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Driven: Ford Tourneo Custom

I went on a weekend away with the Tourneo Custom, arranged by Ford South Africa. The company expanded on the range in lockdown and thus, invited me on a weekend away to experience it.

I think Ford chose to do it this way as lockdown levels were changing. It was not a typical launch event with a bunch of media rotating vehicles; instead it was an offer to go away with up to four people, including two kids but I didn’t have any of those lying around. I took a friend as my plus one and we headed off to the Drakensberg.

The itinerary was put together by Ford, we just had to chose our activities. It felt like a real treat especially after being indoors in lockdown for so long. I have not driven on a four hour journey myself, so this was also a first.

The trip was geared towards the new way we are experiencing travel locally, in a world where we are trying to rebuild the economy after hard lockdown: road-tripping.

The Tourneo Custom automatic is a people-mover and seats up to eight very comfortably. My first impressions were that it was spacious. However, important to note is that the vehicle is huge. I had to make space for it by parking my own car elsewhere as I had another long term loan unit at my house.

Due to its size, I did not park it in my garage. It was a slight concern for me to leave a car outside my garage that is not mine.  That said, if you are in the market for this vehicle or are considering one due to a large family, you need to factor parking space not just at home but wherever you will be going.

WORTH NOTING ABOUT THE TOURNEO CUSTOM:

– For the first time, it is available in a 6-speed automatic gearbox
– The automatic vehicles are powered by Ford’s 2.0-litre single turbo diesel engine with AdBlue and a particulate filter to reduce exhaust emissions.
– It has a new modern dashboard layout with SYNC 3 on the 8-inch infotainment system
– It has a leather gear knob and leather steering wheel
– The driver seat is 10-way adjustable and passenger seat is 4-way manually adjustable
– It has 3 ISOFIX child seat attachments
– Features include Hill launch assist, roll over mitigation, and adaptive load control
– It has ABS with emergency brake assist, emergency brake warning and tyre pressure monitoring

I drove the 2L diesel (136kW; 415Nm) but it also comes in a 96kW version. The extras mine was equipped with was metallic paint; LED day time running lights; adaptive cruise control with lane keeping assist, collision mitigation and lane departure warning; blind spot detection with cross traffic alert and trailer coverage; power point socket; park distance sensors; roof track.

THE ROAD-TRIP

The Tourneo Custom is huge so I had to just treat it like I was driving a normal car to adjust to. I didn’t overthink my turns and fitting into places, I just pretended I was in any other car, plus the parking cameras were especially handy. It took a little bit of effort to open the side doors but I got the hang of it.

We didn’t get to fill the back with 6 people but I can imagine how much fun a roadtrip would be with a vehicle full of friends or family. I love the seating arrangement that faces each other, three seats each. We used the space in the back to load our luggage. I decided it would be easier to access in parking lots when we wanted to grab jackets etc. The boot was fairly large for the vehicle size but I didn’t like opening and closing it. I found it took too much space personally, for two women traveling alone. I also felt safer opening the doors on the side.

The drive was comfortable, I don’t try to do anything I shouldn’t on test cars and drove straight from A to B basically. The 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system is new to this car, on the Limited model only, not the entry level ones.

I loved that the vehicle had SYNC 3, which I used to connect my iPhone and use Google Maps comfortably throughout the journey. I cannot live without Google Maps so this was convenient and helped us on the way as we made a little detour due to an accident.

There was enough space on the door and around me to put bottles of water, mask, keys, and just stuff. I had a lot of “stuff” LOL. Due to Covid, we also kept our hygienic wipes and bottles of sanitiser within easy access and reach. Between the two front seats was a large enough gap to fit my handbag.

The vehicle is large and I can only compare it to the Caravelle that I drove recently, which goes up against the Mercedes Benz V Class. The Ford Tourneo Custom is more a rival to the Kombi, and I personally have not driven that yet.

I found the entry-level price excellent for the Tourneo, it starts at R621 500 for an 8 seater people-mover (2.2 TDCi Ambiente 6MT) . However, based on my experience with the top of the line 2L Limited 6AT model kitted with the infotainment system, parking cameras (so NB), and other little conveniences, I would say this is the model to go for if you’re a large family looking to travel locally more often in a post-Covid world.

THE DRAKENSBERG STAY

Ford South Africa booked us into Dalmore Guest Farm. We arrived on the Friday. It’s a massive property but the parking felt tight so I had to make sure we fit properly between the poles. We parked off and it was a close walk to our accommodation. It’s a farm full of animals and plenty of entertainment areas like a pool, table tennis, lounge area, kiddies play area, and enough place to walk and visit the nearby damn to catch the sunset.

We also went on our own exploration journey on the Saturday, and opted for a canopy tour. It was a fun activity to do and if you find yourself in the Berg, I recommend you try it. The main road also has fun things to do, farmstalls to visit and small shopping areas and activities. We found a place to do archery but they also have other activities. We stopped at the loveliest spot called

Driving the Ford Tourneo Custom isn’t a vehicle I typically drive but it was made possible by Ford taking care of all the arrangements and bookings. I appreciated the effort that went into it to make us feel comfortable to travel and explore South Africa during a difficult time.

FORD TOURNEO CUSTOM PRICES

2.2 Ambiente 6MT – R621 500
2.2 Trend 6MT – R646 000
2.2 Limited 6MT – R695 600
2.0 Trend 6AT – R700 200
2.0 Limited 6AT – R740 900

The Tourneo has a 4 year/120 000km warranty; a 6 year/90 000km service plan; 3 year/unlimited km roadside assistance; and 5 year/unlimited km corrosion warranty.

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