Determined to retain its long-held position as the UK’s light commercial market leader, a country mile ahead of its closest rival, Ford has been busy upgrading its line-up.
Among those vans that have received a makeover is the Transit Connect.
The latest version gets a revamped front with a new three-bar Transit grille, slimmer headlights and other styling changes. Front-wheel aero deflectors and a new axle aero shield all help to cut aerodynamic drag by between 2% and 4%, says Ford, and Active Grille Shutter makes a contribution too. It closes automatically to reduce drag when a cooling flow of air to the radiator is not required.
The cab interior has been reworked as well, with a revised instrument panel featuring a new central control area.
Pop open the lid of the bonnet and you will see either a new 1.5-litre Ecoblue diesel at 75hp, 100hp or 120hp, or a new version of the 1.0-litre Ecoboost three-cylinder petrol engine with 100hp on tap. It features cylinder deactivation, whereby one of the cylinders temporarily stops working to aid fuel economy if you are running lightly laden along a flat stretch of highway and don’t require quite so much pulling power.
A six-speed manual gearbox now comes as standard across the range with a new eight-speed gearbox offered as an option.
Customers can choose from either short- or long-wheelbase models. The former offers a 2.9m3 cargo box expanding to 3.6m3 if you opt for the latter. Double Cab-in-Van variants are also available with rear seats plus a cargo area behind them.
The spec walk is Base, Trend and Limited and will soon be joined by the Sport version. Launched at the recent IAA Hanover Commercial Vehicle Show in Germany, it comes with alloy wheels, an exterior styling kit and matt-black sports stripes with silver or orange accents.
The Connect is being marketed with a variety of driver assistance features including Intelligent Speed Limiter, which enables automatic adjustment of the van’s maximum speed to ensure it remains within legal limits; Pre-Collision Assist with the Pedestrian Detection emergency braking system; and Side Wind Stabilisation.
We got to grips with a long-wheelbase 100hp 1.5TDCI Ecoblue 210 in Trend trim – and weweren’t disappointed.