- 1.5-litre now most fuel efficient in class
- Euro-6 compliant without requiring Adblue
- Safety systems make their small van debut
Ford has made a few amendments to its small panel van, the Ford Transit Connect, giving it a greater fuel economy and making it more technologically advanced. The new 1.5-litre engine is around six percent more efficient (74.3mpg), while Traffic Sign Recognition and Lane Keeping Aid are available for the first time in the segment.
One new engine, with more to come
It’s less than two years since the Ford Transit Connect hit the UK market, but it’s already received its first upgrade. The biggest news is that an additional engine, a 99bhp/250Nm rated 1.5-litre unit, will be joining the line-up from Summer 2015.
Currently, the Ford Transit Connect is available with one 1-litre EcoBoost petrol engine (tuned to 99bhp and 170Nm) and three 1.6-litre diesel engines (74bhp/220Nm, 94bhp/230Nm, 113bhp/270Nm). However, the 1.6-litre will be retired before Euro-6 (to be introduced in September 2016), and will be replaced by the new range of 1.5-litres next year.
This first engine, though, will initially complement the line-up, with more power ratings just before the Euro-6 deadline in Spring 2016. The new Euro-6 compliant 1.5-litres are expected to be more fuel efficient, with 99bhp/250Nm Econetic version achieving 70.6mpg (74.3mpg with 62mph speed limiter) on the combined cycle.
Euro-6 has been achieved without SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) so there’s no need for Adblue or shorter service intervals. The 1-litre petrol will also be Euro-6 compliant from Summer 2015, although the fuel economy remains the same at 50.4mpg.
Segment-first driver assist systems
For the first time in the small van segment, Traffic Sign Recognition and Lane Keeping Aid (which steers you back into your lane if the van detects you're drifting without wishing to) are now available. Traffic Sign Recognition is a straightforward device that alerts you to the speed limits you might miss by displaying the road sign within the instrument panel.
The second generation of Ford’s unique infotainment system, SYNC 2, is also making its van debut. It features a high-resolution, six-inch colour touch screen and enables advanced voice control of audio, navigation, climate control and mobile phones.
Peace of mind is offered to fleet operators in the form of the MyKey system, a program that enables owners to programme a key that restricts the top speed and reduces the maximum volume of the audio system. MyKey can disable the audio system altogether if driver and passengers are not using safety belts, and can prevent the driver from deactivating safety technologies.
Blind Spot warning, Auto High Beam and power fold mirrors can also be specified.
Ford seems very optimistic with the new systems, and forecasts even greater sales for the Ford Transit Connect in coming years.
“The all-new Transit Connect has proved a real hit with European businesses thanks to its smart looks, great fuel economy and capable load space,” said Phil Hollins, Commercial Vehicle marketing, sales and service director, Ford of Europe. “With even lower fuel costs and amazing new technologies, Transit Connect delivers an even stronger proposition to our commercial customers”.
Although pricing is still yet to be announced, the new engines from Ford’s should be a big hit with fleet and owner operators alike, with their more powerful offerings and lower fuel consumption.