Following the arrival of the new third generation Ford Transit Connect in passenger (Tourneo) form in 2022, the launch of the commercial or panel van version was long awaited. The fact that this c-segment business van was based on the current Volkswagen Caddy Van, added to the interest. The joint Caddy/Connect development is another part of the product and manufacturing alliance between the two major automotive companies, formed a few year ago. The new Ford Ranger and VWCV Amarok pick-up trucks were the first shared product line to be launched, which went on to win the International Pick-up Award.
From its first reveal in Barcelona, Spain, new Connect will be available to order this Summer, with additional variants and options than that of its predecessors. For example, there will be a Plug-in hybrid, and an All-Wheel-Drive variant. A 5-seat Kombi, with an innovative and intuitive fold up rear bench seat system will also become available.
Standard versions will include short and long wheelbase and the customer can choose between the 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel with either 102 or 122 hp, mated to either a manual or automated transmission, or a 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol hybrid with its 20 kWh battery and 110 km electric range distance and deliver up to 330Nm of torque for urban load-carriage. For convenience, AC & DC charging options are provided. Customers can top up the battery with a 50kW DC fast charger if required, or recharge fully using the onboard 11kW AC charger between shifts.
Three drive modes help to optimise energy use:
- EV Now, for driving using only the electric motor
- EV Auto, which balances the EV and petrol motors to best suit driving conditions
- EV Later, to save EV power for later – useful for highways before reaching a city
Payload varies from 770kg for the PHEV, with 1.4-tonne towing capacity, while the diesel is capable of a bit more – 850kg and 1.5-tonnes respectively.
A significant step forward in terms of active and passive driver safety systems have been developed, according to Andy Hodge, Ford Connect Brand Manager to include trailer reverse assist, as an option.
As mentioned the new Connect features the Caddy body shell, that comes with a 60/40 split rear door and double sliding side doors.
A new frontal design created by the Ford team, gives it the blue oval family look.
Inside, it’s primarily the Volkswagen design and style, with the now familiar 10” touchscreen that engages and entertains the driver and passenger. With the upper section of the passenger seat dropped down, an office type worktop is revealed. Trim levels are based on Ford’s specifications and may vary from different country marketplaces.
Timings for the new Connect III to arrive begin this autumn with the diesel, followed before the year end by the PHEV, and the Kombi in the first quarter of next year.