Versatile, practical and hugely spacious, the Ford Tourneo Custom multi-purpose vehicle is a dedicated people mover that makes the biggest of SUVs seem cramped inside, and is ideally suited for larger families or businesses that need an 8- or 9-passenger capacity, and generous luggage room to boot. Expectedly functional and economical with its four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, the Tourneo Custom however also proved to be comfortable, easy to maneuvers and fun to drive, with excellent visibility for its segment, a nice slick-shifting manual gearbox and eager, almost hatchback-like, front-drive handling traits.
Essential a passenger car version of the latest incarnation of Ford’s iconic and utilitarian Transit van, the Tourneo’s light commercial vehicle origin and tall, boxy and uniformly shaped body ensure passenger space and cargo volume that cannot be matched by car-based MPVs or SUVs. Accommodating a massive 2,000-litres luggage behind its third row seats in long-wheelbase (LWB) guise, as tested, the Tourneo’s cargo volume expands to 2,800-litres with rear seats folded, and yet much more as it effectively becomes a van with both its configurable second and third row seats removed.
Unpretentious, angular and practical, the Tourneo’s design is that of form strictly following function, yet features somewhat prominently bulging wheel-arches and a sculpted front bumper with big lower intake and deep foglight housings. Tall thin vertical rear lights flank its huge rear tailgate, and huge 1,400mm wide and 1,340mm tall opening, with a low 589mm liftover height. Rear seats are accessed easily even in tight spots through useful 1,320mm tall and 1,030mm wide sliding doors with step-in running boards either side, while large, wide-swinging front doors allow similarly easy front access.
Bearing strong familial resemblance to Ford’s cars is the Tourneo’s big and hungry hexagonal grille and swept back headlights. Behind its big grille, the Tourneo is powered by a transversely-mounted turbocharged 2.2-litre common-rail diesel 4-cylinder engine offered in two states of tune. Driving the front wheels through a quick and smooth shifting 6-speed manual gearbox, the more powerful version of the Tourneo – as driven – develops 123BHP at 3,500rpm and 258lb/ft torque at 1,450rpm. Capable of attaining 157km/h top speed, the Tourneo Custom LWB returns frugal oil-sipping 6.5l/100km combined cycle fuel efficiency.
Refined and with little diesel clatter evident from inside, the Tourneo’s four-pot oil-burner pulls hard and confidently through its on-boost sweet-spot between maximum torque and power. And while this band is narrower than a petrol engine’s, and with slight turbo lag from idle as typical of turbodiesels, the Tourneo’s slick gear change and intuitively light clutch make it rewarding when quickly working through gears to keep revs in its mighty maximum thrust mid-range. Though not exactly swift, the Tourneo accelerates at good pace and overtakes with flexible confidence on motorways.
Smooth, comfortable, settled, refined and reassuring on motorways as expected, but for very slight buffeting in strong wind at speed when driven unloaded, owing to its tall and upright utilitarian shape, the Tourneo Custom LWB’s nimble handling however proved unexpectedly impressive. Eager and willing to be hustled along a brisk pace through corners and winding roads as if a sporty hatchback among large MPVs and vans, the Tourneo Custom’s steering is light, well-weighted and quick for its segment. Tidy turning in to corners its electric steering feels alert and communicative.
With good levels of resistance on turn-in and unexaggerated 215/65R16 tyres providing balance and feel for grip versus slip, the Tourneo lends confidence and trust in its agile abilities and handling limits. Grippy in front with progressive oversteer if pushed too hard on entry, the Tourneo leans somewhat less than expected through sharp corners but is a more engagingly sporty drive than most in its segment. Nimble and maneuverable for a large people mover, its long wheelbase ensures excellent rear grip, but makes its more reassuring and less playful at the rear.
Comfortably absorbing road imperfections with its tall tyres and independent front suspension, the Tourneo’s ride is smooth and settled considering its rugged leaf spring rear suspension, and would be better still when loaded with more passengers. Agile for its 2,020kg weight and 5,339 length, the Tourneo Custom LWB however also benefits from a tight 12.8-meter turning circle and excellent front and side visibility owing to it commanding and comfortable driving position, short bonnet and low waistline. Rear visibility is meanwhile aided by big side mirrors and a reversing camera.
Airy and pleasant inside with user-friendly controls and infotainment system, quality in-segment finish and an airy ambiance, the Tourneo’s biggest draw is its hugely spacious and versatile cabin. Driven in 9-seat configuration with independent driver’s seat and two-seat front bench, its second and third reclining, folding, tilting and removable rows accommodate a further six passengers and are configurable to 30 positions including conference seating. Equipment levels are generous, and with a 5-star EuroNCAP safety rating, include six airbags, three-point safety belts all-round, three Isofix child seat tethers, ABS, and roll-over mitigation and brake assist systems.
- Engine: 2.2-litre, turbodiesel, transverse 4-cylinders
- Bore x stroke: 86 x 94.6mm
- Valve-train: 16-valve, DOHC, common rail direct injection
- Gearbox: 6-speed manual, front-wheel-drive
- Final drive: 4.19:1
- Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 123 (125)  @3,500rpm
- Specific power: 56BHP/litre
- Power-to-weight: 61BHP/ton
- Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 258 (350) @1,450rpm
- Specific torque: 159.2Nm/litre
- Torque-to-weight: 173.2Nm/ton
- Maximum speed: 157km/h
- Fuel consumption, combined: 6.5-litres/100km
- CO2emissions, combined: 172g/km
- Length: 5,339mm
- Width: 1,986mm
- Height: 2,022mm
- Wheelbase: 3,300mm
- Overhang, F/R: 1,011 / 1,028
- Side door entry height / width: 1,320 / 1,030mm
- Liftgate entry height / width: 1,340 / 1,400mm
- Liftover height: 589mm
- Luggage volume, behind 3nd row / 3rd row folded: 2,000- / 2,800-litres
- Seating: 8/9-passengers
- Fuel capacity: 80-litres
- Kerb weight: 2,020kg
- Gross vehicle mass: 3,000kg
- Gross combination mss, 4,600kg
- Towing mass, braked / unbraked: 1,600 / 750kg
- Steering: Electric-assisted rack and pinion
- Turning circle: 12.8-meters
- Suspension, F/R: MacPherson struts, anti-roll bars / leaf springs
- Brakes, F/R: Ventilated discs, 308 x 33mm / discs, 308 x 16mm
- Tyres: 215/65R16