- Decent fuel economy
- Range of models
- Value for money
- Petrol engine lacks grunt
- Some rivals offer more
- Too many optional extras
The Ford Transit Connect is a small van that’s getting on now, but a new replacement is scheduled to be unveiled and available in 2022. Until then, drivers still get a cracking small van that delivers a great driving experience and is fairly cheap to run.
The Ford Transit Connect is a small van in the Blue Oval’s van line-up and this model was unveiled in 2013, revamped in 2018 and again in 2020 which saw the addition of the Active Lifestyle version. A new model will be unveiled in late 2021 and available the following year.
The Transit Connect features a six-speed manual transmission as standard for all engines. Customers who prefer an automatic gearbox now have the option of Ford’s eight-speed automatic transmission, offered with the 100PS and 120PS 1.5 EcoBlue engine variants, and engineered to further optimise fuel efficiency and deliver responsive performance.
Features for the Transit Connect include:
- Adaptive Shift Scheduling, which assesses individual driving styles to optimise gearshift timings. The system can identify uphill and downhill gradients and hard cornering, and adjust gearshifts accordingly for a more stable, engaging and refined driving experience
- Adaptive Shift Quality Control, which assesses vehicle and environmental information to help adjust clutch pressures for consistently smooth gearshifts. The technology can also adjust shift smoothness to suit driving style. The eight-speed automatic’s skip-shift and direct downshift capabilities deliver the freedom to select the most appropriate gear by allowing the transmission to skip a gear when it is not required.
Faster, more precise shifts are enabled by a Casting-Integrated Direct-Acting Solenoid, and fuel efficiency is enhanced with ultra-low viscosity oil. The transmission has been tested to Ford’s ultra-tough commercial vehicle durability standards.
Fuel efficiency can be boosted further using two driver-assistance technologies:
- Ford EcoSelect, operated by a switch on the centre console, allows the driver to select an ECO driving mode with revised engine calibration
- Ford EcoMode, designed to coach the driver to adopt more economical driving behaviour, based on continual analysis of driving style and fuel consumption, and providing feedback to the driver via the instrument cluster display.
The new Transit Connect continues to offer commercial vehicle operators an outstanding breadth of capabilities, with short and long wheelbase options providing load volumes up to 3.6m3, payload capacity ranging from 410kg to 900kg, and body styles including van, kombi and double-cab-in-van.
Service intervals for petrol variants are now variable up to two years/18,000 miles. For diesel manual models the intervals are variable up to two years/18,000 miles, with a compulsory inspection after one year; automatic vehicles are variable up to two years/12,500 miles, with a compulsory inspection after one year.
Reasons to buy
If you are looking for a small van that offers a car-like driving experience and lots of practicality, plus a cosy cabin (that is vastly improved from the original version), then the Ford Transit Connect is the small van for you. The Transit Connect Active range is worth checking out, though it’s really geared towards those wanting a lifestyle vehicle for outdoor adventures, but it may also meet a wide range of commercial vehicle needs.
If you like the Ford Transit Connect, then consider the Volkswagen Caddy or the Vauxhall Combo.
One of the big attractions for the Ford Transit Connect is for its running costs. It enjoys reasonable mpg though the EcoBoost 100 petrol engine returns just 46 mpg and lacks torque when the van is fully loaded.
The 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel engines return a more impressive 64 mpg in both L1 and L2 body guises, though the fuel economy drops with the eight-speed automatic transmission versions to around 57 mpg. There’s also a stop-start version to boost fuel economy and a speed limiter to reduce fuel consumption.
The Ford Transit Connect is a reliable van with low running costs and the service intervals are every 24 months or 18,000 miles.
The Ford Transit Connect in the L1 guise offers a load volume of 2.9m³ and the payload ranges from 579kg to 718kg – depending on the gearbox and engine chosen.
Opt for the L2 guise and there’s a load volume of 3.6m³ since the load length extends to 2,153mm, rather than the L1’s length of 1,753mm.
The L2 has a maximum payload of 876kg.
It’s worth noting that some rivals who have larger payloads, for example, the Citroen e-Berlingo, can carry more than 1,000kg.
However, the L1 can carry two Euro pallets, and the L2 has the option of a load-through bulkhead.
Access to the load space is easy with 50:50 split backdoors that will open to 180°, and there’s a sliding side door to make things easier too.
Technology & Safety
Since the Ford Transit Connect is getting on, there’s a reasonable amount of equipment, though there’s a lot of optional kit that some rivals will add as standard.
Standard features include electronic stability control, emergency brake assist and hill start assist.
Options include the active city stop system that will apply the brakes automatically to avoid an accident.
There’s also traffic sign recognition, lane keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control. The options list offers a rear camera and rear parking sensors.
There’s just one driver’s airbag, the passenger airbag is an option, while some models also feature side-impact airbags.
There’s a lot to like about the Ford Transit Connect, it really does deliver on what most van makers are searching for and that’s car-like handling.
It’s a rewarding van to drive around town, and it’s a smooth motorway cruiser too.
Overall, the handling is composed with little body roll, and the steering gives good feedback.
It is undoubtedly one of the best vans to drive in its class, though the suspension does deliver a harsh ride on rough roads and when there’s no cargo, the ride can be firm.
There’s a good choice of engines, and most drivers will be happy with the diesel unit producing 74 bhp with a decent torque range and an impressive six-speed manual box.