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First Drive

Ford Tourneo Connect Active review: all hail the MPV

£30,260 when new
810
Published: 20 Oct 2022
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What is it?

Before we tell you what it is, we can tell you what it’s not: an SUV. When there’s a new SUV or crossover released every 30 seconds, each offering fractional advantages over the estates or hatches they’re based on, releasing a family car with the dimensions and practicality of something like this is what film types like to call ‘subverting expectation’.

Or you could call it the Ford Tourneo Connect Active, because that’s what it actually is.

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So it’s an MPV?

Yes. Although also no. Ford calls it a ‘multi-activity vehicle’, so it’s an MAV. Po-tay-toes, po-tah-toes. It’s a big, blue, friendly car with seating for up to seven humans of assorted sizes, or as many Golden Retrievers as your heart desires*.

*We’d say somewhere in the region of about 10 would comfortably fit

How big is the Ford Tourneo Connect?

It’s available in either regular, ‘L1’ or Grand ‘L2’ wheelbases, the former measuring 4.5m, the latter a shade under 4.9m long. Both versions sit 2.1m wide and 1.8m high. Meaningless numbers? Picture this: the Grand Tourneo is basically the same height and width as a seven-seat Range Rover, albeit a fraction shorter.

Indeed, our test car was a Grand Tourneo in ‘Active’ trim, one of four available, the others including ‘Trend’ (available from 2024), ‘Titanium’, and hilariously, ‘Sport’. Most conspicuously, that latter car gets a set of stripes running over the bonnet and roof for the full GT40 Le Mans vibes. Do it and own the look.

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Active on the other hand, gets a different front bumper, skid plates, and wheel arch mouldings for a more utilitarian feel hiding 17in wheels.

All get a five star NCAP rating too.

Sport? In an MPV? Does that mean it's fast?

Nope. Ford offers but two engines in the new Tourneo Connect – a 1.5-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost petrol with 112bhp and a 0-62mph time of 11.9 seconds (in both six-speed manual/seven-speed dual clutch gearbox offerings), and two tunes of a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel.

The lower one’s got 100bhp (0-62mph in 13.5s), the other one’s got 120bhp. Equipped with a six-speed manual, that car’s the quickest Tourneo available with a 0-62mph time of 11.2s (11.4s with the dual clutcher, which is the one we tested).

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Perhaps we should never discuss 0-62mph times for an MPV.

Perhaps you are right. The more important metrics for a car like this are: ingress and egress, legroom, storage binnacles and how wipeable most of the surfaces are. To that end: very good (sliding doors at the back, easily foldable seats), lots, quite a few, and mostly very wipeable.

The roof’s nice and high so there’s tonnes of headroom which in turn allows for a greater feeling of space inside the cabin. There’s good legroom in the middle row, and a decently sized pair of chairs at the very back which again, are good for smaller humans/short trips.

Fold everything down and the thing becomes a mini-Transit, such is the cavern it morphs into. Though, from the driver’s seat it feels more car-like, with a central dash slightly angled towards the driver containing a nice-looking touchscreen that’s fiddly to use and offers a slightly confusing climate control setup not adjusted in degree increments, but in a sliding scale from 1 (cold) to 15 (hot).

Though, the buttons to increase or decrease that are permanently underneath the screen, so that’s good. Audio volume could have done with being a knob, but there you go.

And what’s the Ford Tourneo Connect like to drive?

Good. Most importantly of all, it’s comfortable, a degree of suppleness evident from across a variety of road surfaces. There’s a nice level of accuracy to the steering wheel, it’s able to hold its bulk together well (it weighs 1.6 tonnes) but cruises along nicely. Basically, it doesn’t feel like a reconstituted van, but a very Big Car. Good brakes, too.

The drivetrain needs slightly better calibration from a standstill, mind. While the dual clutch gearbox is great and the more powerful of the two diesel engine tunes (we tested the 120bhp version) is good once at speed, getting it off the line smoothly can result in a sudden lurch forwards. Sub optimal, especially if you’ve got precious cargo in the back. Outside of that, the performance is perfectly fine for a car like this, which is to say: it moves easily and without much effort.

It's a well executed car, this – so good, Volkswagen makes the same thing and calls it the ‘Caddy’ (look at some of the stamps around the body and you might find ‘Volkswagen AG’). But then, two masters of vans working together is no bad thing. With MPVs becoming rarer by the day, celebrate the few that exist.

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