Ford was late into the true compact van class, hanging onto the cheaper option of side-panelling estates and hatchbacks it wrung out the very last drop of light commercial value from the Escort and Fiesta foundations, before starting afresh. Even so, the Transit Connect’s arrival in 2002 was hardly radical. I clearly remember first seeing it at the NEC that year whilst beside me a member Citroën’s UK PR office was explaining to their non-technical French colleague that the Ford’s rear suspension was of a type that PSA hard abandoned a decade earlier! Leaf springs aside, the Connect ticked the basic boxes and Ford’s fleet foothold was assured. It was updated in 2009, with a second generation arriving in 2012 – with two length options. This one got facelifted in 2019 and it’s that model we focus upon here.

With wheelbases of 2,660 or 3,060mm, it is either 4.4 or 4.8m in overall length, 2.13m wide and 1.86m high. So, it will fit into domestic repairs and facilities management operations very nicely. Inside the load lengths are 1,750 or 2,150mm, with a maximum width of 1,535mm pinching to 1,225mm between the wheel arches. With internal headroom at 1,270mm it gives load volumes of 2.9 or 3.6m2. All bang-on for this class. Ford designates the Connect models, like the full-size Transit, by their basic gross vehicle mass, naming them from 200 (2,090kg) to 240 (2,375 kg). These equate to payloads from 579kg through half a dozen variations to 865kg. The optional load-through bulkhead offers accommodation of narrow loads up to 3 or 3.4m respectively, in short and long wheelbase models.

In the cab it’s all typical Ford LCV fare, with items donated from both car and van ranges, decent ergonomics, good visibility and a great driving position. The base version is as you’d expect with plenty of storage, DAB radio and Bluetooth. Going up to the Trend model is worthwhile since it brings height adjustable driver’s seat, electrically heated windscreen and mirrors, while the Limited adds air-conditioning, cruise control, and automatic lights and wipers with brighter LED load bay lighting. Beyond that is the Sport, with dual-zone A/C, roof rails, alloy wheels and go-faster stripes. Power comes courtesy of the 1.5-litre TDCi unit with 75, 100 or 120hp up for grabs, 

This engine needs a service every two years or 18,000 miles with a manual gearbox, the excellent eight-speed automatic requires attention each 12,500 miles and while reliability seems generally good – albeit with some reports of early clutch wear and a few paintwork issues – build quality sits between the French and German rivals. The Transit Connect is good to drive too, higher payload versions are a little bouncy when unladen, but handling is almost Focus-good with urban or motorway environments met with equal aplomb. Overall then, the late starter has come good.

Five best options

1) 100hp engine

2) Automatic transmission

3) Long wheelbase

4) Trend trim

5) Limited trim

Five best avoided

1) 75 hp engine

2) 120hp engine

3) Base trim

4) Sport trim

5) Short wheelbase

Second-hand buys





Price ex.VAT

1.5 L1 Trend





1.5 L1 Limited 





1.5  L1 Trend





1.5 L1 Limited 





1.5  L1 Trend