Everything the average consumer needs in a vehicle
WHETHER you’re looking a tradesman looking for a commercial vehicle or a dad looking for a really practical family car — Ford’s new Connect range ticks all the boxes and adds a few of its own.
Although the compact C-segment panel van and MPV sectors claim a small share of the South African market, Ford’s offerings of the Transit and the Tourneo sought to change that by providing everything the average consumer needs in a vehicle — and they have.
Starting with the Tourneo, which comes in a choice of three specification levels and two wheelbase configurations, the basic Ambiente and Trend models sit steady on a short-wheel base five-seater foundation. The “Grand Tourneo” Titanium derivatives have a longer wheelbase with a five- or seven-seat offering.
All this with a price variation of R269 900 to R279 900 for the Ambiente and Trend, which, mind you, come with Ford’s much-loved and award-winning 1.0 litre EcoBoost engines; or R359 900 to R367 900 for the high-end Grand Tourneo with a 1,6 litre automatic petrol EcoBoost engine or a 1,6 litre TDCI.
I had the opportunity of city-slicking through the bustling streets of Johannesburg in both the Tourneo and the Grand Tourneo TDCI.
Before starting it up, the sheer space inside the vehicle and the adaptability of the seating, which fold quickly and easily into a flat, unobstructed luggage platform was very impressive. The passenger seat can also be folded, enabling one to pack items up to three metres long.
Ford really put a lot of thought into how practical they could make it in terms of everyday use, with a host of different stowage areas and more than one 12V socket so that the kids don’t fight over the phone charger on long trips.
The smart MPV offers 2 410 litres of luggage space in the smaller range and 2 620 in the larger models, with the rear seats folded of course, which essentially converts the entire vehicle from a passenger mover to an all-purpose transporter at your will.
Driving both variations was bliss. Besides the large dashboard in front of me, I didn’t feel at all like I had a large vehicle behind. A short turning space and a responsive steering had much to do with it, with ample power at the foot to really boost around Johannesburg traffic.
With Ford’s superb SYNC system standard, voice control, Bluetooth and steering controls elevate the range into an entirely new category, merging luxury and versatility into one vehicle.
Now, on to the Transit, which has been ranked with top spots in the “International Van of the Year”.
The Transit offers operators superb fuel economy, load carrying ability and durability, with the 1.6 TDCI engine offering frugal consumption of just 4,9L/100 km and a maximum payload of just over a ton and a total load volume of 3 222 litres.
The dual side-hinged rear doors can be opened 180 degrees to facilitate easier loading and the low-slung suspension makes it much easier to get a forklift in there.
There’s also a wide-opening sliding side door just to make things a bit easier.
Standard bodyside fixing points are present in the load compartment as well as a few more on the floor, allowing you to tie down just about anything and everything.
Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to get behind the wheel, but the interior driving bay offers comfort and sophistication to anyone driving the vehicle.
Whether it’s for a fleet or privately owned, Ford’s SYNC technology comes into play again, affording long distance drivers practicality and ease of entertainment that surpasses all other commercial careers in its class.
With a price tag of R272 900, it’s worth every cent you’re paying for it.
So the verdict is quite simple. It’s a great vehicle for everyday use by everyday people. Whether you need a commercial vehicle for your business or something for your entire family, Ford’s new Connect range does it all and more.
With the nearest competitor being the bulkier Hyundai H1, which comes with a price tag of R326 900 for the panel van and 357 900 for the passenger vehicle, the Ford is competitive in its class and a well-rounded vehicle that can do just about anything, besides going off-road of course. • firstname.lastname@example.org
Ford Tourneo Connect.
Ford Transit Connect loading bay.
Ford Tourneo Connect interior.