Ford Tourneo Courier review

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Ford's Tourneo Courier MPV reinvents itself in this new generation form. Jonathan Crouch reports

Ten Second Review

Ford re-invents it's Tourneo Courier small van-based MPV for a new era. But still offers it with the more affordable option of mild hybrid petrol combustion power, as well as in full-EV form. Either way, it's practical, affordable to run and surprisingly stylish.

Background

What will the affordable end of Ford's passenger car range look like after the era of Fiesta and Focus? Well here's one answer to that question, the Tourneo Courier which, as its name suggests, is a passenger-carrying version of the latest generation Transit Courier van. It's made in Craiova, Romania alongside the brand's Puma small SUV and will effectively become the company's entry-level passenger car. It'll be at its most affordable in 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol form, but a full-EV E-Tourneo Courier version also features.

Ford wants us to see this new model line as 'fun and fuelled by a restless need for adventure'. You might merely see it as an alternative to the small van-based MPVs produced by Stellantis Group brands like Vauxhall, Citroen and Peugeot.

Driving Experience

Even though this Tourneo Courier is based on an all-electric platform, its sales prospects were going to be pretty limited if Ford had only offered it in full-EV form. If the car's intended outdoorsy lifestyle vibe is to be realised in ownership, customers are going to need to be able to travel decent distances. Potentially, longer than the ones they can comfortably travel using the current public charging infrastructure. Which is why the DNA of the Fiesta this model basically replaced lives on in the engine most initial Tourneo Courier customers will choose; the 1.0-litre EcoBoost mild hybrid petrol engine we've been familiar with in various Ford models since the beginning of this decade, here provided in 123bhp form. It's not a proper self-charging Hybrid (the tiny battery can never solely drive the car); but it can be had with either 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed dual clutch auto.

Obviously you'll have to have an auto (the usual EV 1-speeder) if you choose the E-Tourneo Courier. This has a 134bhp electric motor mounted on the front axle. There's no dual motor AWD version. Expect a battery size around 54kWh and a range of around 200 miles - about 37 miles more than rival Citroen e-Berlingo or Peugeot e-Rifter competitors. Top speed is 90mph and there's 290Nm of pulling power.

Design and Build

Though the Tourneo Courier is a van-based compact MPV, Ford hopes you'll view this model as more than just a van with windows. Hence all the outdoorsy-style dressing that the brand thinks will see it appeal to folk who might otherwise be considering a small SUV. Which is why the car features big wheels in black plastic-clad arches, rails framing a contrast-coloured roof and faux skid plates. It's much more practical than a small SUV though, aided this time round not only by the squarical profile but also by exterior dimensional increases in every direction.

You immediately get a feel for this behind the wheel, where a glance at the centre console reveals an enormous storage bin big enough to hold a laptop bag or a handbag. Passengers bound for the rear aren't offered the option of a third seating row (unlike with some Stellantis Group competitors). But there's more shoulder room in this new generation model for those on the back seat. And a huge boot with a conventional tailgate (so owners have something to shelter under in the rain). The trunk is now 570-litres in size (175-litres bigger than before). The boot trims feature a fold-out storage bin (for muddy shoes), an area also offering enclosed shelves for smaller items. The E-Tourneo Courier also gets a 44-litre storage area beneath the bonnet, ideal for holding charging cables.

Market and Model

From the introduction of this model, Ford was bullishly talking about starting asking prices for the petrol version of this car from well under £25,000. Expect the model you're more interested in to be priced in the £25,000-£30,000 bracket and the E-Tourneo Courier is likely to be at least around £35,000. Obvious rivals include the Vauxhall Combo Electric, the Peugeot e-Rifter and the Citroen e-Berlingo.

Across the range, the so-called 'onboard digital experience' is centred around the striking 'digiboard' instrument panel that features a full digital instrument cluster and SYNC 4 infotainment controlled via a large 12inch touchscreen. The fully-connected cabin features wireless 'Android Auto' and 'Apple CarPlay' integration, as well as a phone charging pad to stay connected on the go. Over-the-air updates can improve functionality over time without the need to visit a dealership. Air conditioning and a heated windscreen will also be standard-fit. The Tourneo Courier is available with a range of stylish series choices, including the distinctive 'Active' model with contrast roof colour, wheel arch mouldings, roof bars and unique seat fabrics.

Cost of Ownership

If you choose the 1.0-litre mild hybrid petrol version, the official stat is around 50mpg on the combined cycle and well over 40mpg should be easily achievable on a regular basis. Expect a CO2 official reading of around 120g/km.The way mild hybrid tech works is pretty universal but we'll recap on it here. The 1.0-litre three cylinder EcoBoost turbo petrol engine - already pretty efficient thanks to its use of cylinder deactivation at medium-to-low throttle speeds - is embellished with a belt-driven integrated starter/generator (the 'BISG'), this one of 11.5kW in output. This replaces the standard alternator and enables the recovery and storage of energy usually lost during braking and coasting to charge a tiny 48volt lithium-ion air-cooled battery pack secreted beneath the rear seat. The BISG also acts as a motor, integrating with the engine and using the stored energy it harvests to provide extra pulling power during normal driving and acceleration, as well as running the vehicle's electrical ancillaries.

The belt-driven integrated starter/generator is also able to aid the powerplant's stop/start system in urban traffic, restarting the engine in approximately 300 milliseconds - about the same as the blink of an eye. And the 'BISG' also enables the Tourneo Courier EcoBoost Hybrid's Auto Start-Stop technology to operate in a wider range of scenarios for even greater fuel savings, including when coasting to a stop below 10mph - and even when the vehicle is in gear with the clutch pedal depressed.

As for the E-Tourneo Courier EV, well as we told you in our 'Driving' section, its 54kWh battery offers a range of around 230 miles. The car can DC charge at up to 100kW, which will give you a 10-80% battery replenishment time of under 35 minutes - and 54 miles of range can be added in just 10 minutes. Connected up to your 7kW garage wall box at home, you should easily be able to completely recharge the car overnight.

Summary

This revitalised Tourneo Courier certainly offers a more energetic take on the usual van-based compact MPV formula. Whether it's actually as 'fun' as Ford believes is another question. It's interesting that the brand is offering it with the Fiesta's old 1.0-litre EcoBoost mild hybrid petrol engine as well as in full-EV form: clearly, Ford thinks we're still some way off a full- electric future.

When that finally arrives, this car will be ready for it. As you'd expect, this design feels the generation on from its Stellantis Group brand competitors that it is. And there are some clever interior touches and personalisation features that the target parental market will like. These people may, quite rightly, see this Ford as an ideal second family car. Just as it was designed to be.

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