs is the separate opening of the glass window you’ll find in the Berlingo, Rifter and Combo Life, which offers much easier access in such situations.
At least the loading lip is very low, making it easy to put things, or the family pet, into the boot.
Reliability & safety
Neither the Ford Tourneo Connect nor the VW Caddy appeared in our Driver Power 2023 new car survey, but Ford finished a disappointing 28th out of 32 brands on the list of best car manufacturers. VW fared little better, being ranked 27th. On the plus side, VW’s TDI and TSI engines are tried and tested units, while the Tourneo Connect’s interior feels solid and robust.
Euro NCAP awarded The Ford Tourneo Connect a maximum five-star safety rating in 2021. Standard equipment includes lane-keeping assistance, automatic emergency braking with cyclist and pedestrian detection, and forward collision warning. Unlike the VW Caddy, front and rear parking sensors are standard: you’ll pay extra for a rear-view camera and adaptive cruise control in the Ford, just like the VW.
The Tourneo Connect comes with Ford’s three-year/60,000-mile warranty, the same cover you’d get with a VW Caddy.
Servicing is required every two years/20,000 miles, and Ford offers a couple of service plans, with the price varying according to the length of the contract and options chosen. The Ford Protect Service Plan covers scheduled servicing and maintenance, while the Protect Wear & Tear Plans covers repairing or replacing items like brake pads, wiper blades and bulbs.