The Ford Transit Connect Sport may be one of the prettiest vans around but that doesn’t mean it’s afraid of putting a shift in and getting itself mucky.
A decent enough payload of 718kg is likely to be sufficient for the requirements of most light van operators, and it tops the 658kg provision of the Vauxhall Combo Cargo L1H1, for example. It is within the Combo model range, however, along with those of its fellow PSA Group vans the Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Partner, as well as in the Fiat Professional Doblo Cargo line-up, where you will find the sector’s meatiest payloads of more than 1.0t.
Likely to be of more relevance to businesses running light vans, though, is load capacity, and our short-wheelbase (SWB) Connect Sport offers a 2.9m3 cube to play with. This falls short of the 3.2m3 you get with a Volkswagen Caddy and is also less than (although closer to) the 3.0m3 load box of the Renault Kangoo. Opt for a standard-length Peugeot Partner, Vauxhall Combo or Citroen Berlingo, however, and you get a generous 3.3m3 to fill, and if you need even more space then the 3.4m3 cargo capacity of the L1H1 Fiat Professional Doblo Cargo is the one to go for.
Nevertheless, for our requirements the Connect’s load capacity proved to be sufficient and it happily swallowed bags full of garden waste for recycling and piles of books and second-hand clothing for charity shops.
During a vehicle swap with a colleague it also managed to transport items of furniture from house to house and on one occasion carried an old-school bar table-football table (with legs removed) to a new home.
A ‘slimline’ full-size steel bulkhead protects the cabin’s occupants from items that may spring loose in the rear and threaten decapitation, but with the provision of half a dozen tie-down points this should not be an issue.
The wheel arches in our van’s load bed are protected by ply covers and the floor should remain scratch-free thanks to a rubber carpet, which also helps when rinsing out the likes of mud and sand.
Another advantage of the solid bulkhead is that it allows the cab to heat up quickly on cold days by not letting warm air escape into the back of the van.
Report Card: Load-carrying = 5/5
Decent but not so generous as some light van rivals
Ford Transit Connect Sport SWB 1.5 TDCi
Official combined consumption 56.5mpg
Our average consumption 54.4mpg
Price (ex VAT) £20,045
Service intervals 1yr/20,000mls
Load length 1,558mm
Load width (min/max) 1,249/1,543mm
Load bay height 1,269mm
Load volume 2.9m3
Gross payload 718kg
Engine size/power 1,498cc/120hp
(See below for previous reports)