Ford's vantastic all

rounders

Ford Grand Tourneo Connect, front
Ford Grand Tourneo Connect, side
Ford Grand Tourneo Connect, rear
Ford Grand Tourneo Connect, interior
Ford Grand Tourneo Connect, seats
Ford Grand Tourneo Connect, rear seats
Ford Grand Tourneo Connect, boot
Ford Grand Tourneo Connect, max cargo space
Ford Tourneo Connect, front
Ford Transit Connect, side
Ford Transit Connect, front
Ford Transit Connect, interior
Ford Transit Connect, rear
Ford Transit Connect, loaded

FORD is proving it's a brand that can in more ways than one.

Two new Connect models are being introduced aimed at very different ends of the market.

For businesses and small traders is the Transit Connect while for families on a budget comes the Tourneo Connect - a van based MPV that is packed with practicality.

The Tourneo Connect comes either as a five or seven seater with prices starting from £14,245 and £16,985 for the larger version.

Both offer huge amounts of space inside and with their roots in the LCV camp luggage capacity is immense.

The standard Tourneo Connect five seater has more than 1,000 litres of space available with all seats occupied and that is more than twice the size of the average family saloon boot.

The larger Grand Tourneo increases that to more than 1,500 litres making it a people mover without compromise.

Fold down the middle row of seats and it is large enough to move a three seater settee, carry four bicycles - or even the proverbial kitchen sink. In fact there is more than seven feet from the tailgate to the front seats.

Another bonus with the Grand Tourneo is that even when configured as a seven seater it has sufficient space to carry up to three full sized suit cases with 322 litres available.

That is more than can be fitted into a regular MPV and actually bigger than the boot on a Ford Focus.

The Grand Tourneo Connect is 15ft 10ins long which is almost a foot longer than Ford's Galaxy MPV and 16 inches more than the standard Tourneo Connect.

Inside, there is adequate room for adults in all three rows and the seats are sturdy, covered in hard wearing upholstery.

Folding the seats is straightforward with them being released by a pull cord and the middle row splits on a 70/30 basis.

Onboard storage compartments and bottle holders are plentiful and there are fold down tables on the front seat backs which all add up to making it a very family friendly vehicle.

Large sliding side doors make access easy especially in car parks and the large tailgate can provide some handy shelter when loading in bad weather.

On the road it is surprisingly un-vanlike to drive. The Grand Tourneo Connect we tried was in top grade Titanium trim priced from £19,995 and came with air conditioning, cruise control, a panoramic sunroof and Ford's SYNC connectivity system which includes Bluetooth and a DAB radio among its mod cons.

The facia is little different to that of a Focus and includes a trip computer and digital display screen as well as steering wheel mounted controls for the audio system and voice control.

Powered by a 1.6-litre 115ps diesel engine mated to a six speed manual gearbox it pulls well and cruises happily without any undue amount of noise inside.

Top speed is 103mph with a 0 to 60 time of 14.1 seconds and we found it impressively frugal averaging 52 to the gallon on a run from London to the south coast, not far off the official fuel figure of 58.9mpg. Emissions are 130g/km.

For large families and those with action lifestyles the Tourneo Connect is going to make an awful lot of sense.

So does the Transit Connect, the current holder of the International Van of the Year title.

The compact version of the latest Transit range is priced from £13,150 to £17,250 excluding VAT and when fitted with the 95ps version of Ford's 1.6-litre diesel has best in class fuel economy, averaging more than 70mpg.

It is also available with Ford's award winning one-litre EcoBoost petrol engine which is surprisingly competent in a van and priced from £14,721 in mid-range Trend trim.

We tried a short wheelbase version and managed to clock up 39 to the gallon around town. Ford's official figure is 50.4mpg with emissions of 129g/km.

With a single sliding side door as well as the wide opening tailgates it can carry a payload of 628 kilos and comes with the same amount of creature comforts as the Tourneo - even down to the vanity mirror and 12-volt power socket.

It proved exceptionally comfortable to drive and for lighter duties such as deliveries around town is a commendable alternative to the diesels.

 

 

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