New car review
by Andy Enright
The seven-seat Ford Grand Tourneo Connect is a rugged but cleverly-engineered people mover that’s sourced from commercial vehicle roots but offers enough sophistication to suit the needs of many growing families.
When used as a five-seater, you get a huge amount of useful luggage space.
Ford won’t sell you the Grand Tourneo Connect with the 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine as it would probably struggle with the bigger body, plus they’ve also decided to leave the sweet Bridgend-built 150PS 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol engine on the shelf.
This means you get a 1.6-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel engine with a choice of 95 and 115PS power outputs. The former gets a five-speed manual box, the latter a six-speed.
The Tourneo Grand Connect isn’t the swiftest car in its class, registering a 15.1 second sprint to 62mph with the 95PS engine, while the 115PS powerplant shaves a second off. Top speeds are 100 and 103mph respectively.
You get electrically-assisted power steering and a fairly conventional strut front suspension and torsion beam rear.
Judging how much and how little styling to throw at a no-nonsense model like this is a tough call. Certainly, the Grand Tourneo Connect needs to retain not only a modest price but also the inherent space and durability that’s built into every Ford commercial vehicle.
However, it also needs the sort of features that will make it appeal to private buyers - which means giving it a bit more than a place to put a cup-a-soup and a rolled up copy of The Sun.
The styling features Ford’s familiar ‘Kinetic Design’ look with a big trapezoid grille and swept-back headlights.
The flanks don’t have a whole lot of shape in them, but that’s excusable if sliding rear doors are fitted.
Every rear seat has integral head restraints and, of course, three-point seatbelts.
Split 60/40, the seat backs also fold and tumble and can be removed, allowing you to maximise the cargo space.
The rear seats can be folded flat into the footwell for maximum luggage space and there’s an optional third row of seats split 50/50 which can also be folded flat.
The Grand Tourneo Connect is a car that has been launched with a minimum of fanfare. In fact, I’d even go as far as to say that Ford might well have shot itself in the foot in not making greater play here.
Buyers looking for a rugged vehicle that doesn’t cost the earth and which can seat seven aren’t particularly well served at the moment.
Full-sized MPVs and seven-seater SUVs aren’t cheap and if you already have that many mouths to feed, splashing out thirty grand for a car might not be top of the family priority list.
As an exercise in making the right calls between sophistication and simplicity, Ford has got this one spot on.
Even if you don’t need to seat seven, it’s still a better buy than the five-seater purely because of all the luggage space you get when five-up.
If you want to get one over on most MPV buyers, the Grand Tourneo Connect looks like the inside tip.
AT A GLANCE
CAR: Ford Grand Tourneo Connect
PRICES: £16,985-£20,235 - on the road
INSURANCE GROUPS: 9-11 [est]
CO2 EMISSIONS: 121-130g/km
PERFORMANCE: [115PS] Max Speed 103mph/0-62mph 14.1s
FUEL CONSUMPTION: [115PS] (combined) 57.6 mpg
STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: Twin front, side & side curtain airbags/ABS/EBA/Roll Over Mitigation
WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE? Length/Width/Height 4818/2137/1840 mm