This T230 LX high top long wheelbase van is OK, I say OK because that’s all it is. It gets you from A to B and carries stuff in the back, and not a lot else. It should be said however that most commercial vehicles share the same limited attributes.
I cover many miles per week, 85% motorway, 10% A and B roads, and 5% city driving.
If I were looking to buy this vehicle, I would be searching for personal reviews like this one, hoping to find many satisfied customers… Sorry, but you won't find one here.
So what’s wrong with it I hear you say, well firstly the lack of manufacturer research into driver comfort and seat ergonomics. This van has to be the most uncomfortable vehicle I have ever driven. I am 6 ft 2 inches tall, and no matter how much I try to get a comfortable driving position, it just doesn’t exist.
This is not helped at all by the ill designed fitted metal bulkhead option that restricts seat adjustment even more. The only way I can get anywhere near comfortable is by loosening the bulkhead to allow more rearward movement, and by sticking foam pads strategically placed on the seat backrest for added lower back support, and by heightening the front of the seat using spacer washers under the seat frame. The seat needs at least 3 more inches of rear travel on the sub frame to accommodate taller drivers.
Ford has also amusingly fitted what they call a lumbar support. This is a strange contraption that simply pokes a horizontal bar into the middle of your back at the turn of a knob. The only useful purpose I can imagine for this device is to stop you falling asleep at the wheel.
In short, a cheap crappy drivers seat that does not live up to its multi-adjustable advertising hype. You might be lucky if you are between 5ft and 5ft 7ins tall, but the bottom line is this is a budget seat that won't suit everyone.
Similarly the fold-able small passenger seat is a joke, but if you enjoy playing with deckchairs you will love it!! Personally I wouldn't sit in it for journeys over 5 miles and luckily I very rarely have passengers, but if I did, I would be embarrassed asking them to sit on such an uncomfortable plank. It is not a seat, more a puzzle to keep you amused if to decide to fold it down.
To top it off, this is not a quiet van. At motorway speed, road noise is enough to give you a headache; engine noise again is far too loud. Just a little more insulation would have made quite a difference to comfort levels. Not the loudest in its class, but still room for improvement.
Equally if you looking for performance, forget it. It's a struggle to maintain high motorway speeds, and if you want to overtake on a country road, just push the accelerator pedal through the floor and pray!! Very poor for a turbo diesel.
Economy is also poor. I obtain around 36 miles per UK gallon of diesel, and the vehicle is not even heavily loaded or worked hard.
The steering I can only describe as vague. There is very little feedback or feel, and the van does tend to wander rather than sticking to a straight line. The van will also prematurely eat front tyres, especially the inner edges, and, maybe it's just me, but even the steering wheel feels too thin, and does not allow for a firm solid grip.
The sound system is garbage, very harsh and tinny sounding, mainly let down by poor door speakers. Even a bespoke head unit sounds terrible through these speakers. Replace the door speakers and add over-head speakers, and you will get a decent sound, plus some bass as well... No, I'm not a boy racing sub bass addict, but I do believe that a factory fitted radio plus CD unit should be at least pleasing to the ears, and fit for purpose.
Handling again is vague - The suspension is not firm enough for my tastes, but it works. The ABS braking on the other hand is very good, and will stop you quickly if the need arises.
Gear change is slick, the clutch is not too heavy, and overall vision is good. The mirrors provide good rearward vision, especially with the incorporated lower blind spot mirrors. Interior storage is just about adequate and on the whole practical. The headlights are OK, as are the fog lamps, but don't expect exceptional road illumination. Interior lighting is fine, but you can't dim the instrument lighting. Luckily enough it's not too bright to distract you.
The adjustable steering column works well for rake and reach, and the pedals are nicely spaced, with enough room to stretch your leg into the foot well while you're not changing gear or on long journeys.
Load space is very good, and has some useful tie points to secure your load with straps if required.
Reliability has been very good; it always starts whatever the weather, and has never let me down. On the other hand, the passenger door has locked permanently closed and the side sliding door would not lock. The 'battery' dash light has come on and stayed on (common fault due to alternator loom rubbing and shorting against chassis). Heated windscreen failed once. High-level brake light fails regularly. Other than that, the vehicle has been trouble free.
I am struggling to find something else positive to say about this vehicle, but in its favour, it is reasonably well built. The dash plastics and switchgear is solid and the overall interior design and layout is pleasing. The long parcel shelf above the windscreen is useful, but could have been made just a tad deeper to stop your paperwork from flying off. Oh yes, the optional air-conditioning works well and keeps you cool.
As far as service is concerned, there are very good Ford service centres and bad ones too. The good one I use is excellent and very efficient; the bad one I have experienced is not so good, and tends to treat its customers with disbelieving contempt. This is prevalent with any organisation though, so luck of the draw there.
To sum up, this vehicle would make an excellent round town runabout for a local tradesman, but for the more comfort dependent long distance driver, I would shop around and test-drive a selection of vans for at least a day with each if possible.
To be fair, there aren't that many commercial manufacturers that see creature comforts as a high priority. More often than not, load capacity hype and fleet managers budgets take over the sales agenda.
So come on you van manufacturers, think about the driver for a change!!!.
I didn’t have a choice, just like many company employees, as to what vehicle I was supplied with, but had I the option, I would have taken my own advice and shopped around first before settling on the Ford Transit Connect.
I hope you find my personal opinion useful.