In-depth reviews

Ford Tourneo Custom review - the UK's best 9-seater?

“The Tourneo Custom feels more like a car than a van to drive, but keeps the similar Transit’s practicality – exactly how it should be”

Carbuyer Rating

4.3 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Pros

  • Comfort and refinement
  • Space
  • Wide range of models

Cons

  • Jerky automatic gearbox
  • Size around town
  • Expensive

Verdict - Is the Ford Tourneo Custom a good car?

The Ford Tourneo Custom is based on Ford’s latest, updated Transit, but if you think that means van-like driving characteristics, then think again. The Transit is already far more sophisticated than you’d expect and the Tourneo is more refined and comfortable still. It’s also very well equipped, as you’d hope for given pricing that starts at more than £54,000, but with huge space, a wide range of engines and trim levels and even an EV variant, it has to be on the shopping list of any buyer who needs up to nine seats.

Ford Tourneo Custom models, specs and alternatives

Ford has updated its people-moving Tourneo Custom for 2023, alongside its Transit Custom sibling, and it’s better than ever as a result. Not only does a facelift grant the Tourneo Custom a fresh, modern, and distinctive look, but equipment levels have been improved and new drivetrains introduced, including an all-electric variant.

The update comes at the right time, because as conventional MPVs of the past make way for large SUVs and crossovers, there’s a bit of a gap in the market for a proper, people-focused offering, and Ford’s nine-seater isn’t the only model filling it – Volkswagen also has its high-end Multivan and electric ID. Buzz, while smaller van-based MPVs like the Citroen Berlingo seat seven in an affordable package.

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Affordability is a relative term, with even the cheapest Tourneo Custom costing more than £54,000 once VAT is factored in (typically, vans are listed without it), but you do get a lot of car (or van) for that money. The basic Zetec trim line is well-equipped and things only get better from there, while engines span a wide range from a 134bhp diesel to a 224bhp plug-in hybrid petrol – and the 215bhp electric model with its 231-mile range offers something different again.

Pricing for the EV hasn’t yet been confirmed but with the plug-in hybrid starting at more than £57,000, it’s unlikely to be cheap. But neither are its rivals – a less spacious Volkswagen ID. Buzz starts at nearly £59,000, against which the Tourneo Custom may still look like good value.

Trim levels

Power options

  • Zetec
  • Titanium
  • Titanium Luxe
  • Active
  • Titanium X
  • Titanium X Luxe
  • 2.0L EcoBlue diesel, 134bhp
  • 2.0L EcoBlue diesel, 148bhp
  • 2.0L EcoBlue diesel, 168bhp
  • 2.5L Duratec petrol PHEV, 224bhp
  • Single electric motor, 215bhp

Large van-based MPVs

Family 7-seaters

Electric MPVs

  • Volkswagen ID. Buzz
  • Citroen E-Spacetourer
  • Mercedes-Benz EQV

MPG, running costs and CO2 emissions

“Electric variant has a usefully long maximum range, while the diesels are relatively frugal and the plug-in hybrid even more so”

While a large, van-based MPV like the Ford Tourneo Custom won’t quite match a dedicated car-based MPV in terms of efficiency, the Tourneo Custom still does a good job. Fuel economy for the three diesel variants nearly touches 40mpg on paper (expect a little less in the real world, particularly when loaded with people and luggage), but Ford also offers a plug-in hybrid with more than 30 miles of EV range, and a fully electric model capable of more than 200 miles – the latter enough that you might even consider an occasional road trip.

Model

Fuel economy

CO2 emissions

2.0L EcoBlue diesel, 134bhp

38mpg

194g/km

2.0L EcoBlue diesel, 148bhp

38mpg

195g/km

2.0L EcoBlue diesel, 168bhp

35mpg

212g/km

2.5L Duratec petrol PHEV, 224bhp

157mpg

41g/km

Electric

231-mile range

65kWh battery

Insurance

As the latest Ford Tourneo Custom is so new, Ford hasn’t yet revealed insurance ratings, but these should be available soon, and shouldn’t differ greatly from insurance costs on the previous model.

Engines, drive & performance

“A wide choice of engines, including an electric model, gives buyers plenty of options, and the Tourneo drives well too”

The Ford Tourneo Custom is as refined and relaxing as any car-based MPV on the move – impressive, given that under the skin is a Ford Transit panel van. Ride comfort is excellent and so is stability – this is an easy car to drive at motorway speeds, where it also isolates occupants well from road and wind noise. Even on the larger 17-inch wheel option we’ve tried, it does an admirable job of dealing with the road surface. Overall, it’s more car-like to drive than ever before, just like its Transit Custom sibling.

Diesel models

There are three diesel engines in the Tourneo Custom range – or to be accurate one 2.0-litre diesel available in three power outputs. All are front-wheel drive, with the basic 134bhp model available with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox, the 148bhp version manual-only, and the 168bhp offered only with the auto. Ford hasn’t yet confirmed performance figures, but while the diesel is fairly refined, our experience with the top automatic model suggests the auto gearbox could use some work – it’s a little slow to react when you ask for more power, then changes down a couple of gears in a fluster causing the revs to shoot up. The manual is probably the better option.

Model

Power

0-62mph

Top speed

2.0L EcoBlue

134bhp

TBC

TBC

2.0L EcoBlue

148bhp

TBC

TBC

2.0L EcoBlue

168bhp

TBC

TBC

Plug-in hybrid models

The Tourneo Custom is offered with a petrol plug-in hybrid option, using a 2.5-litre four-cylinder Duratec-branded petrol engine, combined with electric assistance. Power is sent to the front wheels through a single-speed automatic transmission.

Model

Power

0-62mph

Top speed

2.5 Duratec PHEV

224bhp

TBC

TBC

Electric models

Electric power gives the Tourneo Custom real variety. It’s handled by a single electric motor, this time powering the rear wheels – making it the only rear-wheel drive variant of the Tourneo Custom. It’s also amongst the most powerful and naturally the quietest too, while a pretty decent maximum range means you might even consider undertaking longer trips now and then.

Model

Power

0-62mph

Top speed

Electric

215bhp

TBC

TBC

Interior & comfort

“The Tourneo Custom’s interior is surprisingly refined and high quality given its workmanlike roots, and there’s a high level of equipment too”

The Tourneo Custom launches at the same time as the updated Transit Custom panel van, and as well as sharing exterior similarities, they use the same basic architecture inside too. That’s actually good news, as the Transit’s dashboard works well, it includes Ford’s latest SYNC infotainment system, there are storage cubbies galore, and quality is good.

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There are a few things to get used to, including a column-mounted gearshift for the automatic gearbox, and the three-abreast seating, which is practical but doesn’t feel the most spacious with all three seats occupied. But the Tourneo Custom also gets features you won’t see in a Transit, like a panoramic roof in some trim levels, and a very healthy level of equipment even from the most basic trim line. It’s a comfortable environment, and well isolated from wind and road noise too.

Equipment

Ford offers six trim lines on the Tourneo Custom, and thanks to the fact it’s aimed at private customers, even the most basic Zetec is better equipped than the equivalent Transit Custom panel van. Standard kit includes 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, Ford’s SYNC 4 infotainment with a 13-inch touchscreen, and a heated windscreen. Titanium adds body-colour bumpers, privacy glass, 17-inch wheels, navigation and rear climate control, while Titanium Luxe includes a panoramic roof, a B&O sound system, and ambient lighting.

Then there’s the offroad-style Active, which over Titanium includes rugged wheel arch mouldings, skid plates, dual power side doors and a different 17-inch wheel design. Titanium X builds on Zetec spec with matrix LED lights, chrome exterior window trim, a six-way powered driver’s seat, 360-degree parking camera and 19-inch alloys, while Titanium X Luxe adds a panoramic roof, heated middle row outer seats, and 15-speaker B&O audio.

Infotainment and navigation

The Tourneo Custom carries across the infotainment setup from the Transit Custom, but that’s not necessarily such a bad thing, with a 13-inch touchscreen system, Ford’s SYNC 4 infotainment software, and 5G connectivity. It’s compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and can receive over-the-air software updates – and overall it works much better than previous SYNC systems.

Practicality & boot space

“Being based on a van means the Tourneo Custom is about as practical and adaptable as MPVs get”

People movers don’t come much more practical – as you’d expect when a car is effectively based on a panel van. Even the standard wheelbase model is vast in terms of both passenger and boot space, while the long wheelbase model features an extra 400mm between its axles. The rear side doors are sliding (with powered operation on some models) which makes access a doddle, and the seats both slide on rails, and can be removed, so the cabin can be configured in multiple ways.

Model

Length

Width

Height

Ford Tourneo Custom SWB

5050mm

2032mm

1966mm

Volkswagen Multivan SWB

4973mm

1941mm

1907mm

Volkswagen ID. Buzz

4712mm

1985mm

1937mm

Boot space

This is one thing no Tourneo Custom is short of. Even in its shortest configuration with all seats in place and mounted as far rearward as they’ll go, it’ll take 514 litres of luggage, or 787 litres with the rear row pushed forward. That extends to 632 and 999 litres for the 400mm-longer long-wheelbase version, while being essentially a van, luggage volume with all but the first row of seats removed is vast: up to 4,683 litres if you load it to the roof, or 5,472 litres for the long-wheelbase Tourneo Custom.

Model

Behind second row

Behind first row

Ford Tourneo Custom SWB

1,735 litres

4,683 litres

Volkswagen Multivan SWB

1,700 litres

3,300 litres

Volkswagen ID. Buzz

1,121 litres

N/A

Reliability & safety

“There’s no Euro NCAP score yet but the Tourneo Custom is packed with car-like safety gear, and should have a good standard of safety”

Ford didn’t have a great showing in the most recent, 2023 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, the brand finishing in 28th position from the 32 brands represented. The outgoing Tourneo Custom didn’t appear in the car list, though there was more of a mixture of highs and lows there, with the Ford EcoSport crossover finishing a surprising sixth place, while the Puma was mid-table coming 33rd out of the top 75 cars. It’s hard to predict how the Tourneo Custom might fare, but based on Driver Power, it should at least be better than the equivalent models from Volkswagen.

Safety

The Ford Tourneo Custom hasn’t yet been crash-tested by Euro NCAP, and nor has its Ford Transit Custom sibling. The previous model was awarded five stars in the van category back in 2012, a rating which has since expired as Euro NCAP’s criteria have changed, but with a long list of safety kit including intelligent speed assist, pre-collision assist, lane keep, traffic sign recognition, and passive safety including front, side and curtain airbags, and an alcohol interlock device for a breathalyser, we’d expect a good rating from the latest model.

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