Company Car Today

Long term tests

Long Term Test: Ford Transit Connect Active

4 November 2021

Ford Transit Connect Active LTT 2021

The Transit Connect is a great van to drive anyway, but the Active’s added kit takes this ability and gives it a little sprinkle.

Ford Transit Connect Active LTT 2021Because our Transit Connect is a manual, you have the ability to add an optional limited-slip differential that is principally designed to improve its grip on slippery surfaces – wet fields, icy tracks, that sort of thing. The slightly increased ride height (24mm at the front but just 9mm at the rear) is intended to assist with this off-road ability.

However, the limited-slip differential also brings an extra bonus in that it makes the Transit Connect even more entertaining to drive. It means that has a phenomenal amount of grip while cornering on the road, too, as it can carry lots of speed through corners, around roundabouts and the like.

Of course this is not something that would be a good idea should you be using the van for its proper purpose with a full loading bay – and the limitations of the engine keep it in check somewhat too – but it is a little added bonus for those that want a vehicle that is enjoyable to drive as well as practical.

TOM WEBSTER

The stats

Ford Transit Connect Active 1.5 L2

P11D: £27,546 (excl. VAT)

Official efficiency: 61.4

Our efficiency: 48.8

CO2: 125g/km

19 October 2021

Ford Transit Connect Active LTT 2021

I’ve had reason to press the Transit Connect into the sort of jobs it is designed for of late – small scale moving of the sort of things that you don’t want to get damaged.

This, and the increasingly dark evenings, have illustrated how a few touches can really make the difference in a loading bay. The lining on the floor of the Transit Connect is a hard plastic, which is sealed at all the edges so there is next to no chance of it coming loose, even with a fair amount of abuse.

Not only does this mean that the chair that I carried of late was less likely to get damaged thanks to the more forgiving surface underneath it, it also meant that I didn’t have to muck around with loads of ropes to lash it down as it gripped on the surface that bit better.

Ford Transit Connect Active LTT 2021The second element that made life that much easier is one I hadn’t appreciated in the summer months – the light in the loading bay is phenomenally bright for its comparatively small size. The fact there is only one meant that it didn’t strike me before either – often when a loading bay is well lit it has strip lighting running the length of the roof or similar.

The downside of the single light is that it means there could be a few dark spots on occasions, especially as the light is on the same side as the sliding door, so you might still have to resort to a torch if you are hunting for something small and don’t want to get everything out.

Overall, though, the lining and lighting combine to give the Transit Connect more of a car-like loading bay – the lack of slippery painted metal surfaces makes it much easier to pop things in for short trips.

TOM WEBSTER

Tester's notes

• The long gearing in the Transit Connect means that I’ve often found it takes a while to get into sixth gear, and it is generally not until I’m up to cruising speed on a motorway that I can justify that final shift.

• Having the USB slot below the seat is proving more useful with familiarity. While the seal isn’t so tight that you can’t trail the lead out without damaging it, it is far easier to leave your phone in the little cubby underneath, leaving it out of sight and removing temptation to steal a glance.

The stats

Ford Transit Connect Active 1.5 L2

P11D: £27,546 (excl. VAT)

Official efficiency: 61.4

Our efficiency: 48.8

CO2: 125g/km

5 October 2021

Ford Transit Connect Active LTT 2021

I’ve had reason to be playing around with the Transit Connect’s through-loading hatch of late and have been struck by a couple of features.

The first point is perhaps the only negative element of it. The hatch is only as wide as the passenger seat nearest the door, which means that it is relatively narrow – this is a hatch that is only really designed for long, thin items like poles or similar. It would struggle to take even a relatively small ladder if you had it laid down flat.

Ford Transit Connect Active LTT 2021It is taller than it is wide, though, so you might be able to get a ladder through if you propped it up. This is where the first good element comes in – the seat back has a dip in it, which helps prevent any items in there rolling from side to side across the cabin. Handy. Said seat is also easy to drop down, with the pull handle marked in red.

My favourite thing about the through-loading hatch is the simplest thing about it, though. It’s part of a metal bulkhead and it is held in place, both while open and closed, by a strong magnet. This means there are no fiddly plastic latches that are tricky to operate while wearing gloves and are liable to break off if hit by an errant tool or similar in the back. In short, it’s a neat solution that seems cleverer by virtue of the fact that it isn’t more common.

TOM WEBSTER

The stats

Ford Transit Connect Active 1.5 L2

P11D: £27,546 (excl. VAT)

Official efficiency: 61.4

Our efficiency: 48.8

CO2: 125g/km

22 September 2021

Ford Transit Connect Active LTT 2021

A few longer trips in the Transit Connect has added several hundred miles to the odometer since our last report, and given a little insight into the motorway manners of the small van.

In short, they have been pretty exemplary. The sixth gear, often a feature left off vans with comparably small engines, is a welcome addition as the engine sits at comfortably low revs. The solid bulkhead is a blessed relief too, as it keeps any booming, echoing noises in the loading bay where they belong.

Ford Transit Courier 2021A recent drive in a smaller Transit Courier (pictured) showed how intrusive and wearing this noise can be. Even though the van in question was a petrol the noise in the cabin by comparison was deafening. I can see the merit to them if your van has glazed rear doors but quite why any van that has solid rear doors needs a mesh bulkhead is beyond me. A solid bulkhead would always be one of the first ticks on the options list for me.

TOM WEBSTER

The stats

Ford Transit Connect Active 1.5 L2

P11D: £27,546 (excl. VAT)

Official efficiency: 61.4

Our efficiency: tbc

CO2: 125g/km

6 September 2021

Occasionally one wonders what would be the result if van makers were allowed to throw all their toys at a vehicle. Normally, sensible bean counters somewhere along the decision process stop the dream before it becomes a reality, but they seem to have been absent in the creation of the Ford Transit Connect Active.

If a commercial vehicle typifies the term ‘lifestyle’ then this is it. Standard kit includes luxuries such as 17-inch alloy wheels, rear view camera, dual zone air conditioning, the latest Sync 3 infotainment system, leather seats, cornering front fog lights, and a couple of smart-looking upgrades including a black mesh grille and a set of roof rails. Our version has had several more toys thrown at it though, with adaptive cruise control and a heated driver’s seat two notable features.

What is perhaps feels a little incongruous next to all this luxury kit, though, is the raised ride height (it’s 24mm at the front and 9mm at the rear) and limited-slip differential. This is a van you can look stylish in and then make short work of a trip across fields and through woods, all at once.

The engine doesn’t quite provide the same level of luxury as it is just the 120PS version of the 1.5-litre diesel that features heavily in the Transit Connect range – you don’t get any extra power or pace versus the lesser models.

This means that the fun, and there is plenty to be had, comes from how the Active handles rather than how quickly it goes. The limited slip diff means that it is really quite entertainingly quick around corners.

The coming few months will see this, and its more conventional practicality, put to test.

TOM WEBSTER

The stats

Ford Transit Connect Active 1.5 L2

P11D: £27,546 (excl. VAT)

Official efficiency: 61.4

Our efficiency: TBC

CO2: 125g/km