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Ford Transit Connect: Test Drive Review

Date: 15 June 2009   |   Author: Neil McIntee

Ford Transit Connect
Category: Light van
Price (ex VAT): £15,200
Key rival: Vauxhall Combo

Ford has restyled the Transit Connect in a way that echoes the design of the latest models in the company's passenger car line-up.

The front bumper and grille have been reshaped and the company's latest offering gets new front and rear lights too. There's a reworked cab interior as well, which makes for an attractive working environment, with a dashboard influenced by the one found in the S-max car.

Greater emphasis has been placed on driver safety. Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) is now fitted as standard complete with Roll Over Mitigation and Roll Movement Intervention, while ABS, Hydraulic Brake Assist and Active Yaw Control are also included. Traction Control and Hill Launch Assist are further features, and the brake hardware has been upgraded, too.

The Connect can now also be ordered with a full satellite navigation system.

We tested a long-wheelbase LCV in Trend spec, which is the middle of the three trim levels (the others being entry-level and Limited), with the 110PS version of the 1.8-litre TDCi Duratorq diesel married to a five-speed gearbox.

We've always liked the solidly built, no-nonsense Connect, and with no major mechanical changes the latest version is just as good as its predecessor.

It handles remarkably well, with plenty of feedback from the sensibly weighted steering. There's no vagueness at all. Swing the wheel in the direction you want to head and that's exactly where the van goes.

The ride is good, too; our van happily soaked up whatever the Bavarian roads could throw at us.

Performance isn't an issue, either. Even with a 500kg test load in the 4.4cu/m load bay our vehicle pulled strongly at all speeds, with plenty of lugging power at the bottom end of the rev band.

Wind and engine noise were both well-suppressed, which meant we had no trouble hearing the almost sporty growl from the exhaust when the Connect accelerated.

Inside, the standard swivelling steel mesh bulkhead is not a new idea, but is none the worse for that. It allows you to fold down the passenger seat, thus extending the cargo bed. The section of bulkhead behind the passenger seat can then be unlatched, swung through 90° and latched into place again. Doing so creates a partition between the driver and passenger seats and prevents whatever has been piled onto the horizontal passenger seat back from tumbling into the driver's lap.

Also available with 75PS and 90PS versions of the 1.8-litre, and with a gross payload capacity of up to 900kg, the revamped Connect goes on sale in the autumn.

While the changes cannot be described as radical, Ford has done enough to refresh it and ensure that it remains a strong contender in the marketplace. In our view it remains a winner; no question about it.

Ford Transit Connect 1.8 TDCi 110 LWB Trend
Price (ex VAT)£15,200
Model price range£12,950-£15,800
Service interval15,000 miles
Insurancegroup 4
Load length1830mm
Load width (min/max)1226/1492mm
Load bay height1364mm
Loading height601mm
Gross payload902kg
Cargo volume6.5cu/m
Engine size/power1753cc/110PS
On saleJune 2009
VerdictChanges aren’t radical
but remains a winner
in our view


Changes aren’t radical but remains a winner in our view