Driving report: Ford Tourneo Custom: a real jack of all trades

Families look down the drain at Ford.

Driving report: Ford Tourneo Custom: a real jack of all trades

Families look down the drain at Ford. Instead of a variety of vans, the plum brand now says “SUV or nothing”. But troubled family men shouldn't throw in the towel so quickly. There is an alternative in the model range, but it can be found in commercial vehicles. “The Tourneo Custom replaces the S-Max and the Galaxy,” explains chief engineer Ali Hunt. The basis for family transporters is the Transit and this model series is something of a jack of all trades. In addition to the Turneo Custom, there will be a small van for tradesmen, a sporty version, a camper, a high-roof station wagon, a multi-cab model and even something like a crossover version.

Ford also offers a wide range of engines and drive variants, which is made possible by the All New Platform: fully electric with rear-wheel drive, the PHEV with front-wheel drive and the combustion engine with either all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive. The PHEV powertrain consists of a 2.5-liter gasoline engine that operates on the Atkinson cycle and a battery with a net capacity of 11.8 kilowatt hours. This results in a system output of 171 kW / 232 HP as well as a purely electric range of up to 56 kilometers and a trailer load of up to 2.3 tons. The BEV (to be released in 2024) also manages this and rolls with either 100 kW / 136 or 160 kW / 218 hp. The 64 kilowatt hour batteries (net) should take the Blaumann electric car up to 337 kilometers. Three-phase AC charging is possible with 11 kW; for the DC version it is a maximum of 125 kW. “Most users charge in the depot anyway and if things get tight, we can fill the batteries for 82 kilometers within the first ten minutes at a DC charging station,” explains Ali Hunt. The fact that the E-Tourneo can also be vehicle-to-load, i.e. serves as an energy source for all kinds of devices, is also an advantage. A heat pump is standard on the Stromer.

When it comes to classic combustion engines, Ford relies on the 2.0-liter Eco Blue diesel, which can tow up to 2.8 tons. The range extends from 81 kW / 110 HP and 110 kW / 150 HP with a six-speed manual gearbox to the 125 kW / 170 HP version with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. We got behind the wheel of this top version for the first test drive, albeit with front-wheel drive. The interior with the 13-inch touchscreen and digital instruments is simple but clear and very spacious. As is typical for Ford, the infotainment doesn't have a colorful appearance, but you can still find your way around the menus quickly. If you still prefer to use your own smartphone, you can connect it wirelessly via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

The new architecture has a positive impact on the road with 30 percent more torsional rigidity, 100 kilograms less weight and the rear axle with independent suspension instead of leaf springs. The Tourneo has significantly less cushioning than its predecessor and can be driven like a car. The many assistance systems such as a blind spot warning, a 360-degree reversing camera and the lane keeping assistant also fit in well. Garage owners will like the lower height of all Transit variants, which is less than two meters. A pleasant side effect is the better aerodynamics (range!) and the lower wind noise. The fact that the windows on the front doors have no vertical separation helps with clarity. It's really good, even though the driver sits lower than its predecessor. However, the interaction between the two-liter diesel engine and the in-house eight-speed automatic transmission is not yet fully developed. The combustion engine sometimes runs at low revs and therefore growls until the transmission frantically searches for the right gear and then selects it. The turbo diesel will also miss elasticity. After all, the consumption of our first test drive was impressive at 8.4 l/100 km.

What we really like is the variability of the new Transit family. In addition to a number of seat combinations, the developers have left a small garage under the front seat so that objects up to 3.45 meters long can be stored in the interior. What's also great is that the car can automatically take on routine delivery tasks such as closing the windows, engaging the handbrake, activating the hazard lights and locking the car if desired. When the driver returns, everything is restored to its original state.

Other details that fall into the Simply Clever category are the lamps. In addition to the classic reading lamp, there is another light source above the driver and another in the A-pillar. This means the driver's position is well lit and you can work even in the dark. “We rode with customers and saw that they were wearing a headlamp while working,” says Ali Hunt. The “Mobile Office Pack” is also practical, with which the steering wheel turns into a desk by inserting an adapter into the steering wheel rim on which a tablet fits or a laptop can be placed. It is clear that the valance has to be horizontal. The Tourneo also has devices for attaching a holder for a tablet or cell phone. “So that the cup holders stay empty,” says Ali Hunt. The price for the rolling all-rounder remains almost identical: it starts at 50,991.50 euros,