First drive: Ford Transit Connect 1.6 95bhp L1 van review



Ford is confident that the new Transit Connect van will leapfrog its rivals to become the third biggest selling van in the UK, beaten only by Ford’s two larger Transit variants.

Phil Hollins, director of fleet operations at Ford, wants to see “more than 20,000” registrations a year with most going to the corporate sector. That compares to around 8,000 for the outgoing Connect.

Are his bullish aspirations well-founded?

To succeed, the Connect needs to meet a number of core fleet criteria: fit for purpose, cost of ownership, loadspace, reliability and driver experience.

Loadspace: the Connect can accommodate two europallets, while the load-through bulkhead fits items up to three metres long in a short wheelbase van (L1 – 2,662mm) and up to 3.5m in a long wheelbase model (L2 – 3,067mm).

Note, though, that this is a £130+VAT option on the base model.

In addition, the bulkhead has been sculpted to create room for an 8x4 board if required. The load height of 1,270mm is the only option, and payload ranges from 600kg to a class-leading 1,000kg.

That’s a clear tick then. But do the cost of ownership figures stack up?

Ford has addressed this issue in a number of ways. First it has introduced the most fuel efficient engines in the sector.

The most popular fleet engine will be the 1.6-litre 95bhp Duratorq, which offers 115g/km and 64.2mpg with stop-start, while an Econetic version lowers this to 105g/km and 70.6mpg, although note that this is achieved by setting the speed limiter at 62mph.

Ford has tackled SMR costs by focusing on ways to extend the life of both scheduled and non-scheduled maintenance items and make any repairs easier and quicker to perform.

Larger tyres (16-inch instead of 15-inch) extend life by around 10%, while improving durability and protection.

Attention-to-detail design includes bending the exhaust inlet pipe to ease access to items such as starter motors, enabling speedy repairs and less off-road time.

Other innovations are intended to cut the cost of accident repair, for example raising headlamps to protect them in frontal crashes and splitting the bumper into three sections to limit the cost of replacement.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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  • Tom Stack - 14/01/2014 17:01

    I have the connect L1 95bhp trend model on order for late February & can't wait ... (have I made the right decision ?) I think so . The van will look smart & thst is a big plus in my business !

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  • Barry Bicknell - 20/04/2014 20:11

    Good site the connect looks good

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  • coldair - 03/02/2015 10:04

    Got the 115 L2 back in August 11000 on clock now with no problems. Van usually sitting around 300 kg below max gross weight hitting 40 mpg but will do a lot more on days that there is no hurry quieter & smother than last Caddy. Ford you really need to add 2.0L engine to the range we need a bit more torque till the turbo kicks in.

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  • Runaway - 07/01/2016 16:12

    I had a L2 LTD - Gone back to the Caddy Block cracked.. new engine New engine was jumpy and lost power (fault never found) Leaked Central locking stopped working EML light on all the time (issue never found) DAB & Bluetooth is intermittent Paint finish is crap Every morning clutch was sticky - hard to get into 1st gear Heated windscreen stopped on drivers side Fan squeaked heated seats could fry an egg My opinions: Great to drive when its not in the workshop Good looks and smart Loads of kit.... HOWEVER Sun visor is too low, push it forward, hit a pot hole it jumps up so you can't reach it No where to put a sat nav Overhead storage shelf is made from spit and tissue load through flap is great if the van is clear but can't get a tipple ladder through (or steps) With the kids in the van and they want your phone try getting it from the storage under the seat without stopping for everyone to get out! 3rd seat is pointless as teenagers still can't fit in. steering wheel controls are too far back in the steering wheel I normally end up changing the station instead of volume. Information screens are too small Build and quality looks great but the plastics are cheap and poor quality - old connect was more solidly built Now back in a Caddy customers comment I like the van!!!

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