The improved Ford Tourneo Custom is a smart-looking, well-equipped and economical super-large People Carrier that can seat eight or nine. If you've progressed beyond the normal seven-seater MPV, this could be the perfect left-field choice. Now it offers the option of clever mild hybrid engine technology too.
Whichever Tourneo Custom you choose, if you pop the bonnet you'll be greeted by a 2.0 litre EcoBlue diesel engine, mated to a six speed manual transmission and driving the front wheels. So far, so simple. After this it gets a little more involved but nothing that'll require homework. There are three power levels to choose from - with 105, 130 or 185PS options. The 130 and 185PS variants can be had with the option of 48-volt mild hybrid technology. Engine refinement at idle still isn't class leading, but you'll never be kidding your passengers that they're in a Lexus anyway. There's the option of a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission, plus a unique-to-segment rear air suspension system that delivers a supple, controlled and level ride across a wide range of load conditions. There's also the option of a plug-in model hybrid based around 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol power.
The chassis has been meticulously tuned for British conditions with beefy front and rear axles, bringing excellent levels of stability and control. The ultra-stiff body structure allows the suspension to do its work effectively without the usual van-like intrusions. There's even Torque Vectoring Control which reacts to the road surface 100 times per second. Using this information, it balances the amount of power delivered to each of the two front wheels, maximising grip and sharpening handling. And you thought all that was just for sports models.
This revised Tourneo Custom has a bolder front-end appearance that shares the same design DNA as Ford's latest passenger cars, with a high-mounted trapezoidal grille and dynamic, slim headlamps that flow neatly into the vehicle's muscular shoulder line. Inside, there's a re-designed instrument panel which offers an attractive, user-centric layout influenced by consumer interactions with smart devices and tablets.
To provide customers the ultimate flexibility in configuring and using the rear cabin, the Tourneo Custom is the only vehicle in its segment to offer six individual rear seats, with the ability to arrange the two rear rows in conference format for enhanced interaction between passengers. Or you can set the cabin up with two rows of three seats facing forward. Standard on high series models, the six individual seats can each be folded flat, tumbled, stowed in a multiple locations or removed completely to maximise the luggage area or meet special business or lifestyle requirements.
You can have your Tourneo Custom configured as an eight or nine-seater. Either way, you can also choose an L1 (short wheelbase) or an L2 (long wheelbase) version. The L1 version is 4.97m in length, while the L2 is 5.34m. The L2's extra 370mm translates into extra luggage space behind the third row of seats. As a result, with all the rear seats removed, it offers up to 6.8 cubic metres of luggage space, compared to the L1's already generous 6.0 cubic metres. Because it's less than two metres in height, the Tourneo Custom fits within most car park limits.
And in summary? Well vehicle manufacturers often seem so intent on finding minuscule pieces of white space between niches that they sometimes take their eye off what can be a neglected but potentially lucrative existing sector. Perhaps Ford has been guilty of that in the past, but with the Tourneo Custom, it's more than making up for that. If you've needed something that's bigger than a Galaxy but don't want to spend getting on for £40,000, there's really not much on offer above humble crew bus fare. The Tourneo Custom has changed that and significantly improves its proposition in this updated form, offering a vehicle with a bit of style and, should you want it, some decent interior appointments.
There's no shortage of space and with low ongoing running costs and the reassurance of typical Ford build quality, it's hard to see the Tourneo Custom disappointing. Perhaps Ford's biggest challenge will be in letting private buyers know the thing exists. For businesses it could be a no-brainer. For big families it could be the answer they never knew existed.Click here to find out more about our Ford Tourneo Custom range