Ford has created a new Active version of the Tourneo Connect MPV and the Transit Connect van on which it is based. Hot on the heels of the new Transit Custom Active, which was revealed just a few weeks ago, the fresh models arrive with some tough-looking body cladding and asking prices of just over £21,000 plus VAT.

Like every other Active model in the Ford range, the newbies are based on conventional vehicles, so despite the “SUV-inspired” styling, four-wheel drive is not on the cards. However, Ford will sell you an optional limited-slip differential to maximise traction from the two wheels that do transmit power to the road.

That system comes alongside a revamped traction control set-up, which is designed to make the most of the differential’s characteristics. Combined with the raised ride height, providing increased ground clearance, Ford says the system allows drivers to “more comfortably tackle wet, slippery and challenging surfaces”.

Most of the changes, however, only run skin deep. As well as the chunkier bumpers, the Active models get front and rear skid plates and roof rails as standard. Eagle-eyed readers will also note the mesh grille and the exclusive 17-inch alloy wheels, not to mention the extra cladding around the side sills and wheel arches.

Customers will also get a “Active decal” and badges on the front wings, as well as a choice of two new colours. Sedona Orange and Solar Silver will both be available to complement the other Active additions.

Ford Tourneo Connect Active

Inside, meanwhile, there are exclusive seat trim patterns and stitching, as well as blue contrast detailing and Active branding. The metallic scuff plates on the front door sills are also embossed with the Active logo, just in case the point needed further emphasis.

Apart from these visual tweaks, though, the Transit and Tourneo Connect Active models are pretty much identical to their conventional stablemates. The load space in the back of the Transit Connect Active remains unchanged, at 2.9 cubic metres or 3.6 cubic metres, depending on the wheelbase specified, while the maximum payload is just under one metric tonne.

Ford Transit Connect Active

Similarly, the Tourneo Connect Active gets the same five-seat layout as standard, although customers can upgrade to the longer Grand Tourneo Connect Active if they want two fold-away seats behind the second row. The passenger-carrying Tourneo Connect Active is the cheaper of the two models, but not by much. Prices start at £21,285 plus VAT, whereas the Transit Connect Active comes in at £21,675 plus VAT.

Whichever version you choose, the vehicle will come with one of Ford’s 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel engines hiding under the bonnet. Available in 99 and 118 bhp forms, the engines come with a choice of six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearboxes. If you want the limited-slip differential, though, you’ll have to go for the more powerful engine.

Ford Tourneo Connect Active

“Our Active models are a hit with drivers who need to venture off the beaten track, and want to look good while they do it,” said Hans Schep, the general manager for commercial vehicles at Ford of Europe. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s for business or pleasure – the new Tourneo and Transit Connect Active models have the flexibility and capability to support customers with a sense of adventure.”

Gallery: Ford Transit Connect Active and Tourneo Connect Active