The first fruit from the latest Volkswagen and Ford partnership has been revealed: the new Ford Tourneo Connect.
Unveiled overnight in Europe, the Tourneo Connect is the people mover version of the upcoming Transit Connect commercial van that slots in below the Transit Custom and Transit sold in Australia.
Unlike its bigger brothers, it won’t be making the trip Down Under.
Previous generations of the Transit Connect and Tourneo Connect were developed in-house by Ford, and based largely on the platform of the contemporary Focus.
The new Transit Connect and Tourneo Connect twins, though, will be lightly-modified versions of the latest Volkswagen Caddy, which rides on the ubiquitous MQB architecture.
The new Transit Connect/Tourneo Connect is just the first in a series of jointly-developed and produced commercial vehicle projects from Ford and Volkswagen.
The most significant for Australian customers will be the next-generation Ranger ute, which will form the basis of second-generation Volkswagen Amarok. Spy photos indicate the two will feature significant styling differences, including unique door and front-end designs.
As for the Tourneo Connect, most of the differentiation occurs up front where there’s a unique set of headlights, a large new grille, and a different bumper.
Unlike many other rebadged vans, the Tourneo Connect also has a unique bonnet pressing with more distinctive ridges, and a different set of front fenders.
We expect these changes to flow through to the Transit Connect, albeit with less bling and more black plastic.
Around the rest of the exterior the changes are more subtle, and seem to be limited to new tail-light graphics, wheel designs, and badges.
On the inside there’s a new airbag cover with extra humps and a Ford badge, while the analog instrumentation panel is very clearly a Volkswagen design, but fitted with electric blue needles. A 10.25-inch digital cluster — likely with modified graphics — is available in high-spec models.
Both the 8.25- and 10.0-inch infotainment systems will be instantly familiar to anyone who’s stepped into a recently launched Volkswagen Group product.
In Europe the Tourneo Connect will be available in both short- and long-wheelbase formats, but regardless of the car’s length, it can accommodate up to seven people across three rows of seats.
Unsurprisingly, the Tourneo Connect comes with the same engines as the Caddy range: an 83kW/220Nm 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol, and a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel with either 75kW/280Nm or 90kW/320Nm.
While front-wheel will be the norm, all-wheel drive is available on some grade and drivetrain combinations. Buyers can choose from either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Although the latter is branded PowerShift, it’s a Volkswagen design unrelated to the much-maligned Getrag/Magna unit fitted to some Ford models, such as the previous-generation Focus.
Both the Caddy and Transit Connect/Tourneo Connect will be built by Volkswagen at its plant in Poznan, Poland. Sales in Europe begin during the second quarter of 2022.