Our Vans: Ford Transit Connect

3 May 2019: Cabin comforts - why Ford builds the best van interiors

The Details

Current mileage 885
Claimed economy 56.5mpg
Actual economy 49.1mpg

I've come to the conclusion that Ford builds the best vans for driver comfort. Over the years I've driven pretty much every make and model of commercial vehicle you can get up to 3.5 tonnes, but few get anywhere near matching Ford for everyday comfort.

The Transit Custom is an excellent van for long distance travel, but I think the smaller Transit Connect has it beaten when it comes to cabin layout and seat quality. Not only do you get more legroom in the smaller van, but the firm seat padding provides a truly relaxing place to rest your aching bones after a long day at work.

Almost every version of the Transit Connect gets cloth seats as standard, with eight-way adjustment for the driver, but you have you have to spec up to Limited trim to get the best seats. Why are they so good? Well, if you look at the picture below, you'll see they have a row of cushioned rows on the base and seat back - boy, are they comfortable.

The seats feel quite similar to the ones you get in high-end versions of the Volkswagen California camper because they provide a strange mixture of firm and soft cushioning fabric. This means you sink into the seat as you climb into the van, but the hard padding prevents you from sinking down and getting back and upper leg ache.   

Transit Connect _018

The only thing that annoys me with the van is the absence of an arm rest. In fact, you can't get an arm rest on any of the Transit Connect models (why?). There's also no option of a three-seater, which will limit the Ford's appeal with some businesses that need the occasional extra seat. 

That said, it's quite hard to criticise a van that's this comfortable. Road and wind noise is well supressed too, which means you can cover long distances and feel pretty good (and ready for work) when you reach your destination.

The dashboard is also well thought out, with large door pockets that will easily hold a large bottle of water. The hidden compartment above the steering wheel also as a 12v charging point - useful for boosting phone power - and there's an additional socket and pair of USB connectors by the central cup holders. 

Stowing jackets or overalls is a bit of a problem, however, with only Base and Trend models getting a coat hook (again, why?). There is space behind the centre console to store bundled up clothing, but you've got no chance of it getting dry if you've been working outside in the rain. 

« Earlier: Ford Transit Connect joins the fleet     Later: How much does it cost to run a Transit Connect? »

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