The Ford Transit’s journey from a carrier of people to actual people-carrier has been a long one. For as long as there has been a Transit – and that’s easily as far back as anyone on Autocar can remember – there has been a variant equipped to carry passengers.
Although the Tourneo name was introduced in 1995, it was the launch of the original Tourneo Connect in 2002 that started Ford on the path towards a privately owned Transit product.
Although the ground had already been well softened by existing van-derived cars, such as the Citroën Berlingo — and the Ford remained a studiously commercial product — the model’s huge flexibility, natural robustness and value for money are all features bequeathed to its successor.
Of course, for decades, these were minibuses – the humblest workhorse of the people-shifting business. That hardly changed even with the introduction of the Tourneo nameplate in the mid-1990s. Early editions were eight or nine-seaters simply made a mite plusher than they were before.
However, that gentle evolution of comfort and quality has led inexorably to the fifth generation of the Transit and the proper introduction of the Grand Tourneo Connect at the utility end of the seven-seat MPV market; as standard it has five seats but for a small additional outlay you get an extra two.
There is obvious room for the Grand Tourneo Connect in the seven-seat market, too, since the S-Max, our favourite regular people-carrier, starts at £24k. The long-wheelbase Grand Tourneo starts at just £19k.
Of course, the S-Max drives like a car – rather a good one, in fact – but what about the Grand Tourneo? Well, let’s find out if the £5k saving offsets any apparent shortfall.