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[NEWS] Ford Grand Tourneo Connect
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Ford Grand Tourneo Connect


ford tourneo 36 front tracking
All-new van-derived seven-seater is first product of tie-up between Ford and Volkswagen

This new Ford Grand Tourneo Connect (catchy little name, right?) is more significant than one might imagine.Just the latest in a line of unassuming, business-targeted vans with seats and windows it may well be, but it’s also the first product to emerge from a tie-up between two giants of the automotive world, Ford and Volkswagen, which in the middle of this decade will yield a new generation of electric cars for Europe, replacing the Focus and probably also the Fiesta. Gulp.We might therefore see the Grand Tourneo as much as a bellwether for one of Britain’s most beloved car brands as a niche new seven-seater.‘Niche’ it is more so now than ever, for whereas the previous Tourneo family had a host of rivals to face, this one only really enjoys a sibling rivalry with the new Volkswagen Caddy and a challenge from upmarket in the form of the all-new Mercedes-Benz T-Class. Renault no longer offers a passenger Kangoo, while the Citroën Berlingo, Fiat Doblò, Peugeot Rifter and Vauxhall Combo Life (all essentially the same vehicle) recently went electric-only. Quite significantly, one could alternatively point to the new Dacia Jogger, an elongated, seven-seat hatchback, as a rival but van-derived MPVs like the Ford tend to be used more by businesses and those with mobility issues, prominently including wheelchair users.When ordering your new Tourneo, you must as before choose between two wheelbases, of 2755mm and 2970mm, and then five or seven seats. Our test car is a long and fully loaded one, and it’s in off-road-you-like Active trim, which sits between Titanium and Sport. You can also have a 112bhp 1.5-litre petrol or 120bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine with a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic gearbox. Our car has the latter of each.How obvious are the Volkswagen links? Ford has done a good job of giving the front end a different ‘face’ (far more than some badge engineers have bothered with lately), if the side profile and even the tailgate remain untouched. To be honest, that doesn’t really matter in this market, does it? Nor does the fact that it unashamedly has a VW key with a Ford logo.What is a problem, though, is the dashboard. I’m getting tired of writing this same stuff over and over again, but no, it’s absolutely not acceptable to have the air conditioning controls operated by touch rather than by feel. Especially not when you adjust the temperature with a stupid slider thing that doesn’t light up at night and therefore becomes invisible.Trying to adjust the fan speed on a test drive at night made me grateful, for the first time ever, for lane-keeping assistance, keeping this 1.8m-wide van on the right side of the road while I furiously fumbled.The Volkswagen DNA also means the wider infotainment system is just needlessly complex and difficult to use. I stuck CarPlay on and left it there, because at least Apple knows how to design slick software.Exploring the cabin, there’s much more to praise. Your first impression is that it feels very airy, thanks to an enormous expanse of a windscreen and tall windows, plus a high roofline. The two front occupants have all the space they could wish for. If they’re not selfish, you could quite easily get five adults into this space, with two children behind – even shorter adults (like my 5ft 9in self) on shorter journeys.Access is easy, too, thanks to a big sliding door on either side of the car and little toggles that easily pull the middle row out of the way. You can also remove the seats entirely, should you wish, turning a tiny boot into a big one, then in turn an enormous, van-equivalent one. There are myriad oddment storage areas inside, too, including a handy little rubbish bin.The Tourneo is now based on the Volkswagen Group’s much-used MQB car platform, whereas previously it was derived from the ubiquitous Transit van, and it certainly feels more car-like to drive than I had been expecting.I’m not going to lie about having driven the previous Tourneo, released in 2014, but I read that that, too, was impressively good in the ride, handling and steering departments, so returning buyers shouldn’t have much to worry about here.The ride is generally comfortable, even if it is prone to thumping when it encounters a particularly difficult intrusion (hardly a surprise when it’s a big, mostly empty, 1.7-tonne metal box). And you can corner with confidence, because the Tourneo nowhere near as ready to understeer as the uninitiated might think.Perhaps the only thing from our 2014 road test that no longer quite rings true is this comment: “It steers nearly as well as a Fiesta or Focus, with linearity, accuracy and just the kind of torque build-up off of straight-ahead”. Look, the steering absolutely isn't bad, but the Focus comparison seems questionable now. It’s more Skoda than ST, let’s put it that way.How about the price, then? Thirty grand seems quite steep, although this is a fairly highly specified model, with loads of technology, including that 10.0in touchscreen system and the reassurance (or otherwise) of an absolute slew of active safety systems.My taxi driver neighbour, who uses an old Peugeot Partner Tepee, was tempted over to ask a few questions, and he sure thought the Tourneo was nice, although his comment on the price was: “Really? You could get a Mercedes for that.” Score one for the new T-Class in that case, then.But almost nothing is cheap nowadays – the average car now costs about £42,000 – and the Tourneo doesn’t lack anything that potential buyers would want or need, save for perhaps a wheelchair ramp, which is going to be fitted by the aftermarket for a few grand anyway. So it seems fair.Then again, if the Jogger does suit your MPV needs, may I point you in its £16,645 (no, I’m being serious) direction?



https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-review/for...-connect-0
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