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Fri, 31 May 2002
Ford has announced a Berlingo type kombi utility version of its new Connect mini-Transit to be called the Tourneo, and it goes on sale in the UK in August.

Like the Berlingo, Kangoo, Partner, Doblo, Vaneo etc., it will have a hugely capacious rear with twin sliding side doors and a rear seat for three. Uniquely, on the Tourneo, this will be 60/40 split-folding for even greater versatility.

Designed to be car-like to drive, the stylish good looks of the Tourneo Connect help to distance it from the stigma usually attached to this sort of ultra-sensible vehicle.

The Tourneo Connect is rugged yet provides car-like comfort and driving characteristics. Its toughened bodyshell makes extensive use of high-strength steel, including partially double-skinned body sides, and incorporates two side cross members and a Boron-steel front cross member for added rigidity. The underbody is built with extensive use of high strength steel and heavy-duty components. For added security when carrying loads, wheels are 15" five stud type and tyres are reinforced. Suspension systems and components are designed to meet commercial vehicle durability requirements, yet tuned to provide passenger car levels of comfort and refinement. Front and rear anti-roll bars enhance stability and handling and the driving experience is, apparently, “further honed by specially tuned and developed power steering and brake systems”.

In its market segment, Ford claims that the five seat Tourneo Connect will be the only vehicle to offer all of the following features:

Optional fold-flat front passenger seat for maximum load length and additional cube, or four-way adjustable seat with underseat stowage for improved comfort and security.
Rear passenger seat flexibility: As well as being fully removable, the rear seat backrests fold flat, and the seat folds fully forward and stows vertically.

Rear seat (cushion & backrest) splits 60/40, offering maximum possible configurations from one to three seats.

Comprehensive door variations offer standard twin side load doors, and rear doors or tailgate options.

Security features include a ‘lock-in-latch’ system, first used on the full-size Ford Transit. This system encases the door lock and latch in the same protective steel box, thus eliminating connecting cables and rods that a thief might otherwise be able to manipulate to gain entry to the vehicle. The Torneo is also equipped with security-shielded wiring, key-operated bonnet lock and the latest generation of Ford’s advanced Passive Anti-Theft System (PATS). This high-security engine immobiliser employs an electronic security code, which means that not even ‘hot wiring’ will work.

Safety equipment includes driver, passenger and side airbags, and anti-lock brakes. In addition, the vehicle’s bodyshell confers a high degree of structural integrity.
Driver comfort is further enhanced by a six-way adjustable drivers seat; a rake and reach adjustable steering column; and it is available with a wide range of comfort and convenience features, including air conditioning, power windows and mirrors, CD auto-changer, alloy wheels, privacy glass and remote central double locking.

The Tourneo Connect will be assembled at Ford’s new, state-of-the-art Kocaeli plant near Izmit, Turkey, along with the full-size Transit van and new Transit Connect.

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