Ford’s alliance with VW bears fruit with the Tourneo Connect MPV offering practicality, flexibility and excellent value for money
4.0 out of 5
How we review carsPrice£29,309 to £31,852SPECIFICATIONS
- Extremely practical
- Economical diesel engine
- Better value than the VW Caddy
- Looks like a van
- Interior quality isn’t great
- No hybrid or electric versions
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With customer demand for MPVs having slowed many have slipped from the price lists and the remaining options like the Ford Tourneo Connect have fewer direct rivals. The platform-sharing VW Caddy is the most obvious competitor, but the Ford also faces the challenge of the Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Rifter and Vauxhall Combo Life that share a common Stellantis group platform and also have equivalent compact van versions.
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There are currently two trim levels: Titanium and Active, both of which are available on the Tourneo and Grand Tourneo. These will be joined by an entry-level Trend model, which is scheduled to arrive in 2024.
Standard features on the Titanium model include 16-inch alloy wheels, 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, heated driver and passenger seats, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, rear privacy glass, air conditioning, silver roof rails and a suite of driver assistance systems.
The Active models gets a more rugged look, headlined by 17-inch painted alloy wheels, a front bumper unique to the model, a skid plate, wheel arch mouldings, a honeycomb grille, and scuff plates. There’s also an interior overhaul, complete with ‘Nordic Blue’ stitching. An optional X Pack features LED headlights with automatic high beam, rear-view camera and dual-zone climate control.
There’s a choice of two engines, both of which are shared with the Caddy. Although the 1.5-litre petrol is badged EcoBoost and the 2.0-litre diesel EcoBlue, they’re identical to VW’s familiar TSI and TDI four-cylinder engines. Both come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with a seven-speed automatic available as an option.
The Tourneo Connect is based on VW’s MQB platform, which is good news from a ride and handling perspective. It means that, despite the MPV’s commercial origins, it doesn’t feel like a van when you’re behind the wheel.
The steering is just the right weight and offers precision on B-roads, while the suspension does a great job of controlling the body roll. All the more impressive when you consider the car’s height. As a bonus, the ride quality remains supple, even if you opt for the Active and its larger 17-inch wheels.
We tested a Grand Tourneo Connect with the 120bhp 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engine and seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Thanks to a healthy 320Nm of torque, it’s a punchy engine, delivering keen performance, even with a full load. The gearbox’s changes are swift and contribute to a relaxed driving experience, which is why a diesel engine and automatic transmission would be our recommendation for a would-be Tourneo Connect owner.
0-62mph acceleration and top speed
The diesel engine in the Tourneo Connect is a reminder that diesel still has a place if the execution is right. With a 0-62mph time of 11.2 seconds and a top speed of 106mph (104mph in the automatic), performance would be best described ‘leisurely’, but it’s the torque that stands out, delivering lots of pulling power, even with six passengers and their associated luggage.
Ford hasn’t supplied the 0-62mph times for the 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, but using the VW Caddy as a guide, we’d expect them to be broadly similar to the diesel version. At 106mph and 104mph for the manual and automatic cars respectively, the top speeds are identical to the diesel.
As with any petrol versus diesel debate, if most of your time is spent driving the children to school and nipping to the shops, the 1.5 EcoBoost makes the most sense. On the other hand, if you’re going to spend your days pounding the motorways of Britain and the weekends loaded with children and their kit, the 2.0 EcoBlue is the one to choose.
MPG, CO2 & running costs
Unlike the Citroen Berlingo or Peugeot Rifter, the Ford Tourneo Connect isn’t available as an electric MPV; you can’t even get one with a mild-hybrid or hybrid powertrain. It means that the 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel offers the best fuel economy, with the Tourneo Connect managing an impressive 57.6mpg on the combined cycle. This drops to 56.5mpg in the seven-seat Grand Tourneo Connect.
Even the 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol manages a respectable 44.1mpg in the Tourneo Connect and 42.8mpg in the Grand Tourneo.
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It looks dull and the interior is disappointing, but the Tourneo Connect offers better value than the Caddy15
There’s no hiding the Tourneo Connect’s van-based origins, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you want to stand out in a car park filled with SUVs. Ford has done a good job of disguising its VW roots at the front, but in profile and at the back, it looks just like a Caddy.
It’s a similar story on the inside, with a dashboard layout that’s lifted directly from the VW. That’s no bad thing in terms of the layout, but the absence of soft-touch materials and a rather gloomy cabin let the side down. The key touchpoints feel fine, but the quality of the plastics on the doors and lower sections of the interior aren’t up to the standards you’d expect in a VW.
On the plus side, the Tourneo Connect offers more equipment as standard than the VW Caddy. Front and rear parking sensors are fitted as standard, as are heated front seats, 16-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass and roof rails, plus a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which is optional on the Caddy.
The Active trim is essentially a Titanium with more rugged styling, larger alloy wheels and seats finished in Arctic Glacier fabric with blue contrast stitching. It’s worth noting that the level of standard equipment will change when Ford launches the entry-level Trend trim in 2024.
Frozen White is the only no-cost colour option; you’ll pay £180 for the other solid colours, Lava Red and Comet Grey. The Tourneo Connect looks more appealing in metallic paint (a £684 option), especially Boundless Blue, which works particularly well on the Active trim.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system in the Tourneo Connect is reserved for the options list on the VW Caddy. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, it features the VW’s frustrating touch-sensitive climate and volume controls, which means it’s not the easiest system to use, even if the graphics and responses to your inputs are sharp.
A 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster panel is available as an option. The desired information can be selected via the steering wheel-mounted buttons, with the display particularly useful for placing the sat-nav map in front of the driver.
All versions get a DAB radio, sat-nav, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity and six speakers.
Practicality, comfort & boot space
Excellent luggage space plus five- or seven-seat configurations make this a terrific family car15
Ford calls the Tourneo Connect a Multi-Activity Vehicle, which is marketing speak for a conventional MPV or people carrier. There’s a choice of four configurations: five-seat Tourneo Connect in short and long-wheelbase guises, or seven-seat Grand Tourneo Connect with the same pair of wheelbases.
The huge sliding doors give excellent access to the spacious cabin, where you’ll find masses of legroom and headroom in the back. Small children can stand on the back seats and still not reach the roof lining!
The short-wheelbase Tourneo Connect measures 4,500mm in length, 2,100 wide (including door mirrors), and has a maximum height of 1,833mm (including roof rails). Thanks to the larger wheels and revised bumper, the Active is 2mm taller and 15mm longer. As a comparison, the Citroen Berlingo M is shorter at 4,403mm.
The long-wheelbase Grand Tourneo Connect is the same height and width, but the length increases to 4,853mm (4,868mm for the Active).
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Leg room, head room & passenger space
Access to the third row in the seven-seat versions is a little tricky; to get there, you pull a black strap to fold the back of the seat onto the base, then a red strap to fold it forward. The resulting gap is large enough for children and adults to get through.
Once there, there’s plenty of space for adults – certainly more than you’ll find in most seven-seat SUVs – but it’d be worth buying the long-wheelbase Grand Tourneo Connect if you expect to use these seats more often than not. That’s because it allows for the rear seats to be pushed back, freeing up more legroom.
Boot space is excellent in five-seat mode, regardless of whether you opt for the L1 or L2 model. There's a van-like 1,213 litres of luggage capacity in the L1 model, extending to 1,720 litres in the L2. Folding down the second row of seats increases these figures to 2,556 litres and 3,105 litres respectively.
The load length figures are even more impressive, with the L2 offering 2,265mm behind the first row, 1,452mm behind the second row and 629mm behind the third. These figures drop to 1,913mm, 1,100mm and 317mm in the L1 version.
Reliability & safety
Neither the Tourneo Connect nor the VW Caddy appeared in our Driver Power 2023 new car survey, but Ford finished a disappointing 28th out of 32 brands on the list of best car manufacturers. VW fared little better, being ranked 27th. On the plus side, VW’s TDI and TSI engines are tried and tested units, while the Tourneo Connect interior feels solid and robust.
The Ford Tourneo Connect was awarded a maximum five-star safety rating by Euro NCAP when it was tested in 2021. Standard equipment includes lane-keeping assistance, automatic emergency braking with cyclist and pedestrian detection, and forward collision warning. Unlike the VW Caddy, front and rear parking sensors are fitted as standard, but you’ll pay extra for a rear-view camera and adaptive cruise control.
The Tourneo Connect comes with Ford’s three-year/60,000-mile warranty, which is the same cover you’d get with a VW Caddy.
Ford offers a couple of service plans, with the price varying according to the length of contract and options chosen. The Ford Protect Service Plan covers scheduled servicing and maintenance, while the Protect Wear & Tear Plans cover the repair or replacement of items like brake pads, wiper blades and bulbs.
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CO2 emissions range from 128g/km to 150g/km, so you’ll pay a flat rate of £180 for road tax (VED) from year two. Monthly Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax ranges from £149.62 to £180.31 at the 20% rate of tax and £299.24 to £360.62 at 40%.
Insurance groups for the Tourneo Connect start from 11 for the 1.5 EcoBoost Active to 13 for the 2.0 EcoBlue Active. There’s no penalty for choosing the seven-seat version. Opt for the Grand Tourneo Connect, and the insurance will be even lower, with the MPV slotting into groups 9 to 13.
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We don’t have the depreciation figures for the Tourneo Connect, but because of their unfashionable status, five- and seven-seat MPVs are not particularly good at retaining their value.
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