Surprisingly refined and compliant for something that's based on a van
Smart enough interior but the infotainment system is fiddly to use
Six airbags and stability control are impressive for a van-based MPV
It feels solid and as long-lasting as the Transit it's based on
Even the short-wheel-base version offers tons of space for passengers and their luggage, but the seats don't fold flat
Entry-level versions are very basic, but higher trim levels are well specced. Extra ninth seat is a cheap option
For something that's based on a van, the Tourneo Custom is incredibly refined. We've tried the 123bhp and 153bhp versions of the 2.2-diesel engine and both are generally smooth and subdued, while wind and road noise are well suppressed. The tall body leans a fair amount if you take bends too quickly but the Tourneo always feels secure and the steering is reassuringly weighty. The Tourneo's suspension is designed to carry heavy loads, and when you have a few passengers on board the ride is impressively comfy; it's more fidgety when you're on your own, though.
We haven't tried the 99bhp engine yet but there's very little difference in pace between the two more powerful versions neither is especially quick but they feel strong and willing above 1500rpm.
Eight seats come as standard (two up front, plus two rows of three individual seats) while the addition of a ninth seat adjoining the driver's comes at a nominal price. All the seats are very roomy and even when they're all in place the boot is huge; it's even bigger in the long-wheelbase version. However, to enjoy the Tourneo's van-like maximum load space you have to remove the seats, which is a pain as they're very heavy.
The Tourneo doesn't feel as classy inside as some MPVs but the cabin is pretty impressive for a van-based vehicle. The plastics are hard to the touch but they still look smart. All-round visibility is excellent thanks to the high seating position and large windows. The infotainment system has the same mobile-phone-inspired layout as smaller Fords, but although the buttons are bigger the screen is still small and the menus rather confusing.
The entry-level Tourneo is pretty basic but includes electric front windows. Mid-level Trend brings front and rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, and cruise control, while Limited adds alloys, air-con, heated front seats and a DAB radio.
The Tourneo feels solid and built to last, and the longevity of Transit vans (on which the Tourneo is based) is reassuring. The Tourneo has more safety kit than most other van-based MPVs, too, including six airbags and stability control. An engine immobiliser and deadlocks are standard.
The Tourneo looks expensive and it's thousands more than the Hyundai i800, but it's also a good bit cheaper than the Mercedes Viano and offers you more seats than both these rivals. All three diesel engines average 43.5mpg in short-wheelbase form, while long-wheelbase versions return 42.4mpg. Just bear in mind that, if you don't really need more than seven seats, there are many purpose-built MPVs that are cheaper, more refined and better to drive.