Review: Ford Transit Connect (2014)
Good to drive, comfortable cabin, practical load area, option of LED loadspace lighting.
Can't match the payload of key rivals, three-seat versions will be an uncomfortable fit for adults.
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Ford Transit Connect (2014): At A Glance
- On average it achieves 74% of the official MPG figure
Easy to drive, practical and well-equipped as standard, the Ford Transit Connect is one of the best all-rounders in the small van market. Admittedly, it can't match the payload of the Vauxhall Combo or Peugeot Partner, but it still has enough in its locker to nudge its way to the front of the small van pack.
Ford offers the Connect van in two wheelbases - L1 and L2 - with panel van, double-cab in-van and Kombi variants. Older versions will carry up to 1000kg, but payloads are lower for post- 2018 facelift models - at 865kg for the L1 panel van and 833kg for L2. The largest versions provide 4.4 cubic metres of loadspace and there are also some really clever details, like folding front seats and a hatch in the bulkhead to make carrying metal pipes possible.
The Transit Connect was launched with Ford's trusty 1.6-litre TDCi in 2014 with 75, 95 or 115PS. For those who cover shorter distances on a daily basis, 1.0-litre 100PS EcoBoost petrol is also offered. In late-2016 Ford replaced the 1.6 TDCi with the 1.5 EcoBlue diesel engine, lowering tailpipe emissions and increasing torque across the board.
The 1.5 diesel produces more power - 75, 100 or 120PS - while maximum torque increases to 300Nm for the most-powerful version. Buyers can also inject some high octane style with the Transit Connect Sport. All models get Ford's Easy Fuel capless refuelling system that makes it (almost) impossible to put the wrong type of fuel into the van.
On the road, the Transit Connect drives like a good family car with nicely weighted steering and plenty of low-gear torque for hauling heavy payloads. Some of the older 1.6 diesels can get quite vocal under hard acceleration, but general refinement is fine with the newer 1.5 four-cylinder engines. Most of the older versions of the Transit Connect use a five-speed manual gearbox, but updates to the model range in 2018 saw the introduction of a six-speed transmission, along with an eight-speed auto.
The dashboard layout is easy to master and there is lots of useful storage for maps, loose documents and cups. All vans get Ford's Quickclear windscreen as standard, which heats small wires within the glass to de-ice the screen without the need for manual scraping.
Panel van version of the Transit Connect get two-seats, while crew cab versions add an extra bench with three additional seats but cut the loadspace to just 1.2 cubic metres in L1 and 1.6 cubic metres in L2. Newer versions do get some useful optional tech that includes wireless phone charging, climate control and a three pin plug in the cabin for charging tools. High spec vans also get touchscreen infotainment and navigation.
What does a Ford Transit Connect (2014) cost?
Buy a used Ford Transit Connect from £17,000
Ford Transit Connect (2014): What's It Like Inside?
Ford offers two lengths with the option of double-cab and Kombi models, the latter of which is essentially a small people carrier available with five or seven seats, making it an ideal airport taxi.
In the more traditional van layout, all Transit Connects come with a full metal bulkhead as standard, available with a glazed or unglazed section. Buyers can also get a fold-flat passenger seat and a through-load hatch, which means the L2 can transport planks or pipes as long as 3.4 metres, or 3.0 metres for the L1.
The design of the bulkhead is such that 2.4 x 1.2 metre (8x4 ft) sheets of material will fit in the back of an L2 van. LED loadspace lighting is a brilliant option and essential for anyone who loads/unloads their van at night.
L2 vans have space for two Euro pallets and impressively the sliding door is wide enough to enable Euro pallet loading and unloading at the side. Gross vehicle mass ratings range between 2.0 and 2.4 tonnes. To put that in perspective it means even the smallest model can carry 25 standard bags of cement before it's overloaded. However, unlike the Vauxhall Combo, the Transit Connect doesn't get an electronic overload warning system.
The Transit Connect can tow up to 1200kg and specifying a factory fit tow bar adds trailer stability control. The load deck of the Transit Connect is usefully low and so makes the loading and unloading easy, helped by rear doors that can be opened to 90 or 180 degrees while there's a smooth sliding side door. Additionally, a glazed rear lift-opening door with wash-wipe can be specified.
The rear row of seats splits 60/40 on double cab models and can be folded flat, but it’s worth mentioning that the folded seats don’t sit flush with the load deck - so loading long and heavy items like large items of furniture could be tricky. Nonetheless, the double cab offers plenty of space making it an ideal crew van for five.
Not so ideal is the front row of the regular van. The seat is laid out to fit two front row passengers, which puts the Transit Connect at a disadvantage against its three-seat rivals. You can correct this by fitting the optional 'dual passenger seat', which adds a third seat. However, in reality, this third seat is merely some additional cushioning and a seat belt buckle. Adults will find the middle seat an uncomfortable experience.
On the plus side this arrangement means a versatile front passenger seat that can be folded up for storing large boxes in the cabin. Additionally the small middle seat can be folded down into a work area or table and flips up to reveal a handy stowage box. Indeed, stowage in the cabin is excellent, with decent cubbies in the dash, doors and above the sun visors.
Material quality throughout is impressive, with hardwearing wipe-down plastics that should withstand years of abuse. The cabin comes with creature comforts like DAB radio, USB connectivity and steering wheel mounted audio controls as standard. A three-pin 230V/150W plug and wireless charging pad for a mobile phone are offered as available as optional extras.
What's the Ford Transit Connect (2014) like to drive?
Ford has a strong reputation for building strong handling cars and vans, and the Transit Connect is no exception. Based on the same platform as the Ford C-MAX, the Transit Connect drives like a well thought out family car, with a comfortable ride capable of absorbing most lumps and bumps in the road, whether there’s a load in the back or not. Despite providing a good degree of ride comfort the suspension offers decent road-holding and handling, with little in the way of body roll through bends.
The oldest versions of the Transit Connect are mostly powered by the 1.6-litre diesel engine with a choice of 75, 95 or 115PS. The lower output models come with a five-speed transmission while the 115PS model comes with a six-speed 'box. There’s also a 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine with 100PS, along with a more powerful 1.6-litre version with 150PS. The 1.6 EcoBoost was phased out in 2016.
The 95PS diesel is one of the highlights of the range: it’s a flexible engine that’s at home on country roads or in town, whether the van is laden or unladen. In gear performance is strong thanks to torque of 230Nm and refinement is strong. The only real issue is the lack of a sixth gear when on the motorway, but that’s solved by specifying the more powerful 115PS output engine which gets six gears as standard.
Even the entry level 75PS diesel engine delivers a decent amount of torque at 220Nm, while the top 115PS engine produces 270Nm. The cleanest model is the 1.5 TDCI fitted optional fuel economy package; it'll return 105g/km of CO2 and average an official 70.6mpg.
In late 2016 the 1.6 TDCI was axed in favour of the 1.5 TDCI - branded as 'EcoBlue' - with more power and lower emissions. Power outputs increased slightly - 75 100 and 120PS - and all versions produce more torque, with the best-selling 100PS unit producing 250Nm at 2000rpm.
A midlife update in 2018 gave all vans a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, while Ford added its eight-speed automatic to the options list and gave the interior a much needed makeover, with new seats, refreshed dash and the option of touchscreen infotainment.
The 1.5 TDCI four-cylinder engine was also heavily revised and rebranded EcoBlue. However, due to the tougher WLTP rules for measuring fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, economy claims from 2018 are lower compared to the older versions of the Transit Connect. This means the old 58-71mpg figures are replaced with 56-60mpg. The 1.0-litre EcoBoost is advertised with an official 44.1mpg, which is roughly 6mpg short of Ford's pre-2018 figure.
Real MPG average for a Ford Transit Connect (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.
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