Not everyone is attracted to a conventional people carrier. The plush surroundings of a high-rise hatchback aren't always compatible with small children, sticky fingers, bicycles and other clobber. Cars like Ford's Tourneo Connect bridge the gap between vans and utilitarian load luggers and people movers.
With its combination of sliding rear doors, durable cabin and acres of space, the Tourneo Connect offers active and demanding families a more sensible mode of transport. Pitched as a more practical alternative to the family hatch, the boxy Tourneo Connect mike look like a van with windows but its underpinnings are far more sophisticated.
Based on a conventional car platform, the Tourneo Connect delivers a more refined driving experience than some upmarket MPVs. And it's this attribute that Ford hopes will attract buyers seeking the hard to find combination of refinement and genuine practicality.
In five-door guise – there's also a longer wheelbase seven seat variant – the Tourneo Connect boasts a spacious load deck and the ability to fold the rear seats out of the way for more space. There's no shortage of cabin space for your clutter, while the car's boxy shape ensures that there's plenty of room for a full complement of passengers.
In contrast to Ford's generosity in the space department, engine choice is rather modest. Low output petrol and diesel motors feature heavily, and while they are good in isolation you'll need to be patient if the car is fully loaded. Still, at least the overall driving experience is polished one and a world away from any van stereotypes.
Our verdict on the Ford Tourneo Connect 5-seater 1.6 95PS Zetec
To look at the Tourneo Connect is van-like, although the reality when you get behind the wheel is very different. To drive, it's almost car-like and the amount of space available should satisfy even the most demanding of active families. Factor in the durable yet easy on the eye interior and the option of a seven-seat variant if you need even more space and it's hard not to be impressed by the car's abilities,
The Tourneo Connect does well with low-power engine offerings bosting low emissions and fuel consumption figures. Standard equipment levels are good for something in this class, too.
Space and practicality
Rivalling a large estate car for space and versatility, the Tourneo Connect is a practical alternative with added flexibility. Tested here in five-seat guise, the load bay is spacious and the cabin boasts plenty of oddment storage. The only wrinkle is the fact the rear seat folding mechanism could be more helpful as it does limit the amount of extra free space available.
Controls and display
Although most of the Tourneo Connect's controls are pleasantly feel built to last, their positioning sometimes leaves something to be desired and the button count is a little high. The main instrument cluster is attractive and clear, but the infotainment display is a little small.
From the refined surroundings you wouldn't think you were in a boxy people carrier, thanks in part to a generous amount of occupant space and low noise levels when on the move - assuming you're not pushing the engine too hard.
Remote locking and an immobiliser package is obvious a useful combination, while the car's sturdy load cover should do much to deter prying eyes. There's ample storage space in the cabin but very little is actually covered, though.
A comprehensive array of airbags is standard on this model. There's also electronic stability control to keep you safe, while this Tourneo Connect can also be had with the likes of Active City Stop to counter low speed collisions plus a rear view camera and Trailer Sway Assist to boost stability when towing.
More car-like to drive thanks to its new underpinnings, this Tourneo Connect offers drivers a relaxed yet engaging experience plus a supple ride. Sadly, save for the high output 1.6-litre diesel, the engine options might prove a little underpowered if you plan on loading up the Tourneo. You'll need to make full use of the gears and throttle, which could prove noisy and tiring.
Family car appeal
Families will find much to like about the Tourneo Connect. With five seats as standard it can accommodate most families, while a seven-seat option is available. The luggage-carrying capacity of this model is good, allowing bikes, toys or even a wheelchair, to be carried with ease. The durable cabin materials ensure a certain 'bash-proof' ambience, too.
First car appeal
It might not be the most fashionable choice for a novice, but the Tourneo Connect is certainly easy to drive and is no hot hatch. The lofty driving position is a plus, although the rear rearwards might prove an issue for those with limited driving experience.
Quality and image
Although obviously van-shaped to look at, the Tourneo Connect is based on a car platform, which does much to enhance the driving experience. The Tourneo sub brand has become a watchword for sturdy family transport, and this version adds a welcome sprinkling of regular car refinement to the mix.
With twin sliding rear doors and a large tailgate, gaining access to the Tourneo Connect isn't difficult. That said, you'll need to leave plenty of room at the back due to the tailgate's size. Up front, and the car's lofty seating position makes access and egress a breeze.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
Ford fans will be familiar with the car's layout and switchgear, as it's shared by other models in the group. Despite a high button count the various features are intuitive to use, while the audio system is easily as god as what you'd find in a regular car.
Colours and trim
Subtle colours like silver look best on the stylish people-mover's lines, but bright hues such as the red option is good too. The interior trim is mostly dark, hardwearing plastics and does much to emphasise the car's workmanlike qualities.
Parking sensors make a big difference to the driving experience, as rear three-quarter vision isn't as good as you think thanks to the many windows and pillars. Thankfully the steering offers plenty of assistance at low speeds.
Tyre mobility kit fitted as standard.
Petrol engine options – 1.0-litre (100bhp), 1.6-litre (150bhp). Diesel engine options - 1.6-litre (95bhp, 115bhp). Transmission options: five and six-speed manual gearbox plus six-speed auto on selected models. Trim levels: Style, Zetec, Titanium.