The Blue Oval's new light van is much better looking than its predecessor, but James dallas feels the optional parking camera could be doing more to help keep its sleek lines intact
It has been widely remarked upon already but it is worth saying again that Ford’s new Transit Connect is a far prettier van than its boxy, utilitarian predecessor, which screamed functionality but had little to add to the lexicon of light commercial vehicle style.
Its successor is far more pleasing to the eye with its curvaceous lines, powerful shoulder line and sleek, angular light casings. The Connect showcases its looks to best effect in short-wheelbase versions and this is the bodystyle we chose for our crew van.
We have the benefit of glazed loading doors and reversing bleepers to help us protect the vehicle’s tidy rear end with its slim, vertical tail lamps when squeezing into tight spots and this is a good job because the rear view camera, which is installed as part of Ford’s pricey (£1000 ex-VAT) DAB Navigation System, often fails to wake up until well after reverse gear is engaged and the parking maneouvre is underway.
Indeed, it is often necessary to apply the brake and re-engage reverse gear before the image of what’s going on behind appears in the screen on the dashboard. But, slightly irritatingly, once it’s there the last capture of the reverse view often lingers for a while
when you select first gear and begin to move forward.
On the other hand we have found the sat nav system itself to be extremely efficient. It is easy to use and starts giving directions promptly once you have tapped in the post code (you can put in the full address with street name and town if you prefer) and chosen from the choice of Fast, Eco or Short routes. So far we have found the system to be accurate and able to find the most out of the way locations with the minimum of fuss.
If you don’t want voice instructions there is a Mute option and you can check directions by the map on the central screen or on the more simple graphic positioned in front of the driver between the speedo and rev counter.
The scale of the road map on the navigation screen can be adjusted to show a wider geographical area but oddly this cannot be fixed and, after a few seconds, defaults back to half a mile per inch.
The Connect crew van’s high-quality and comfortable interior is in tune with its sleek exterior and back seat passengers, albeit usually children, have remarked upon its spaciousness – even in SWB form. The loftiness of the roof, (the Connect is only available in one roof height), undoubtedly contributes to this sense of roominess.
One minor grumble is that the ply-lining has been left on the inside panels of the sliding rear side doors, which suggests the van was not designed with rear-seat passenger windows in mind and detracts somewhat from the otherwise impressive level of material finishing.