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First drive: new Ford Tourneo Connect
A tradesman’s MPV then?
Pretty much, Ford has taken its Ford Tourneo, added Connect to the back of it and done a bit of redecorating, reupholstering and renovations inside and out to add a five- (or seven) seat MPV to its line-up.
So it’s a van with some seats and trim?
Essentially, yes, but working vehicles are built to be useful, and adding some seats, windows and car-like niceties turns Ford’s small commercial machine into a credible and practical family hauler. The basis itself is pretty good too, modern vans delivering a drive that’s light years ahead of how they used to be. Ford has also made sure that it’s comfortable for everyone else by adding some additional noise insulation to ensure in the Tourneo Connect it’ll be the kids in the back rather than the road, engine or wind noise that deafens you.
So why this over a B or C-Max?
The Ford Tourneo Connect might lack the outright sophistication of its B-Max or C-Max relatives, but it drives well despite its van platform, is refined and handles much like them - albeit with a touch more body roll. Ford has form here, and the Tourneo’s status as a favourite drive among tradesmen and women mean it’s just as good when seats and windows are added. You sit higher in it than the already lofty B-Max, while the view out, thanks to the massive glass area, is superb. Like its relatives it has got sliding rear doors - not the fancy pillar-less items you get on the B-Max, instead just a large rectangular opening that makes loading up your offspring or anything else an absolute cinch.
The Tourneo Connect is very useful indeed. There are roof lockers and under-floor storage for oddments while the seats fold in a 60/40 split, creating a huge 2,410-litre boot space. Opt for the Tourneo Grand Connect and you get sliding third row seating, giving space for two more passengers. If you want the Tourneo to be a van for the weekend then the seats are fully removable too. Just buy a tarpaulin to protect the trim and ask a mate over to help you haul them out - as they’re heavy. The low boot floor means chucking stuff in the back couldn’t be easier, whether it’s bikes or an ancient, arthritic dog.
Prices start at £14,245 and you might even get a discount for cash if you ask discretely. The 100hp 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine is smooth, though for the ultimate economy the 1.6-litre 95hp turbodiesel brings an official combined economy figure of 61.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 120g/km. It’ll not be fast though. Trims are Style, Zetec and range-topping Titanium. Zetec is likely to be the most popular and covers everything you could conceivably need; including heated electric mirrors, air conditioning and Bluetooth. Titanium adds dual-zone climate control and a huge panoramic sunroof as standard - just don’t put leave any ladders on top of it, as it’ll ruin the view out.