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Ford is branching out with the launch of the Tourneo Connect, adding a second line of practical people carriers that sit beside the more dynamic B-, C- and S-max models.
The Tourneo Connect joins the much larger Tourneo Transit Custom, with the possibility that a smaller Tourneo Courier could be added to the range in the future. The Connect is designed to offer lower-budget, but still not exactly cheap, practicality for drivers not looking for a people carrier to replicate the passenger car driving experience.
As the name suggests, this is basically a version of the new Transit Connect with seats and windows, and that's true all the way down to it getting Ford's 100,000-mile commercial vehicle warranty, rather than the 60,000-mile car offering. It is, though, set up along car trim level lines, going from Style to Zetec to Titanium, rather than the LCVs' Base, Trend and Limited.
The Tourneo Connect has two bodystyles, as does the commercial vehicle version, with the regular model predicted to take 86% of sales, while the seven-seat Grand Tourneo Connect (400mm longer and £2240 more expensive) could exceed its 14% share expectations if it finds favour in the business arena. Ford claims it is the only car in its sector to offer fold-flat seating across the five rearmost seats, although they don't disappear into the floor. There is, however, an impressive amount of third-row room if you slide the rearmost seats backwards. Obviously, that seriously impinges luggage space, but getting seven adults in comfortably is impressive for a vehicle this size.
On the five-seater sampled here, the rear row can be tilted forward or removed completely for a van-like 2400 litres of load-carrying capacity. With the rears in place the boot still manages 1029 litres, nearly double the space offered in a Mondeo Estate.
The sliding side doors are usefully practical for jumping in and out of the back, and the rear seats are 60:40 split rather than the three individual rear seats of slightly larger people carriers. But there's plenty of legroom, and up-front the cabin quality matches the latest Ford product, which means it's good, although you need to pay the extra £1740 over entry Style trim to add what are now basics on most cars:?air-conditioning and electric mirrors. All models get a DAB digital radio, but only the top-spec Titanium gets standard alloy wheels, betraying the function-over-form approach.
To drive, the Tourneo is as good as it needs to be, but given its CV roots it would be unfair to expect the kind of handling the 'Max' people carriers return. But that's not to say it's bad, and the Tourneo Connect is certainly more entertaining than a Citroen Berlingo Multispace. Diesel is expected to take around 90% of sales, with the most popular 95hp 1.6 unit driven here proving adequate rather than sparkling.
But overall, if practicality is the watchword and a boxier utilitarian vehicle is more useful than the curvier B- or C-max, then there could be a place for the Tourneo Connect in the UK market. It's much more than a van with windows, and is a pretty polished budget wagon. Though significantly more expensive than the equivalent, if a little more sparsely specified, Citroen Berlingo, it feels it.
Ford Tourneo Connect 1.6 TDCi 95 S/S
Model price range
Service, maintenance and repair
Vehicle Excise Duty
Cost per mile
BIK 20/40% per month
Boot space min/max
Not exciting but does the sensible things very well.