Driven: Ford Tourneo Custom Limited

The mission was simple. We needed to get to Knysna (and back home again) for the annual Knysna Hillclimb. And Kelly accepted this momentous task with glee.

The not-so-simple part? We are six people, with luggage for all of us plus camera gear and bags. A regular saloon or even our large X Trail SUV wouldn’t do. We needed something bigger and more practical. Enter the Ford Tourneo Custom. To say that I was excited to get the keys to this van, would be an understatement. I have a thing about vans. It might be the fact that we’re a big family with boys who are only getting bigger and broader or it could be that I’m in a phase of life where I appreciate practical vehicles. Whatever the reason, the Tourneo was welcomed with open arms.

What is it?

This is is essentially Ford’s people mover van. It’s a seven-seater with seats that can be configured to either face each other or line up like regular seating. Competitors include the VW Kombi, Hyundai H1 and the Mercedes-Benz Vito.

This particular model arrived on our shores last year when Ford expanded its local Tourneo lineup with a 2.0-litre turbodiesel.

Let’s talk about that practicality.

A six-people road trip was always going to need something like the Tourneo. In short – this van was everything we needed for this trip.

The seating provided everyone with enough room to feel comfortable on the journey from Cape Town to Knysna and back again. The copious luggage space swallowed our bags with ease. Although I will admit, you have to pack the luggage up towards the roof. This packing does require you to be careful when opening the large boot lid again as it’s easy for luggage to topple and move around.

Nice-to-haves for a roadtrip with kids aged 11 to 20 are the USB ports dotted around the cabin. Everyone gets their own charging port. The rear air-con was also appreciated by the back-seat passengers, while the adults made full use of the cup holders for all the caffeine needed for the drive.

How does it go? 

As previously mentioned, this unit is equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel unit. In this iteration it has 136 kW and 415 N.m, and is mated with a six-speed automatic ‘box. You’re not going to make the quickest overtaking manoeuvres with this set-up, but it wasn’t a drag either. At cruising speeds, the powertrain was perfectly capable. It has a claimed fuel consumption of 6.7-litres/100 km.

Specifications, additions and safety

This test unit came fitted with a number of added extras such as cruise control and a reverse camera. Standard features on this range-topping Limited model include Ford’s SYNC3. This has an integrated eight-inch touchscreen and allows for full smartphone integration through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Safety comes in the form of front and rear parking sensors, Lane Keeping Aid and Lane Departure Warning as well as the Blind Spot Detection System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert. Some of these features are optional extras so be sure to check on that!

Verdict

The Ford Tourneo Custom Limited was a great vehicle for the long road to Knysna. It’s practicality and impressive comfort level made the trip an easy one. I  had a few minor gripes with the van having spent so much time in it. For example, the hazard switch is blocked by the gear lever so it’s not always easy to thank drivers that allow you to pass. But that’s a small issue and one you can get used to if you live with this for long enough.

With a price of R779 500 for this top-of-the-range version (added extras not included), it’s pretty much on par with its Hyundai competitor and a little cheaper than the Volkswagen Transporter. It’s also way cheaper than the Vito which starts at over R1 million.

If you’re in the market for a people mover, the Tourneo is definitely worth considering.

Quick facts: 

Model: 2.0 Limited

Engine: 2.0-litre turbodiesel

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Power/Torque: 136 kW/415 Nm

Fuel economy: 6.7 L/100km (claimed)

Fuel Tank Capacity: 80 L

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