The Ford Tourneo Custom is a bit different from our usual test cars. Itâ€™s a commercial vehicle, based on the Transit van and is squarely aimed at businesses looking for large transport for the likes of airport shuttles.
Ford Tourneo Custom Titanium
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, diesel
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Top speed: 105mph
CO2 emissions: 168g/km
Ford call it a people mover but as itâ€™s based on the Transit it is a whole heap bigger than the firmâ€™s Galaxy and S-Max MPVs with which weâ€™re familiar.
However you describe it, the Tourneo arrived with perfect timing for us. As well as hauling our family of six around, its flexible format was pressed into last-minute service to help transport a gaggle of schoolchildren to the wilds of the Highlands for a field trip.
The lanky teenagers were surprisingly impressed by their chariot. They loved the legroom afforded by the â€œconference formatâ€ facing rows of six individual seats, the view offered by the vanâ€™s height and the fact there were enough USB sockets to charge all their mobile devices at once (there are eight of them, plus 14 cupholders).
Given that the Tourneo Connectâ€™s main business is likely to be airport shuttling and the like itâ€™s this sort of thing thatâ€™s going to matter to both buyers and passengers.
The Titanium trim on our van also meant leather seats for everyone and separate air con front and rear, giving it the more upmarket â€œexecutive shuttleâ€ feel Ford is aiming for.
The latest version of the Tourneo commits to its high-end ideal by borrowing heavily from its passenger car siblings. The cabin copies the horizontal design ethos of the Fiesta and Focus and features an eight-inch touchscreen with Sync3, DAB and smarthphone integration. It also packs in driver assistance features including traffic sign recognition, blind spot warning, pre-collision assist, adaptive cruise control and pre-collision assist and is the first in its segment to offer intelligent speed limiting.
Such features are car-like but the interior room is distinctly van-like. Even our short-wheelbase example had a big enough boot behind the rear seats to carry all the luggage seven passengers can muster.
The Tourneo Custom lines up against the like of VWâ€™s Transporter Shuttle and Caravelle in the executive transport market and having been a passenger in them all, itâ€™s the Ford that
feels quieter and more refined in the back as well as at the wheel.
Even when it comes to its commercial vehicles Ford manages to blend good ride comfort with decent driving dynamics. This is still a van so itâ€™s not the last word in handling but itâ€™s actually pretty easy to hustle along and passengers wonâ€™t feel bounced around.
Powering our test car was a 2.0-litre diesel with 168bhp and 299b/ft, which makes a good fist of hauling the Tourneo and a tonne of passengers/luggage up the road. Ford quotes figures of 43.5mpg and 168g/km.
Ford suggests the Tourneo is aimed at executive shuttle, lifestyle customer and personal use. Realistically, families looking for a big people mover are perfectly well catered for in the shape of the Galaxy unless there are more than seven of them. And â€œlifestyleâ€ buyers are unlikely to need the eight seat so this is really a vehicle for businesses looking to offer high-end transport for hire. At that it succeeds completely. Itâ€™s spacious, comfortable, refined and well equipped for both passengers and driver.