What Car? says...
There’s no denying that the world of MPVs has been a little jaded in recent years; the modern family-friendly SUV has stolen the limelight with its combination of style, class and quality. But people carriers such as the Ford Tourneo Courier still have their followers, and it’s easy to see why: they’re practical and easy to drive while offering low running costs and no-frills packaging.
The Tourneo Courier comes in one spec and with a choice of just two engines: a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel, both with 99bhp and a manual gearbox only. This makes purchasing a breeze, with no difficult spec levels to contend with and additional features, such as sat-nav and parking sensors, available to add as you desire.
Read on to find out how well the Tourneo Courier continues to fight the MPV corner, and for all the best MPV deals, visit our New Car Buying page.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Expecting a 99bhp petrol engine to cope with a car that weighs 1320kg might seem optimistic at best, but don’t fear. It’s the same engine you can have in the Ford Focus Estate, and it doesn’t feel out of place in this bigger package whatsoever. In fact, it even beats the 128bhp 1.5-litre diesel engine in the rival Vauxhall Combo Life for real-world power and progression.
There's actually a surprising amount of kick from the petrol, especially at low revs, which makes pulling away from traffic lights a breeze. Acceleration remains reasonably strong right up to 4000rpm, and its flexible mature means you don’t have to change down too often makes and overtaking surprisingly easy.
We’re yet to try the diesel, but it produces a bit more torque than the petrol and should be a good bet if you see yourself regularly lugging a laden Tourneo up steep inclines.
The Tourneo Courier picks up surface imperfections quite readily, especially if they’re sharp. On a particularly poor town road the constant thumping can prove somewhat grating, but once you get on more open roads with gentler undulations, the Tourneo Courier copes rather better and feels generally quite comfortable.
Body lean is also surprisingly well contained for such a tall car, and this, along with grippy handling and accurate steering, makes the Tourneo Courier easy to manage around corners. The steering is pretty accurate but unnecessarily heavy at parking speeds; like the ride, it lightens up and feels better resolved the faster you go.
Wind and road noise are both noticeable at speed, but the thrummy engine, which is ever present in town, quietens down once you hit a steady 70mph cruise.
The interior layout, fit and finish
There’s no option of electric seat adjustment for the driver, although manual seat height adjustment is included as standard. The steering wheel adjusts for height but not reach and is set quite far forward, so those with short legs might find it too close.
Visibility is excellent, with an expansive windscreen that stretches high above your field of vision. Wide door mirrors make the car easy to manoeuvre, and its straight-edged, boxy shape allows side and rear windows that are deep, wide and unobscured.
The only trim level for the Tourneo Courier is Zetec. You get a DAB radio, Bluetooth and USB connectivity but not an infotainment screen. Instead, there’s a dock that enables you to set your smartphone into the dashboard, but you can upgrade to a 4.0in digital screen or 6.0in colour touchscreen with sat-nav.
A driver’s armrest and coloured cloth upholstery that give the Tourneo Courier a slightly less utilitarian feel than its Connect stablemate, but the rest of the interior is a riot of scratchy plastics. They are, though, at least durable and easy to clean.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
Head room is seriously impressive. It seems to just keep going and going and even the tallest of drivers won’t feel claustrophobic in either the front or rear seats. Rear leg room is rather more limited, though, and long-legged passengers could find their knees brushing against the front seats. With only a minimal floor hump beneath the centre seat, though, an adult in the rear centre seat has plenty of space for their feet.
The Tourneo Courier’s boot is deceptively large. In terms of length, it’s pretty similar to a family SUV, but there’s nearly 4ft of height if you stack your luggage from floor to ceiling, which means you can get a huge amount in. What's more, folding down the back seats more than doubles the load capacity, and there’s the option to flip the entire folded seat squab forward to lengthen the flat floor. However, the rear bench is split 60/40, whereas the Citroën Berlingo has a more useful 40/20/40 configuration.
There’s no option of third-row seats on the Tourneo Courier, either; some rivals, such as the Combo Life, offer five and seven-seat layouts.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
As mentioned, there’s only one trim level, and just two engines to choose from. The diesel naturally demands a premium over the petrol, but neither will set you back more than £17,000. The Berlingo and Combo Life both start at several thousand pounds more.
Standard equipment is plentiful, including heated door mirrors, a heated windscreen, hill start assistance, a DAB radio, Bluetooth, USB connectivity, cruise control, tyre pressure monitoring and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. Options include roof rails, front and rear parking sensors, sat-nav and a stop-start function, and all are reasonably priced.
Running costs are also impressive for this type of car. Official fuel economy for the petrol and diesel engines is 48.7mpg and 62.8mpg respectively, while CO2 emissions are also relatively low, at 131g/km and 117g/km, even without stop-start fitted. The Combo Life has better figures, but then it gets stop-start as standard.
Ford came 18th out of 31 manufacturers in the 2018 What Car? Reliability Survey. That’s pretty average but still better than Citroën managed.