Our Vans: Ford Transit Connect Sport

18 October 2019: Why you should you buy a sport van

The Details

Current mileage 947
Claimed economy 56.5mpg
Actual economy 48.0mpg

Buying a sports car is seen by some as a sign of a mid-life crisis. I turned 40-years-old in 2019 (groan) and I guess these people would argue that my bright, white sporty van with racing stripes is a sign of a similar path for myself - but I don't care. 

I've only had the Transit Connect Sport van for four weeks, but I've already grown to appreciate its styling and easy going driving style. It gets quite a lot of positive attention from other van drivers too. In fact, last weekend, at a fuel forecourt, it caused a bit of a stir as four builders piled out of their Transit crew van to get a closer look. 

“That van looks da nuts,” said one cement dust covered builder, while his work mate (covered is slightly less dust) wanted to know what the van was “packing” under the bonnet. I think he was a little disappointed when I said a 120PS four-cylinder diesel.

To be fair, this van does have a hint of 'all show and no go' about it, but I think that's the whole point; you buy a small sport van for the style rather than the performance. And if Ford had shoved the Focus ST’s 280PS petrol engine into the Transit Connect then it would cease to become a commercial vehicle, because the uprated suspension would cut the payload and ride quality to back and wallet breaking zero. 

Ford _Transit _Connect _022

If truth be told, this van is no faster than the standard 1.5-litre EcoBlue Transit Connect I ran earlier in the year. However, while the power and handling is broadly the same, I think this version is much more handsome. The bodykit, sport stripes and wheelarch deflectors give it a distinctive look that's completed by the 16-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels.

The only area where the van is lacking is within the headlight area, with the standard-fit halogens struggling to illuminate the road in the rain or fog. I experienced a similar problem in the Transit Custom Sport and, if I had the opportunity again, I think I'd opt for the optional xenon headlights with the LED daytime running lights. 

Fuel economy has dipped below 50mpg for the first time, but this is down to the fact that I've been utilising the van's 2.9 cubic metres of loadspace. At its lowest points, with 400kg of sand bags in the back, the trip computer recorded 45mpg, but this climbed to 48mpg when I got onto the motorway and activated cruise control for the remainder of my 200-mile journey. 

The handling of the Transit Connect remains pretty much the same, with or without a payload, which is something I really like. The steering will not suddenly become heavy or slow, while the brakes (which have a nice progressive bite) make it easy to slow or stop the van without any nasty jolts or surprises. All-in-all, it’s a relaxing and enjoyable driving experience. Or ‘da nuts’, as my fuel forecourt friend might say…

« Earlier: Meet our new Transit Connect Sport long termer     Later: The van of the crowd »

Updates
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