Ford Tourneo turns panel van into people carrier

2015-06-17 06:00

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FORD has recently launched its Tourneo Connect MPV range in South Africa, offering an alternative to people who want the space and practicality of a big SUV, but cannot afford the big price tag.

The Tourneo is the people-carrying version of the Transit Connect - Ford’s panel van – which was the 2014 international van of the year in Europe.

Available in both five- and seven-seater versions, it is aimed at buyers who would like car-like comfort and safety features in a multi-purpose vehicle with the practicality of a minibus to carry people and goods with ease.

The Tourneo Connect is available in four models, with three engine choices, three specification levels (Ambiente, Trend en Titanium) and two wheelbase configurations. Only the Ambiente and Trend use the short-wheelbase (SWB) five-seater platform, while the Titanium derivatives are based on the long-wheelbase (LWB) Grand Tourneo Connect layout in either standard five-seat configuration or optional seven-seat form.

It offers advanced fuel-saving technologies in its 1.0 Ecoboost in the SWB version and 1.6-litre EcoBoost and 1.6 TDCi engines in the LWB versions.

Express on Wheels got to test drive both the five- and seven-seater versions: the Ford Tourneo Connect 1.0 Ecoboost (five-seater) and the Grand Tourneo Connect 1.6 Ecoboost Titanium Auto LWB (seven-seater)


My first thought on seeing the big, white LWB seven-seater Ford Tourneau Connect, was that while it’s not exactly ugly, it will not be winning prizes for its outer beauty. However, travelling in one made me, notice all the other mini-buses on the road and I soon came to the conclusion that it is without a doubt better looking than most of these types of vehicles on our roads.

Let’s be honest - they are not really built or bought for their looks but rather their practicality. And much like those practical shoes that you wear for their comfort and to get you wherever you want to be without pain and effort while still looking neat (no, I am not talking about Crocs or takkies), the Tourneo soon grew on me. Why? Because it feels as though you are driving a car and not a bus and you soon get used to the advantages of all that space and comfort.

Not to mention the fact that it isn’t as thirsty as one would expect from a vehicle of this size – thanks to the Ecoboost engines.

The Tourneo is easy to climb in and out of, even for shorter people, while still giving the sense of height one has in a SUV.

The kids loved the high seating position and I loved the sliding doors - and the peace of mind they bring on windy days.

And the doors are so easy to slide that even the smaller ones can climb in and out of the vehicle without need of assistance.


Big was my surprise to find a sunroof in the Grand Tourneo LWB version, while the children liked the trays that folded down from the back of the front seats.

In the SWB five-seater test model we drove, they were quite chuffed with their own aeroplane-like stowage cubicles in the roof behind the driver’s seat.

Further enhancing the practical nature of this vehicle, the second and third rows can be folded flat to reveal a massive 2 761 litres of packing space in the case of the LWB or 2 620 litres for the SWB version. The additional seats in the back of the seven-seater can be folded and tumbled to disappear into the floor for a flat surface.

The top-of-the-range models are equipped with Ford’s Sync sound system, which offers Blue­tooth connectivity. There are USB and auxiliary inputs as well as remote controls on the steering-wheel.

The layout of the dashboard is very much in the Ford style and it’s only the big, cumbersome sun visors that remind you that you are actually in a bus and not a family sedan.

Ride: 1.6 Ecoboost LWB

Most impressive during my time spent with the Tourneos was the drive – it truly feels like you are driving a sedan. During my first day in the Grand Tourneo, I was so intimidated with its size that I felt I had to find the biggest parking spot in the lot. But by day two I was ready to zip into just about any available parking spot. The Grand Tourneo was also equipped with a camera that switches on automatically when hitting the reverse button.

The six-speed automatic gearbox was the cherry on top for the comfortable ride the Grand Tourneo offers.

The powerful 1.6 EcoBoost engine delivers a maximum output of 110kW and a 240Nm torque peak. The average consumption is rated at 8.0l/100km and CO2 emissions at 184 g/km.

The acceleration is good and the ride is smooth and easy. This little bus was definitely not as slouchy as one would expect from a vehicle of this size with an automatic transmission and 1.6-litre engine.

Ride: 1.0 Ecoboost SWB

Even more impressive is the performance of the 1.0 Ecoboost engine in the SWB version. Being able to power so capably and noiselessly a vehicle of this size, is proof of why this engine was last year named the engine of the year for an unprecedented third consecutive year.

It produces 74kW of power and an impressive 170Nm of torque and is paired with a six-speed manual transmission. Its fuel consumption is given as a mere 5.6l/100km in the combined cycle, matched to 129g of CO2 per km.


. Tourneo Connect 1.0 EcoBoost Ambiente SWB: R269 900

. Tourneo Connect 1.0 EcoBoost Trend SWB: R279 900

. Grand Tourneo Connect 1.6 Ecoboost Titanium Auto LWB R359 900

. Grand Tourneo Connect 1.6 TDCi Titanium LWB R367 900

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