Ford Transit Connect Active and Tourneo Connect Active – more lifestyle in a littler package

  • SUV-inspired looks for Ford’s small van and people carrier
  • Extra body cladding, skid plates and raised ride-height
  • Optional mLSD increases traction, takes you further on rougher roads

Ford has now released full details of its new Transit Connect Active and Tourneo Connect Active lifestyle models. These were initially announced as future versions when the Transit Custom Active and Tourneo Custom Active were revealed earlier in 2020.

As with their bigger brothers, the Connect Active variants take SUV-influenced styling enhancements and plaster them all over a commercial vehicle, in this case Ford’s entrant into the small van market. Sounds like it should be a horror show, actually works quite well.

What’s more, the Connect Actives get increased ride-height and the option of extra traction via the same mLSD as the bigger vans. Keep reading for the full lowdown.

Wait. Do cool lifestyle people still say lowdown?

>> Sign-up for the Parkers Vans and Pickups newsletter

What makes the Transit Connect Active?

Ford’s Active range started on its Focus and Fiesta cars before spreading to the Transit Custom and now the Transit Connect – alongside its Tourneo Connect passenger carrying sibling.

Ford Tourneo Connect Active, 2020, white, side view

As with the others, the Tourneo and Transit Connect Active gain additional body cladding to prevent scuffs to the paintwork – most noticeable around the wheel arches and along the sides, but also found on the door mirrors and rear bumper – plus front and rear skid plates, all aiming to give it a ‘tougher appearance’.

The Connect Actives are also the first vans to see an increase in suspension height – a feature of the Ford Active car range but not possible on the Transit Custom Active or Tourneo Custom Active.

The increases on the Connect Active are 24mm at the front, 9mm at the rear, improving ground clearance for rough roads and slightly raising the driving position. It’s a very purposeful-looking little van, especially with the standard 17-inch polished alloy wheels.

Ford Transit Connect Active, 2020, blue, rear view

Roof rails are also standard-fit on these models, as they’re expected to appeal to lifestyle customers who are likely to want to carry bike racks, canoes, and so forth.

Active badges and a full-width rear decal complete the makeover, and buyers can choose a couple of unique colours: Sedona Orange and Solar Silver.

What’s an mLSD, and which versions of the Transit Connect Active can be fitted with it?

The mLSD is a mechanical limited slip differential – a physical device that helps the driven front wheels maximise grip on slippery surfaces. Together with the raised ride height and extra ground clearance, this should allow the Transit Connect Active to venture further off the beaten track (though not tackle full-on off-roading).

It’s an optional extra on the 120hp model with the manual gearbox only. The same technology is used in many of Ford’s performance cars for enhanced cornering traction, including the Fiesta ST, the Focus ST and the Focus RS.

How many types of Connect Active are there?

All Connect Actives are powered by 1.5-litre EcoBlue TDCi turbodiesel engines, though you can choose between 100hp or 120hp. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard or you can pay extra for an eight-speed automatic. Only the 120hp manual can be fitted with the mLSD, and this is available on the Tourneo Connect Active and the Transit Connect Active.

Two body lengths are available, giving the Transit Connect panel van a 2.9 cubic metre or 3.6 cubic metre load area; maximum payload is 982kg.

The standard-length Tourneo Connect Active has five seats, while the longer Grand Tourneo Connect Active has seven seats.

All the same safety features are available on these as the rest of the range, including autonomous emergency braking, sidewind stabilisation and an intelligent speed limiter.

How much does the Ford Transit Connect Active and Ford Tourneo Connect Active cost?

For slightly puzzling (presumably marketing) reasons, the Tourneo Connect Active is slightly cheaper than the Transit Connect Active, despite the extra glass and seats. As such, prices for the Tourneo Custom Active start at £21,285, while the Transit Connect Active costs from £21,675 – both excluding VAT.

The new models are available to order now, with first deliveries expected before the end of 2020.

Also read:

>> Ford Transit Custom Active amps-up the lifestyle with SUV-inspired makeover

>> Our Ford Transit Connect review

>> Official: next Ford small van to be based on Volkswagen Caddy

>> The best small vans