From £17,9158
The Focus-based Ford Grand Tourneo Connect offers a competent and practical alternative to pricier seven-seat MPVs

What is it?

The Ford Grand Tourneo Connect is the latest entrant into the boxy, basic MPV market, thus far dominated by van-derived models such as the Citroën Berlingo Multispace

The Tourneo Connect is different, because it is based on the same platform as the Ford Focus, C-Max and Ford Kuga – even in Transit Connect panel van models.

Although the nameplate might sound new, it in fact replaces a slow-selling model that has been on sale since 2002. Last year that model sold just 80 units. Ford expects the new Tourneo Connect to shift some 3000 in a full year.

New for 2014 though is the Grand moniker. At around £2000 more than the standard Tourneo Connect, you get an extra 400mm in length. Like the standard Tourneo Connect, the Grand is a five seater and you’ll need to tick the £240 box on the options list for that third row.

Ford is upfront about who’ll buy it too. Although it expects to find favour with families seeking a little more practicality than the fractionally smaller Grand C-Max offers, it says a significant number will find their way onto the roads as taxis or converted to allow wheelchair access.

What's it like?

Nothing like you’d expect. Van-derived people carriers like the Berlingo Multispace and Fiat Doblo Family are generally crude and unsophisticated. The Ford Grand Tourneo Connect is neither of those things, thanks to that passenger car platform.

Mechanical refinement is class-leading, a point emphasised by a drive of the Transit Connect, which shorn of some of the Tourneo’s soundproofing was noisy and rattly on the move. Unsurprisingly it lacks the dynamic flair of the C-Max, with steering that isn’t as sharp and a chassis setup that prefers not to be rushed.

Perhaps that’s a good thing. Neither of the 1.6-litre Duratorq diesels offer sparkling performance. The high-output 114bhp version tested here (a 94bhp version is also offered – and expected to be the big seller) take more than 14 seconds to reach 62mph But, again, that refinement comes into play – while it takes a while to wind on the pace, its not like thrashing a van.

Given the target market, little of that will be as important as its ease of use. The dash is neatly designed, and although it is probably best described as hardwearing, there are plenty of passenger car touches and good equipment levels. There’s plenty of room, as you’d expect for driver and passenger, and thanks to good all-round visibility, is easy to thread through tight gaps. Ford says its commercial vehicles, and by extension this, are now designed “around the driver”, and it shows.

There are two sliding doors affording excellent access to the rear. Ford says the 839mm opening width is the best in class. Legroom and, predictably, headroom is excellent. The second row of seats splits and folds 60:40, but the lack of three individual seats seems slightly odd. Folding and replacing the seats isn’t as intuitive as Ford’s best MPVs, and requires a fair bit of manhandling.

To fold or stow either of the seats in the third row means the second row must be completely folded to gain access. Legroom in the third row isn’t especially generous, and it’s unlikely anyone will want to spend too long there.

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Boot space varies between a credible 322 litres in seven-seat mode to 1287 litres with five seats in place. With the second row folded, it rivals the Ford Galaxy for capacity with more than 2600 litres of room, and it is possible to carry objects up to three metres in length.

Running costs are slightly more than a Grand C-Max with the same powertrain: 130g/km and 58.9mpg plays 124g/km and 60.1mpg, but the Tourneo is far cheaper. Indeed, only the base Grand C-Max is priced below £20,000; all Grand Tourneo Connects, bar the top-spec model tested here are sub-£20k. And the Ford is fractionally more expensive than a seven-seat Berlingo, and will be worth more on the used market.

Should I buy one?

If you need the space and practicality, then yes. It is certainly the new class leader, offering hitherto unknown levels of refinement and dynamics. That perhaps says more about the quality of the Transit Connect on which it shares most of its DNA than it does about it as a passenger car.

Nevertheless, for those seeking an eminently practical way of transporting seven while keeping an eye on price, space and durability now have a new hero.

Ford Grand Tourneo Connect 1.6 TDCi 115PS Titanium 7-seat

Price £20,235; 0-62mph 14.1sec; Top speed 103mph; Economy 58.9mpg (combined); CO2 130g/km; Kerb weight 1521kg; Engine 4 cyls, in-line, turbodiesel; Power 114bhp at 3600rpm; Torque 210lb ft at 1750-2500rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

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RCT V 13 August 2014

A big "Thank You" . . .

Ah! . . . A big "Thank You", for the proper full road test in this week's magazine (issue dated 6 AUGUST 2014), of the Ford Grand Tourneo Connect. Very useful, and most pertinent for this reader. Whilst always of some interest, not all of us have ambitions to own and drive the vehicles that are usually tested from Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Aston-Martin, or Maserati. :)

(Note: If those readers who might be interested missed the issue dated 6 AUGUST 2014, the road test is also available on this forum).

CX 7 driver 25 February 2014

Looks smart in a van sort of way, but...!

This is sold as a family friendly car, which I am sure it could be, but the load area when the seats are folded looks a real mess! Surely it should have a flat floor without all those cavities to loose you tins of beans or toys into? Why do SO many manufacturers compromise the layout when you fold the seats....the list is endless. In the good old days of estate cars, you simply folded the seat squab forward and the backrest down to reveal a totally usable flat floor. Alright, if you want to use it as a van you can remove the seats altogether, but 9 times out of 10 you don't want to do that. Anyway they are heavy and cumbersome, and what do you do with them outside the DIY shed when you want to load your bargain bath or what-ever? You can't just put them in the house, garage or shed when you are miles from home! Take a look at the Chrysler Voyager as a well thought out load area where all the seats can be folded to form a cavernous flat floor space that is totally usable! I know that they score low on crash tests, but their space efficiency is beyond doubt a model of practicality! Why can't more do it? What we need surely is a flat can be done!
typos1 23 February 2014

Get your facts right Stuart -

Get your facts right Stuart - "Van-derived people carriers like the Berlingo Multispace and Fiat Doblo Family are generally crude and unsophisticated. The Ford Grand Tourneo Connect is neither of those things, thanks to that passenger car platform", BOTH of those vehicles are based on car platforms ! The Doblo on the Corsa/Punto/Mito platform (but with more advanced independant bi--link rear suspension) the Berlingo on PSA's platform 2. Come on, you get paid to write about cars, you aint doin ya job if you keep getting stuff wrong.

Funny, this has only just come out and already it needs an Aston Martin front grille, a bigger LCD screen and the dashboard de-buttoned, to match the Focus, Fiesta, Mondeo etc.