Ford Transit Connect: Making a musical connection
Can Van Advisor's long term Ford's Transit Connect cope with a house move and a less than usual transportation request?
Okay, so it might not be everyone’s first question to ask of a van, but in this instance ‘will the Connect take a double-bass?’ took centre stage. Otherwise, it was the usual house-move scenario, complicated here by the fact that Mi-Ji is a musician. The answer? Yes, Ford’s smallest van to be called Transit is more than up to the task, managing to consume all of my son’s fiancée’s worldly possessions as well as her outsized musical instrument of choice.
In fact, aside from its eminent practicality, the Connect proved ideal for such a task, as a single tankful of precious diesel just about covered the 500-mile-plus London/Leeds two-day return trip and managed to impress with the manner in which it was achieved, too. This is a van that is a delight to drive, such long spells at the wheel proving relaxed and comfortable for both driver and (one – see below) passenger.
In this application at least, Ford’s 2-litre diesel engine is responsive and quiet, the gearbox easy and slick, and the ride noticeably compliant, both unloaded (two up, London-Leeds) and loaded (three up, plus a full load bay, Leeds-London). And, while not everyone wants his or her van to possess the persona of a car, in the Ford it’s so easy to forget that you’re driving a van.
There’s more than adequate equipment to ease your journey, including connectivity (pardon the pun) in the Connect that is second to none. Without pre-knowledge of the Ford SYNC voice-activated technology, my son, having failed to discover a USB connection for his iPhone, quickly managed to set up a conversation – literally – with this Bluetooth-based system. In no time at all we were enjoying (?) his entire music library but, more importantly, able to take advantage of his smartphone’s satnav app.
Gripes? The only significant negative encountered was the questionable provision for a second passenger; while the bench seat’s central space is usefully occupied by the fold-down desk and storage area, fitting humanity into the space liberated when the squab is folded up is another matter entirely. Even a 5ft 4in Korean female found it challenging to get comfortable, as her legs were constantly at odds with the protruding central console housing the gearshift.
Overall, however, for me Ford has done it again – the Transit Connect is the one to beat in the considerably competitive small panel van market