REVIEW DATE: 21 Aug 2008
Ford's Transit Connect SportVan will ensure you stand out from the crowd with its go-faster stripes and sporty styling. Matt Low reports.
Ever wondered how you can get your company's name noticed when driving your van between jobs? Here's an idea; turn your van into a sports car. If go-faster stripes don't turn heads in the direction of your company logo then nothing will. In a bid to corner the UK van market even further, Ford has been busy producing a range of light commercial vehicles to cater for niche markets. And what could be more niche than a sporty van? The concepts of sport and vans don't usually go hand in hand but the boys at Ford have successfully married the two in designing the Transit Connect SportVan. If ever white van man needed an excuse to throw his vehicle about like Lewis Hamilton, this is it.
The SportVan is based on the short-wheel Transit Connect and is furnished with a 110bhp 1.8-litre diesel engine. For everyday use, punchy, economical diesel engines are preferred by seasoned van drivers and Ford have a real cracker in their Duratorq 1.8 TDCI - one of the strongest feeling engines you'll find in this class of van. With 250Nm of torque on offer between 1,500 and 3,200rpm, this powerplant pulls along strongly and rarely feels overworked. The unit features high-pressure common-rail fuel injection technology and has earned rave reviews from Ford passenger car and van drivers alike. A combination of MacPherson strut front suspension and single-leaf rear springs give the SportVan controlled handling even when fully loaded. Power-assisted steering comes as standard and you can expect a tight turning circle of 11 metres kerb to kerb.
The SportVan's body is solidly constructed with reinforced steel and double-skin protecting the van from bumps and knocks. Recognising that some loads require a certain level of high security, Ford have included a full bulkhead to separate the cabin from the load area, and thrown in remote double locking and a perimeter alarm as standard. In terms of safety, front and side airbags are also included along with front fog lamps and Ford's Quicklear windscreen technology. It can carry an impressive maximum payload of 625kg.
"The Transit Connect SportVan is a good-looking and practical package that will not fail to get you noticed."
There are a host of clever storage solutions dotted around the cabin and the side-loading door comes in very handy when manoeuvring awkward loads through the tail doors. Up top in the cabin there is an overhead storage area across the width of the van and in the rear of the vehicle a floor mat is designed to stop your load from sliding about when in transit. The wheels are 15-inch five-stud efforts with reinforced tyres to ensure a bigger load-carrying capacity.
The first thing you notice about the SportVan is the distinctive go-faster stripes that stretch from front to back. Also apparent is the rear spoiler, 18-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels, bright chrome grill and side skirts. Make no mistake; this vehicle will get you noticed. Inside the cabin it's a good deal more luxurious than many other commercial vehicles. Goodies include air conditioning, leather seats with eight-way seat adjustment, parking sensors and electric windows and mirrors. Audio equipment includes a six-CD changer and Bluetooth compatibility.
Other features include a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, a silver finish to the wing mirror housings and exhaust, front and rear sports skid plates and stylish silver surrounding for the centre stack. Wheelarch liners and bodyside mouldings offer protection from mud accumulation, meaning the SportVan is not just about good looks, it's equipped for the building site too.
The rigid steel build should ensure a long vehicle life and lengthy gaps in between visits to the garage. With only 300 produced, the SportVan cuts an exclusive prospect. In terms of practicality the SportVan is just as at home on the building site as it is turning heads along the high street. The load area is extremely spacious and carries a respectable 625kg maximum load. The sliding door affords easy access to the load area and coupled with the double rear doors should ensure you can easily manoeuvre your load into position - where it won't slide around thanks to the non-slip mat.
The Transit Connect SportVan is a good-looking and practical package that will not fail to get you noticed. Beneath the spoilers and extrovert paint job it's just a normal Transit but happily, Ford's offering remains one of the top light commercial vehicles on the market today. The Sportvan styling accoutrements won't be to everyone's taste and they don't come cheap but take into consideration the amount of equipment you're getting and dealers should have no problem shifting the limited Sportvan allocation. The SportVan is likely to appeal to someone who is going to be driving the van themselves and should become popular amongst small business owners.
The results below show the top TRANSIT CONNECT deals on buyacar
|Ford Transit Medium Roof 17 Seater TDCi 135ps lwb el minibus diesel rwd Standard Roof Minibus|
|Price £20,072||Save £10,989|
|Ford Transit Medium Roof Van Limited TDCi 125ps 260 swb diesel fwd|
|Price £14,424||Save £7,672|
|Ford Transit Low Roof Van Limited TDCi 125ps 280 mwb diesel fwd|
|Price £15,023||Save £8,023|
|Ford Transit Medium Roof Van TDCi 140ps 300 swb diesel fwd|
|Price £14,393||Save £7,653|
|Ford Transit Connect High Roof Van Limited TDCi 110ps 230 lwb diesel High Volume/High Roof Van|
|Price £12,667||Save £4,755|
|VIEW MORE DISCOUNT TRANSIT CONNECT DEALS|
|For TRANSIT CONNECT SPORTVAN|
|OVERALL||7.7 OUT OF 10|
|Space / Versatility||8|
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