Seven-seat Grand Tourneo Connect MPV is a Ford, but not as know it, as the rebadging alliance with VW bears fruit
4.0 out of 5
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It might be a rebadging exercise, but Ford’s Grand Tourneo Connect version of the VW Caddy is an impressive vehicle that offers incredible practicality, strong efficiency, decent value and strong tech. Like many other Ford models, it also drives well and makes most sense in the diesel auto form tested here, even if it is at the top end of the line-up in Active trim. More buyers might prefer an SUV these days, but for those with an active, outdoor lifestyle, the Grand Tourneo is certainly worth a look.
The Ford Grand Tourneo Connect is the first fruit of the partnership between the American giant and Volkswagen. The two signed an agreement that will involve Ford rebadging some of the German firm’s passenger-carrying models (including EVs that we should see soon), while VW will do the same with Ford’s commercial vehicles – including the Ranger pick-up truck.
The signs are obvious with this car, particularly inside, because the Grand Tourneo Connect’s dashboard layout is lifted directly from the VW Caddy.
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In many respects this is no bad thing. You get lots of equipment on our high-spec Active model, including a 10-inch infotainment screen with the latest smartphone connectivity and sat-nav. However, because it’s a VW system, rather than Ford’s, the former’s frustrating touch-sensitive climate and volume controls are also present. That means it’s not the easiest to use, even if the graphics and responses to your inputs are sharp.
You also get heated front seats and automatic air-conditioning, keyless go and 17-inch alloy wheels housed in arches clad with black plastic. This, and similar trim on the bumpers and sills, gives the seven-seat Grand Tourneo Connect an SUV-inspired look. Ford calls it a Multi-Activity Vehicle, but you’ll know it as a conventional MPV or people carrier, and even this £29,350 diesel auto Active model in long-wheelbase form still offers decent value for money given the space and kit on offer. Cheaper models are available.
Car group tests
While the brand might have tried to jazz it up with a crossover look, Ford (or should that be VW?) can be proud of the practicality here. The huge sliding doors give superb access to the spacious cabin. There’s simply masses of legroom in the rear and headroom will never be an issue; small kids will be able to stand on the back seats and still not touch the roof lining.
Access to the third row of seats is a little trickier; all rear seats can fold and tumble, Ford says, so you get there by folding the second row outer backrests and climbing in. Once you’re installed in the rearmost seats, there’s an acceptable level of legroom and children should be happy back there.
In seven-seat configuration, the boot space is limited, but not by as much as you might think. There’s still plenty of room for suitcases and weekend bags, while with all seats in place the Ford will still swallow a golf bag across its load bay; with all rear seats removed, it’ll take loads up to 2.2m long as well, while there’s a total 3.1m2 of load space, so it can double as a van, too.
Our test car was fitted with the 120bhp 2.0-litre TDI engine and seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. With 320Nm of torque, it’s punchy, delivering keen performance even with a full load on board. The gearbox’s changes are swift and refinement is strong – it reminds you how diesel still has a place if the execution is right.
Speaking of which, based on VW’s MQB platform, the Grand Tourneo Connect shows van-like practicality doesn’t have to come at the expense of handling or comfort because its steering is just the right weight and offers precision. Thanks to the car’s height, there is some body roll, but the suspension contains this pretty well. Throw in claimed efficiency of 53.3mpg and 140g/km CO2 and it’s a solid dynamic performance.
|Model:||Ford Grand Tourneo Connect 2.0 122 EcoBlue Auto Active|
|Engine:||2.0-litre 4cyl turbodiesel|
|Transmission:||Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, front-wheel drive|
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