What Car? says...
The Ford Transit Connect dates back to 2002 when it was launched as a replacement for the Escort van, but the city van has come a long way since then. Now regarded as one of the best small vans in the segment, the Transit Connect is more efficient, safer and better suited for all manner of uses than ever before.
A 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel engine now powers the majority of the range, with three different outputs of 74bhp, 99bhp and 118bhp which are rounded up to 75, 100 and 120 on the badges. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard on the two lower outputs, while the 118bhp unit gets a six-speed manual. An automatic gearbox option, called Powershift, is available on the 99bhp and 118bhp engines. If you’re inclined to opt for petrol, Ford even has a 99bhp 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine available which could make ideal sense for use in cities and with lighter loads.
Two lengths of Transit Connect are available, badged as L1 and L2, but there is just one height option. In addition to panel van variants, there is also a Kombi van with up to seven seats or a five-seat double cab. Buyers looking for a more car-like version will find a Ford Tourneo Connect model is available.
As with the rest of the Ford commercial vehicle range including the Ford Transit Custom and Ford Transit, there are Base, Trend and Limited trim levels. The Transit Connect also comes with Econetic fuel saving equipment including advanced battery management, acceleration control, switchable speed limiter, gearshift indicator and automatic start-stop.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Despite the latest Transit Connect having a downsized engine, the 1.5-litre diesel unit is an ideal match to the small city van. Of the three power outputs available, the 118bhp is definitely our preferred choice.
While the two smaller engines are both well suited to the Connect, the addition of the six-speed manual gearbox in the range-topping engine transforms the van. While the Powershift automatic is also well regarded, the manual gearbox has a smooth and pleasing action that complements the car's driving characteristics.
Handling is accurate and very responsive, with just the right amount of feedback from the road. Whether laden or unladen, the suspension performs admirably, making the Transit Connect one of the most comfortable vans in the sector.
A mention must be given to the Ecoboost petrol option, because there is no doubting it is a fantastic engine. However, unless you plan to transport very little weight, the lack of pulling power for city driving is a real drawback.
The best-performing diesel engine for fuel consumption is the 99bhp Econetic with an official figure of 67.3mpg. Non-Econetic vans have an official 58.9mpg and regularly achieve mid-to-high 40s in real-world conditions.
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