What is it?
This is Ford’s entry-level engine derivative of its Tourneo Connect utility MPV. And it’s a car that’s part of a sudden explosion of boxy-looking Fords on UK roads – a phenomenon that probably won’t have escaped your attention. All of them look a bit like the new Transit, and that isn’t by coincidence. There is now a Transit family of light commercial vehicles, ranging from the Fiesta-based Transit Courier at the bottom of the pyramid up to the full-sized Transit ‘jumbo’ at the top.
The two medium-sized vans between those extremes – the Connect and the Custom – both have ‘Tourneo’-branded passenger car doubles, and it’s the smaller of the two we’re interested in here. A rival to the Fiat Doblo and Citroen Berlingo, the Tourneo Connect comes in regular five- or ‘Grand’ seven-seat versions, and is based on Ford’s ‘Global C’ platform – just like the current Focus.
Even in standard five-seat form, this is a full-sized family car that’s more practical in many ways than even an S-Max MPV. But it’s priced like a B-Max; from little more than £14k.
What's it like?
Being totally slab-sided and square-cornered, the Connect offers huge cabin space. Passenger room is on a par with a large executive saloon in most respects, but headroom is even more abundant than that. Sliding rear doors make accessing the back seats easier in tight spaces; the front passenger seatback folds to accommodate extra-long loads.
The only disappointment is that the back seats don’t slide fore and aft – but they do tumble forwards to clear the way for really bulky loads. With everything folded, this car can carry 2410 litres of luggage. ‘Cargo’, more likely. It’s huge – the kind of car to just throw things into. Bikes, dogs, lounge furniture – you name it.
The compromises you’ll have to accept for that kind of space and value for money are on desirability, quality and rolling refinement. You’ll have noticed the first of those already – and frankly, you’ll either be willing to accept tooling around in something that looks so much like a van, or you won’t.
The Connect’s cabin, though entirely robust and functional, is only satisfactory on material quality. Some of the fittings and switches look and feel a bit basic. Not cheap – but certainly cheaper than you’d get on a proper passenger car. But relative to what you’ll find on a Doblo or Berlingo, they’re much more respectable.
To drive, the Connect is quietly impressive in lots of ways. It rides bumps in slightly stiff-legged fashion, and pogos a bit when the surface gets really bad - though would doubtless settle down the more load you put in it.
That apart, the car’s quite refined and handles perfectly well. The steering’s got good weight and directness, and feels consistent at all times. The body’s well controlled, remaining upright even when you’re cornering quickly. Grip levels are quite high and well-balanced; the car’s ever-stable but never inert or dull to drive. Ride apart, the Connect feels every inch the modern Ford passenger car.