Ford's Grand Tourneo Connect is a family friendly MPV that's perfect for wheelchair accessible conversions. Sold until 2021, it's a great option for wheelchair users who want a second-hand vehicle from this era with more car-like credentials than most of its rivals. Yes, it's a van-based vehicle, but thankfully it's refined enough that it doesn't constantly remind you of that fact.
Style and practicality. Two mutually exclusive qualities you’d have thought. Not according to most makers of compact MPVs. Without exception, they all claim somehow to have combined elegant looks with van-like capacity. We wouldn’t blame you for being sceptical about that if you’re shopping in this market for a used People Carrier from the 2012-2021 period that’s been transformed into a Wheelchair Access Vehicle (WAV). And in response, we’d direct you to this car, Ford’s Grand Tourneo Connect.
What we’re looking at here is essentially a lengthened version of the ordinary Tourneo Connect, which is in turn the passenger-carrying stablemate of Ford’s compact Transit Connect van, this ‘Grand’ model being the better version for WAV conversions.
One unique selling point here is that this Grand Tourneo Connect WAV claims more car-like credentials than most of its rivals. From interior furnishing to handling response, it’s pretty much the equal of any mid-range vehicle from this period you might care to name, except for the fact that it’s far bigger than most of them.
This WAV is based on the larger Ford Grand Tourneo Connect. After the vehicle was originally built by Ford, it was sent to one of the specialist WAV converters here in the UK. There, skilled engineers using the latest technology converted it for safe, practical and comfortable wheelchair use and finished it to an incredibly high standard.
The WAV we’re looking at here is based on the lengthened ‘Grand Tourneo Connect’ model, which adds an extra 400mm in body length making this Wheelchair Access Vehicle extremely spacious.
At the wheel, it’s all very car-like, though in a sensible, utilitarian sort of way. The high driving position and great door mirrors with their separate sections provide the driver with excellent, all-round visibility. All these things endear us to cars of this kind. The commercial origins of course, mean that you don’t get the fashionable soft-touch plastics you’d find in, say, a C-MAX from around the same time – but then, are these really necessary on a practical family WAV? What’s more important is that build quality from the Spanish Valencia factory seems very strong and the wipe-clean surfaces provided appear tough and durable.
You view a clearly presented set of familiar Ford instruments through a four-spoke wheel that moves for both reach and rake. And you immediately appreciate a supportive driver’s seat that’s eight-way-adjustable on most models, making it easier to get comfortable than it would be in some competitors. The mobile phone-inspired centre console switchgear layout is relatively simple to use. And there’s plenty of practicality too, with a decent amount of storage throughout the vehicle.
For the second generation Tourneo Connect model, the more refined and efficient 1.6-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel unit took the place of the old 1.8-litre unit, offering a choice of either 95 or 115PS outputs. From around 2015, the 1.6-litre diesel was replaced by a more efficient 1.5-litre TDCi unit. Power outputs were also increased, with a choice of 100 or 120PS plus a claimed fuel economy of up to 64.2mpg. There was also the option of a 1.0-litre 100PS petrol powerplant, but in WAVs these versions are pretty rare.
It’s an efficient vehicle to run, but you’ll need to bear in mind that WAVs are heavier because of their interior conversion, which will slightly affect the standard model’s efficiency figures and acceleration. Always check specific details on the used vehicle you are looking to buy with your WAV Supplier.
The wheelchair ramp simply pulls-out from the rear of the vehicle to become a strong, low-gradient ramp with a high traction, non-slip surface so that wheelchair tyres and carers can safely enter the WAV through the large rear door. Many WAVs also features a powered winch that makes accessing the vehicle via the ramp even easier. Once onboard, the ramp can then be folded back into the vehicle behind the passenger. Ramps can usually be folded down into the floor whenever the vehicle is not being used to transport the wheelchair passenger, creating extra storage space.
Once inside, the wheelchair is secured by high-quality restraints, while the seat belts ensure maximum safety for the passenger.
The number of standard passenger seats in different WAVs does vary, but on the vehicle in the video review above there’s room for the wheelchair user, the driver and 3 additional seated passengers. Versions are available with one, two or three passenger seats in the rear of the vehicle. Fewer seats in the back usually provides the wheelchair passenger with more space, and would also be more suitable when transporting a mobility scooter.
Specialist used WAV dealers can often add or remove seats to preowned wheelchair vehicles, so if you see a vehicle that you like but the seating layout isn’t quite right, they may be able to easily adjust the seating by adding or removing seats for you. They will also be able to help if you need additional driving or access adaptations fitting to the WAV.
This Grand Tourneo Connect WAV ought to alter the way people perceive vehicles of this kind, changing as it does many of the fundamental things you’d expect from this class of vehicle. Its electronic safety features are cutting edge, its engines can be hi-tech. It’s even got clever equipment options and a modicum of style, making it a superb vehicle for wheelchair accessible conversions.
It’s a lot more than a van with seats and windows. You don’t have to spend long in the Grand Tourneo Connect to realise that.
Choosing a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle might seem like a big step, but it could make a huge difference to your life. Make sure you ask the WAV specialist you’re purchasing from all the right questions and do your own thorough checks before choosing a vehicle.
The answers to these questions will help you to choose the WAV that’s right for you. Select the ideal vehicle for you via the MotaClarity used WAV search.