Ford has added a trim level for those customers that use their vans for work and play, says Dan Gilkes.
While the recent launch of the Trail trim line on Ford’s Transit and Transit Custom models grabbed most of the headlines, the company also launched an Active specification, available on Transit Connect and Transit Custom.
For the Transit Connect, the Active trim is available with the 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel engine, with its range-topping 120hp output. That delivers a healthy 270Nm of torque and drives the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox or an eight-speed automatic.
Go with the manual gearbox and you can also specify the mechanical limited slip differential (mLSD) that comes as part of the Trail specification. This improves grip in slippery conditions, both on and off the road, without effecting fuel consumption in normal use.
The van is also raised by 24mm at the front and 9mm at the rear, to deliver improved clearance for occasional trips on the rough, which sits well with the additional body cladding and adventure styling.
Load carrying capacity
You can have the Active trim in both short and long wheelbase models, offering 2.9m3 or 3.6m3 of load volume respectively. There is no load-through option or folding passenger seat on this model though. With over 700kg of load carrying ability, the short wheelbase Connect can also tow a trailer up to 1.5-tonnes in weight.
In the cab
The Active trim builds on the already generous Limited specification, adding body mouldings externally, along with roof rails and those 17” alloys. Inside the cab, the driver benefits from a rear-view camera, exclusive Active trim, dual zone climate control and Ford’s ICE Pack 10, which includes SYNC3 infotainment with a 6” screen.
On the road
Transit Connect is a mature van now and any wrinkles that it may have had when first launched have been well and truly ironed out. It offers a comfortable cab, with impressively low noise levels, even at motorway speeds.
The additional ride height makes the view out of the Connect’s huge windscreen even more panoramic, yet does nothing to harm the handling of Ford’s compact high-cube van, which remains among the best in class.
Whether you would want to risk those alloy wheels and styling add-ons by regularly heading off road is perhaps debatable, but with the optional mLSD fitted at least you should be able to find your way back afterwards.
If the Trail models were meant to attract van users with a need to access building sites and forestry tracks, then Active is intended to appeal to those that need a van in the week and a hauler for their sporty lifestyles at the weekend. In that respect the long wheelbase model might make more sense, where mountain bikes and other adventure kit are concerned.
For regular van use, the Connect Active is a good-looking addition to the range, offering yet another string to Ford’s powerful LCV bow.
VanUser rating: 4.0
Ford Transit Connect Active SWB
Basic price £22,370 Engine 1,498cc
Power 120hp @ 3,750 Torque 270Nm @ 1,750-2,000rpm
GVW 2,130 Kerb weight 1,510 Payload 718 Towing 1,500
Load space length 1,786 Load space width 1,543
Width between wheel arches 1,249 Load space height 1,269 Load volume 2.9
Fuel tank capacity 60 litres Fuel consumption 62.4 mpg CO2 122g/100km
Service interval 2 years/25,000 miles
Warranty 3 years/100,00 miles