Whether setting off on a long journey with your family or taking two dozen bags of waste to the tip, the Tourneo oozes practicality.

Ford’s practical approach to moving people might not be the most glamorous, but it certainly gets the job done while providing passengers with plenty of room and comfort.

The Ford’s Tourneo Connect looks boxy because it shares much with a van, although it's important to note that its design is not based on a van.

That fact helps to explain why the handling is quite responsive and the ride smoother than you might imagine.

Ford has taken this one step further by basing its new Transit Connect range on a car platform.

The switch means that its mid-size alternative MPV also delivers a more refined and engaging driving experience. The Tourneo Connect, as it’s known, easily stands up when compared to more conventional medium size MPVs.

Factor in a selection of Ford’s latest engines – 1.0-litre three-cylinder and 1.6-litre four-pot petrol plus 1.6-litre diesel – and the Blue Oval’s offering appears to be a good one on paper.

With two rows of seats in the back, the Tourneo proved the ideal vehicle to take on a family weekend away on the Shropshire-Herefordshire border. My children remarked on the ample room they enjoyed in the back, while there was still plenty of space for luggage.

However, if you do get into a tight space, as I did on the narrow winding back streets of Shrewsbury during a stop-off on the way back to Yorkshire, you'll need all your manoeuvring expertise to cajole this lengthy vehicle round the sharper corners.

Where the Tourneo Connect differs from its rivals is in execution: the boxy Ford is no streamlined glamour model.

In terms of cabin access, conventional doors might look good but they’re of little use in tight spaces. Enter the Tourneo Connect with its straight-up-and-down profile and, unsurprisingly, sliding rear doors.

I found that the Tourneo Connect’s upright driving position, great forward visibility, light and airy cabin plus those sliding rear doors made for a practical ownership experience.

The rear doors in particular and the car’s large, vertically opening tailgate ensure that access for people and their belongings is straightforward.

In five-seat guise the Tourneo Connect’s rear seats can be folded up and completely removed if needed, while the seven-seat version boasts the ability to easily convert from passenger car to holdall with a flat load bay.

This came in especially handy when, during a day off work, I decided to tackle the overgrown back garden and landed myself with more than 20 bags of garden rubbish in the process.

Whereas a normal car might have required three or four trips to the tip, some easy folding of back seats meant this flexible machine was transformed very quickly into a van-like vehicle and took care of the load in just one trip, making a tedious afternoon of chores slightly less tedious.

In most scenarios, the engine offered a good balance of performance and economy, with the diesel option, tested here, providing value economy and the ability to maintain a decent pace.

And just because the Tourneo Connect looks like a van with windows doesn’t mean it feels like one inside. The cabin ambience is up there with a Focus, as is the quality and execution of the switchgear, displays and infotainment performance.

The Tourneo Connect will fit in just fine at the rough-tough, utilitarian end of the lifestyle people carrier market. With its upright stance and practical features, it’s a versatile load lugger and refined mode of transport.


Model: Ford Tourneo ConnectTitanium 1.6 TDCi

Price: £21,075 on the road.

Engine: 1.6-litre diesel unit developing 115bhp.?Transmission: Six-speed manual transmission as standard, driving the front wheels.

Performance: Maximum speed 103mph, 0-62mph 14.1 seconds.?CO2 emissions: 130g/km.

Economy: 58.9mpg.

Insurance group: 9E

Will's ratings