The standard engine for the Ford Transit Connect is a 1.6 litre Duratorq TDCi diesel. It is available with various configurations and levels of tuning, offering between 74bhp and 113bhp. The highest-powered 113bhp option comes with a six-speed gearbox, while the other configurations offer five forward speeds. Alternatively, the option of a 1.0 litre Ford Ecoboost engine is also available, which offers a very respectable 99bhp.
A couple of different load capacity options are available. The L1 model offers a total load space volume of 2.9 cubic metres and can handle total payloads of up to 630kg. The slightly bigger L2 version of the Connect offers a fairly modest but decidedly noticeable increase in both these figures. It can handle payloads of up to 720kg and offers a 3.6 cubic metre load space. Access to this loading area is available through both side-hinged rear doors and a sliding side door.
The van offers a decidedly spacious cabin with steering-wheel-mounted controls and plenty of storage space. The van also boasts an impressive portfolio of safety, security and drive-assist features. These include central locking, which automatically relocks if no door is opened in 45 seconds, hill-start assist, emergency brake assist, adaptive stability control and a driver's airbag.
Positives and Negatives
One of the great positives of the Ford Transit Connect is the way it drives. Most if not all of the Transit range can offer good steering and handling, and with the benefit of its small size the Connect doesn't really feel significantly different from driving around an ordinary family car. The suspension is well balanced, offering a comfortable ride even with a full load while managing to maintain handling and road-holding with very little leaning on tight bends.
For the majority of buyers, one of the 1.6 litre diesel configurations will definitely be the engine of choice. These offer excellent performance and impressive fuel economy, achieving figures around the 60-70mpg range depending on tuning and on which of the various eco options the van in question is equipped with. The 1.0 litre Ecoboost petrol engine, which may be the best choice for some predominantly urban van users, delivers a respectable 50mpg and also performs very well.
Negatives for the Connect are minor. The seats are not as comfortable as they could be, and this can start to become quite noticeable after a long day's drive. The diesel engines can be a little on the loud side at high speeds. Though the lack of an automatic option may not be a great surprise, this is nonetheless something that might have been a nice addition to the range
The Ford Transit Connect is a very solid van, representing an excellent option in the small van category with few drawbacks. The niche that the Connect fills is a crowded one with lots of competition, and while it is an impressive vehicle for both performance and loading space, it is not the very best in either category. Nonetheless, it is an excellent all-rounder with good fuel economy and is definitely a strong choice.