On the road in the New Ford Tourneo Connect
As I pull into Farnham’s space age, Aviator hotel under the cover of darkness… and rain, I can initially see what looks like a collection of vans lined up in the car park. Closer inspection reveals them to be the new Tourneo Connect – Ford’s latest addition to its People Carrier range, bearing a strong visual resemblance to a van (albeit with windows), although as I find out the next day, that’s not only doing the Tourneo Connect a big disservice, but is also an inaccurate and unfair misconception to boot. But that was to come tomorrow. The first thing on my agenda was to check-in.
Located in North Hampshire, the stylish Aviator hotel is located a stone’s throw from both Farnborough town centre and TAG Farnborough Airport. Boasting clear views over the airfield, the modern, stylish interior décor is influenced by an aviation theme throughout. The feel is very up market: soundproofed rooms are finished in granite, leather and walnut, equipped with free toiletries and extra seating; some even feature a Bose audio system, specialty teas and a cafetière. Yet, despite the luxury, Aviator also offers guests a tranquil atmosphere in which to relax… typified by the first floor Sky Bar, featuring leather chairs and lounge areas, where food and drink is served to the accompaniment of ambient background music. A mix of dining offerings are available, from the formal Brasserie serving classical dishes and boutique wines, to the more casual One Eleven restaurant, serving a range of bistro-style food. If you prefer, there’s also takeaway food and beverage options.
Following a comfortable overnight stay at Aviator, the day begins with bacon sandwiches, a car-launch prerequisite, before we get the keys to our Connect of choice. I selected the 1.6 Zetec and began our journey down to Goodwood. The route takes us along the A31 Hog’s Back, along where you can enjoy stunning views, on a clearer day, past Thursley National Nature Reserve, through the Hindhead Tunnel, then along the A286 Haslemere Road into Midhurst, stopping off at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum and past the Race Course, before rolling through the gates of Goodwood Motor Circuit.
The 95PS motor is certainly flexible enough, if far from quick. What you do get is a smooth and refined drive, although not as dynamic as that of a Focus C-Max. Things do get a bit roly-poly around tight corners and roundabouts, nevertheless the Connect possesses many of the qualities found in other Fords; from the fluidity and suppleness in the chassis, communicative, well balanced steering and precise gear change.
Step inside and first impressions are van-like – due to the XXL headroom and deep windscreen, but cabin quality and equipment levels bear no resemblance to a van whatsoever, with a Focus-style dashboard. Admittedly, the plastics appear harder wearing here, but there’s still a mixture of finishes, including a textured look to the central fascia. Just like on other Ford models, the infotainment screen is on the small side and isn’t of the touch-screen variety, although it scores well on readability. Kit-wise, this mid-spec Zetec gets privacy glass, manual air conditioning, trip computer, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, immobiliser, heated mirrors, seat-back table trays and electric rear windows.
Driving position is comfortable with the steering wheel adjusting for reach and rake and the driver’s seat offering height adjustment. A raised seating position means you get a clear view of the road ahead. Seats are firm, yet comfortable and supportive and seating permutations are very flexible: the front passenger chair folds over to double as a table and the three rear seats do fold flat, but unfortunately leave a sizeable step from the boot floor, which might prove a hindrance when loading skis or long pieces of wood. For a vehicle which is all about interior space, the rather small door bins also come as something of a disappointment, but countering that are chunky cup-holders in the central tray area. There’s also an aircraft style overhead storage locker.
In the Grand, there are extra two rear seats and a different folding system that allows for all seven seats to be lowered, creating a completely flat (false) floor. It’s easy to see why this extra versatility will appeal to taxi operators.
Some Ford Images of the Ford Tourneo Connect in Action
Upon arriving at Goodwood, we are tempted by the chance to try our hand at an auto-test circuit in the car park, but the distinctly damp conditions make the prospect of tea and biscuits in the café a rather more enticing proposition. I very much expect however that if the car in question had been a Fiesta ST, the tea and biscuits would have waited!
Next up was the Ford presentation. Here we learned that the Tourneo “Space Car” range is based on an equivalently sized Ford van. There are four body styles: Tourneo Connect, Grand Tourneo Connect and two sizes of Tourneo Custom, all are based on a Transit van. However, Ford is keen to point out that all these models – including the vans themselves – actually use car-based platforms, which is the most significant difference from before.
The Tourneo Connect has five seats, with the larger Grand Tourneo Connect providing seven. All Connects get dual sliding rear doors. Ford reckons the Tourneo Connect’s target customer base will be families and older drivers, whereas the Grand Tourneo will be purchased by customers requiring specific loading needs and taxi operators. Prices start from £14,245 for the Connect and £16,745 for the Grand.
Three trim levels make up the range: Style, Zetec and Titanium. The mid-spec Zetec is expected to be the best seller. Engines comprise the 1.6 litre TDCi diesel offered in 95 PS and 115PS outputs and two petrol EcoBoost motors: a 100 PS 1.0 litre and 150 PS 1.6.
Along with a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, all Tourneo Connect models get electronic stability control, Active City Stop and Ford SYNC Emergency Assistance. Equipment and technology on offer includes: Hill Start Assist, parking sensors, rear view camera, cornering lights, cruise control, heated seats, trailer sway control, Ford Easy Fuel, which cleverly prevents mis-fuelling, automatic wipers, DAB radio and Bluetooth.
Following the presentation, the weather began to brighten, so we head outside for the load challenge. This meant pulling down the back seats to see what would fit into the Connect’s cavernous load area. If you reckon your estate car is spacious, well… the Connect is in another league altogether… think more van space than car (oops, van comparisons again)! A surf board, mountain bike and three suitcases all fit in, with space to spare!
On the return journey to the Aviator hotel, we get to sample the top-of-the-range Titanium trim, this time with the more powerful 115PS diesel engine. Performance (0-62 in 13.8 seconds) is still on the leisurely side, but the greater torque means that you’ll be stirring the gearbox less often. The extra toys are appreciated too, highlights of which include: auto-fold mirrors, rear parking sensors, leather steering wheel, steering wheel mounted radio controls and panoramic glass roof. This has the added bonus of further enhancing the already incredibly spacious cabin.
Although obviously much more boxy than a B, C, or S Max, the Tourneo Connect has a charm of its own and the van-like body means far superior loading access and carrying capacity – attributes that enable it to straddle roles as a leisure and working vehicle. Although it might not drive as well as the aforementioned Ford models, it’s way ahead of its direct competition `and both refinement and comfort levels are good even by car standards.
Between the two Connect and larger Grand Connect models, Ford has without doubt, launched the best of the current crop of van-shaped multi-purpose vehicles.
Cars Reviewed: Tech Specs
Share the Ford Tourneo Connect Recent Ford Posts Recent Posts Recent Car Image Galleries
Max Power: 95PS
Max Torque Nm: 230
0-62 mph: 14.7 seconds
Max speed: 100 mph
Official Combined mpg: 56.5
CO2 g/km: 130
Insurance Group: 6E
Tourneo Connect 1.6 TDCi 115PS Titanium
Max Power: 115PS
Max Torque Nm: 285
0-62 mph: 13.8 seconds
Max speed: 103 mph
Official Combined mpg: 58.9
CO2 g/km: 130
Insurance Group: 6E
The Ford Puma ST, mean, green and delightfully quickDecember 3, 2021
Ford Kuga ST-line X Edition, a compact SUVNovember 25, 2021
Ford Puma ST, a performance-oriented SUVJune 17, 2021
McLaren GT and 720S, yes pleaseJanuary 14, 2022
Honda e Advance, “My, that’s cute!”January 12, 2022
Winning EVs from BMW, the iX and i4January 11, 2022
Share the Ford Tourneo Connect
Recent Ford Posts
Recent Car Image Galleries