Here's all you need to know about the Ford Transit Connect, the small van with A LOT to offer. Vanarama Van Expert Tom Roberts reports.
The Ford Transit Connect took its first steps across Europe in 2002 – over 14 years ago! Since then, it's definitely aged gracefully, in fact, this van proves that age is just a number because it certainly looks better than it did in 2002. With a few nips & tucks along the way, this van is still standing as a strong contender in the small van sector.
The all-new Ford Transit Connect is available as a single cab van & you have the choice of 2 wheelbases – L1 (3m) & L2 (3.4m). You'll also get to choose from 2 engines – EcoBoost petrol or EcoBlue diesel.
Right, now for the detail. Read our in-depth review for the L1 Ford Transit Connect below…
Love At First Sight
Right, let's just point out the obvious – this small van is a looker. There's nothing ugly about the appearance of the Ford Transit Connect.
So first let's focus on the grille. One word, iconic. Over the years the grille has got noticeably bigger! The design was a bit bland at the front – the grille was almost unnoticeable when the van first appeared in 2002. Now, the grille has tripled in size & is the main act when it comes to the front of this Ford.
Next up are the features to prove that this van is all about function. Say hello to automatic headlights & wipers.
Let's be honest – we've all forgotten to switch on our headlights & the only reason you realise that they're not on is because of people flashing you with their lights. And, when this does happen, I can't be the only one who curses in sheer confusion at the people trying to tell me that I haven't got my lights on. It normally takes a few flashes before it finally clicks – oh that's why they couldn't see me in the dark because my lights were off.
The point is, automatic headlights are a blessing in disguise. You won't need to worry about having to switch them on & off, because switching them off is also something you must remember to do otherwise, they will drain your battery.
And the automatic wipers? Well, when it's raining (weather that we're more than used to in the UK), this van does all the work for you. To put it simply – when rain lands on the windscreen the wipers will automatically kick in & be pre-set at a suitable speed depending on the amount of rainfall, genius! Oh, & if you want to control the wipers manually, you can.
Finally, the body coloured door handles & mirrors. Both come as standard when you choose the Ford Transit Connect 'Limited' – our tried & tested model. If you're like me & prefer things to match, pick our model or one of these exterior trims: 'Trend' or 'Sport'. Both also include body coloured door handles & mirrors as standard.
It's Cosy In The Cabin
Now, let us introduce you to the cabin.
When you step inside, you'll notice that it's VERY different to the Citroen Relay. Apart from the obvious – the size difference between the two, this small van has a car-like cabin which ramps up the standard of tech & helps place it well in front of the Citroen Relay's cabin.
Here's a breakdown of what's included in this cosy cabin if you pick the 'Limited' model…
- Keyless start – sick of losing your keys? Problem solved.
- Luxury leather steering wheel.
- Cruise control – perfect for long commutes.
- Rear parking sensors that make reversing into tight spaces easy.
- DAB radio with built in Bluetooth – connect your phone to the Bluetooth system & you can control the 4.2-inch infotainment screen using your voice.
- USB ports, heated seats & air con.
Oh, & here's another shout out for the keyless start. So, this might sound confusing but hear me out…
You will get a key, even though it's a push-button start. Ford call it 'MyKey' which when inserted into the slot near the start button, allows you to pre-set your driving mode. You'll have the option to predetermine your vehicles speed, audio volume, set a seatbelt reminder & more.
But what about storage? This van might be small but it's certainly spacious. The cabin is packed to the brim with storage bins & cup holders. Look straight ahead & you'll see the smallest storage hub, which by the way, is the perfect size to fit your favourite chocolate bar – my choice? Definitely a Snickers. Look to your left & you'll see more space for storage – this storage hub is about half the size of a kitchen sink. There's also 2 gloveboxes, which are perfect for holding excess storage.
One more thing to add – the VERY generous headroom. Now when I sat in the driver's seat, I felt pocket-sized. Which by the way, isn't a bad feeling, after all it's better than being cramped? If you're feeling a bit in superior, adjust the seat, problem solved.
Yes, size does matter… if you're a tradesman. Just so we're on the same page, we're both thinking about the loading bay of a van, right? If you were thinking about something else, shame on you!
Anyway, back to the topic of interest – the loading bay. The Ford Transit Connect falls into the small van sector but look in the back & you'll be impressed by the sizable loading bay. The loadspace in our L1 model is 1.5m in length & has a 1.5m width (1.2m between the wheel arches). What about its payload? This model can hold a 600kg-740kg load. Impressive for a small van, ey?
Want to up your payload? Make way for the L2 model – its max payload can hold over 1000kg! This van is also available as a double cab or single cab, the choice is yours!
Dreamy To Drive
Is it a car or is it a van?
Okay, it's definitely a van, but take it for a spin and you'll feel like you're driving a car. Want to know why? Keep reading…
The 1.5-litre EcoBlue Diesel, 6-speed Ford Transit Connect that we reviewed drives like a dream. Let's give some of the credit to the VERY responsive gearbox. When we took it for a burn it didn't disappoint, we didn't find ourselves waiting for a reaction when we changed gears. This might not come as shock, after all small vans are lighter on their feet, but if you were having doubts, you shouldn't worry.
Let's praise the low turning circle too, another feature that makes this van feel more car-like. Here's our piece of mind promise – rest assured that you'll be able to make a (legal) U-turn almost effortlessly.
We've saved the best till last…
This van is also available with a 1-litre EcoBoost Petrol engine. If you do choose the 1.5-litre EcoBlue Diesel model, you'll get the choice of 74bhp, 99bhp or 118bhp.
We've Got A Connect(ion) With This Van
If you're looking for a small van, the Ford Transit Connect is a great choice. It's easy on the eye, there's tons of tech in the cabin, it's small but spacious & it feels like a car to drive, what more could you want from a van?