There is a growing market of vehicles that are vans in the week and family cars at night or at the weekend. The first few were based on larger vans and to be truthful are more expensive than today’s crop of mid-size van/family cars. Early to the market with the Vito Dualiner were Mercedes-Benz. Already a very capable van that is available as a small minibus/people carrier, the Dualiner adds a 5 or 6 seat people carrier to a load space at least equivalent of a small van. But small vans have grown up and can do everything that the mid-sized vans can do, but they are much more car like in the way that they drive and fuel consumption of the smaller vans is much better. Alternatives do already exist, including the Citroen Berlingo, the Fiat Doblo, the Peugeot Partner Teepee, the Skoda Roomster and the VW Caddy life which all offer van/car options that were simply not available just a year ago.
Now Ford have entered the market with their Connect van based Tourneo Connect. They have launched two alternatives, a five seater and a seven seat version. The seven seat may also be interesting to someone looking for a small minibus, where the average fare is 4 or 5 people and luggage.
In both cases the rear doors are sliding to aid access, especially as in the case of the 7 seater, the third row will carry adults. In both cases, the boots are huge and have been designed with a low load height, making it possible according to Ford to carry bikes stood up full height. It is expected that the 7 seater will be the most popular and at launch it will have a 1.0 litre petrol ecoboost 100 bhp engine and choice of 95 or 112 bhp diesel. Spec will be identical to Style, Zetec and Titanium cars, with all models having as standard fit DAB radio, USB connectivity and Bluetooth, plus 16” alloys. Zetec spec gets you a heated screen, air-con and fog lamps. Choose the Titanium and you get climate control and cruise control.
To understand the thinking here, the smaller of the two, the 5 seater, has twice as much carrying capacity as a Mondeo estate. With the rear seats out, which is really easy to do, that changes to five times the capacity of the Mondeo estate, or the same as a medium van. With a removable protective liner, you really can switch between a van and car. Choose the 7 seater and you get the ability to travel to site with five people and a lot of gear or carry two pallets or take six people and luggage out for the day