From £14,5158

The new Ford Tourneo Connect is a practical and flexible family MPV, but those looking for luxury will want to look elsewhere

The Ford Tourneo Connect is based on the Transit Connect van, with various extra trimmings designed to push it out of the commercial vehicle sector and into the competitive MPV market.

The five-seat version is called the Tourneo Connect, the larger Grand Tourneo Connect is available with seven seats. Both include rear-sliding doors and large-capacity boots with low loading heights to make carrying objects easier.

The Tourneo Connect is absolutely vast inside, and scores highly on the practicality front

There are three engine options available - a base-spec 99bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol, plus a 1.5-litre Duratorq diesel in either 99bhp or 118bhp guises.

Ford's five-seat option is likely to take the majority of sales, and slots in between the current C-Max and Grand C-Max in Ford's lineup. The rear row of seats split 60/40 and can either be tumbled forward or removed altogether - increasing the standard 1089 litres of storage space to 2410 litres.

The cabin is light, airy and spacious. The latter effect is enhanced by the addition of large windows in both models, plus the optional panoramic sunroof. In a bid to stop potential buyers being turned off by the commercial-vehicle connotations of the Tourneo badge, however, Ford is offering the Tourneo Connect with the same Zetec and Titanium trim levels offered on its conventional road cars.

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The not-so-entry-level Zetec comes with electric windows, Ford's Quickclear heated windscreeen, front foglights, and heated and folding wing mirrors, while inside there is DAB radio, air conditioning and a manually adjustable driver's seat, while the range-topping Titanium models add an arm rest for the driver, cruise control, rear-parking sensors, alloy wheels, panaromic glass roof and active city stop braking system.

Ford says it expects Zetec trim to be the biggest seller, and it's easy to see why. There's really no need for the luxuries that Titanium specification brings, and they go against the rough-and-ready ideal of the Tourneo Connect.

There's a range of engine options available, starting with the entry-level 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol, which produces 99bhp and 125lb ft of torque. We tried this engine in the smaller five-door Tourneo Connect, and although it did run out of puff fairly quickly the tiny EcoBoost still provides enough pull to get around.

It's loud under load, though, and we don't think we'd choose it for long journeys. Remember that even the five-door weighs 1420kg, while the seven-door puts that up to 1523kg - however the larger Tourneo Connect isn't available with this 1.0-litre engine, sensibly.

The diesel range is where Ford expects the majority of sales to go, and with a choice of either the 99bhp or 118bhp 1.5-litre guises, we'd recommend the lower-powered option. It's a very capable and refined engine, and is a good fit in both the five-seat and larger seven-seat Tourneo Connects. All 170lb ft of torque is released cleanly from a standard start, while there are decent economy and emissions advantages, too.

Engines are available with either a five or six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic gearbox. Both manual options are the pick of the bunch, presenting short, fast changes with well-spaced ratios. The auto option isn't bad by any means, but sometimes lingers at high revs before changing up.

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Whichever engine and gearbox configuration you choose, it's worth noting that to get the best out of the Ford Tourneo Connect's handling it needs to be carrying some weight. In the larger Tourneo this isn't as much of a problem, and indeed in this model even with only two people in the car it feels planted and handles relatively well.

With the same passengers in the five-door model, however, the Tourneo Connect feels skittish, with a secondary ride that fails to settle down at higher speeds.

Price wise, the five-seat Tourneo starts at £16,545 in entry-level Zetec trim and equipped with a 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine. For the predicted best-selling specification of the 1.5-litre Duratorq petrol in Zetec trim, expect to pay £17,695.

For the larger seven-seat Tourneo, prices start at £19,945 for a 1.5-litre Duratorq model in Zetec trim. Expect to pay £22,295 for the same model in Titanium trim, again tipped to be the biggest seller.

There's already plenty of competition for the Tourneo Connect in the MPV sector from the likes of the Citroën Berlingo, Volkswagen Caddy Life and Ford's own C-Max as well as the van-based Peugeot Partner Tepee.

The Tourneo Connect is a rough-and-ready option in this market, however. There aren't many premium materials in the cabin - Ford instead choosing easy-wipe plastics for much of the trim - but for a large family with plenty of objects to carry that's exactly what is needed.

Buyers looking for luxury should perhaps look elsewhere, but for a mostly cheap and cheerful family load-lugger, the Tourneo Connect does its job very well indeed.

Ford Tourneo Connect First drives