Review: Ford Transit Connect (2002 – 2014)
Car-like to drive with good balance of ride and handling, 1.8 TDCi engine is strong, load area can deal with two pallets, ESP is standard fit.
Only has a five-speed manual where most of the competition now has six-speed gearboxes.
Recently Added To This Review
Timing belt failed on 2010 Ford Transit Connect 1.8TDCI at 7 years old and 115,000 miles. (Ford schedules a belt change at 10 years old and 150,000 miles. We recommend 5 years or 60,000 miles whichever... Read more
Ford Transit Connect Electric makes its debut on RAC Future Car Challenge. Read more
Leader model is added to Transit Connect range with £9995 starter price. Read more
Ford Transit Connect (2002 – 2014): At A Glance
- On average it achieves 82% of the official MPG figure
Ford took the small van market by storm when it introduced the Transit Connect in 2002. Here was a small van that could almost give most larger panel vans a run for their payload and at a much more affordable price.
The Transit Connect also gave the light van sector much to think about in terms of versatility, space and driving dynamics. Like the larger Transit it borrowed its name from, the Connect immediately appeals to buyers as a vehicle you were happy to spend time in rather than having to endure the working day.
Ford has evolved the Transit Connect over the years and it now comes with an updated front end that arrived in 2009 and a strong range of 1.8-litre turbodiesel engines, though they are slightly undermined by a five-speed gearbox when a six-speeder should be standard by now.
Even so, the Connect is very able and can carry plenty of kit. It can also be ordered with rear seats to carry five in total, making it the ideal light crew vehicle.
Used Buying Guide - Ford Transit Connect
A well regarded, fine driving van that’s abundantly available as a used buy in the classifieds, the Transit Connect is a great all-rounder. Simple to work on, hugely practical and decently specified - particularly the post-2008 models, the Connect is an inexpensive, dependable buy, for those wanting maximum space on a tight budget.
What does a Ford Transit Connect (2002 – 2014) cost?
Buy a used Ford Transit Connect from £9,711
Ford Transit Connect (2002 – 2014): What's It Like Inside?
With some of its DNA rooted in Ford’s passenger cars, notably the previous generation of Fiesta and Focus models, the Transit Connect’s cabin owes more than a little of its cabin look and architecture to those cars. There’s nothing wrong with that as it means the Connect enjoys clear, simple and bold clocks with the minor controls worked by chunky, solid buttons that are easy to work even if you’re wearing gloves.
Ventilation in the Connect is very good, helping it to demist quickly and you can ordered Ford’s Quickclear windscreen, which is standard equipment on the Limited model. There’s also the option of air conditioning to help with demisting and keeping the cab cool in hot weather. This is something worth considering as the Connect has a large glass area around its cabin.
Safety is taken care of by a driver’s airbag, but we’d like to see a passenger and side airbags as standard too rather than them languishing on the options list. When Ford offers so much safety gear in the Ranger pick-up, it seems a little odd the Connect is not better kitted out with such vital equipment.
However, it does come with a height adjustable driver’s seat that means it’s easy to attain the ideal driving position regardless of your shape or size. Add in a steering wheel that moves for both height and reach and the Connect is a very comfortable van. The high roof line of the Connect also means you’ll never want for headroom.
On the passenger’s side of the cabin, the seat is fixed for height, but it’s comfy and can be folded completely flat to allow loads as long as 3.0m to be carried safely and securely inside the Transit Connect.
Other equipment that can be added to the Transit Connect to make it even more of a business tool and mobile office include Bluetooth hands-free mobile phone connection and satellite navigation. Users can also specify rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights, with a follow-me home function for the headlights helping you find your way to the front door or garage lock in the dark.
The Transit Connect comes in short and long wheelbase versions, and each can cope with two Euro pallets in the load area thanks to the unhindered sides of the van and minimal wheelarch intrusion. A sliding door on the passenger side gives good access to the load bay and customers can order a second sliding side door on the opposite side of the Connect. A removable mesh bulkhead is also standard.
At the back, there are symmetrical side-hinged doors that open out to 180-degrees or can be ordered as an option to open to 250-degrees. The large, clear load entrance is helped by the Connect’s high roof of the standard model or the positively generous high roof model’s extra height and there are six load hooks inside the load area. With the ability to carry considerable weights in the Transit Connect, it remains one of the most useful small vans on the market, while a low load sill helps get heavy items in and out safely and easily.
What's the Ford Transit Connect (2002 – 2014) like to drive?
Ford’s reputation for building cars and vans that drive brilliantly meets in the Transit Connect and, far from being a middle ground or compromise, it’s one of the best in the firm's range. The chassis has much in common with Ford’s passenger cars, which explains why it copes so admirably with lumpy, bumpy roads. It shrugs off the worst of the UK’s battered roads to give a comfortable ride that means long days in the Transit Connect are not something to fear.
As well as suspension that is well judged for the comfort it delivers, it also provides fine control whether you’re running light or heavy. There is very little lean through corners and the Connect remains faithful to the line the driver intends the vehicle to take. This is greatly helped by steering that is pin sharp in accuracy yet light in feel to make it superb in town and for parking.
Around town, the Transit Connect’s compact size is another boon to fitting through narrow gaps, which makes it ideal for multi-drop work. This comes together with the adept suspension to make the Transit Connect great fun to drive and it’s easily the best in its class to this day, even if it was launched in 2002. It only goes to show how right the Connect was from the start and there is a choice of single or multi-leaf rear suspension springs.
Further enhancing the Connect’s ability as a fine driving machine is the five-speed manual gearbox, which offers a slick, precise shift coupled to a light clutch pedal. We’d like to a see a six-speed manual gearbox as part of the Connect’s make-up, but Ford is determined to stick with the five-speeder for the time being. Still, it’s a tried and trusted transmission, which means less downtime for users. There’s also no automatic option for the Connect, which is a small black mark against it compared to some rivals that have the choice of manual or self-shifter gearboxes.
As for the engines driving through the five-speed manual gearbox, they are all versions of Ford’s 1.8-litre TDCi Duratorq turbodiesel. They come in 75PS, 90PS and 110PS variants and each offers competitive economy and emissions. A diesel particulate filter is standard on every version.
With 15,000-mile or 12-month service intervals, the Connect’s engines are long running and they offer lots of low-down punch. If you spend more time on the motorway than in town, the 110PS turbodiesel is a great choice as it has ample power for relaxed cruising and effortless overtaking for A roads.
Every new Transit Connect comes with ESP traction control, Hill Launch Assist, electronic brake force distribution and Drag Torque Control that helps in slippery conditions by increasing the amount of torque from the engine to help with clean getaways.
Real MPG average for a Ford Transit Connect (2002 – 2014)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their vehicles could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What do owners think?
Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.
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- 4 star 33%
- 3 star 33%
- 2 star 33%
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