Suppose you're a business owner drawn to the form and function of a utility van like the Sprinter, but you operate in confined urban settings or just don't need its full-size capacity and full-size price tag. With the relatively compact and affordable Ford Transit Connect, your search could be over. This Euro-derived cargo (or passenger) van offers impressive functionality in a maneuverable and fuel-efficient package.
A scaled-down alternative to traditional American work vans, the Ford Transit Connect keeps things simple with a single distinctive body style -- think of it as a midsize wagon with a very tall cargo compartment -- powered by an economical four-cylinder engine. With previous-generation Focus-based unibody construction and 136 horsepower, the Transit Connect won't win any towing awards, but its 135 cubic feet of cargo space gives it a leg up on even full-size SUVs. It won't win any drag races either, but prospective owners will likely be more interested in its affordable cost, maneuverable size and remarkably practical interior.
Current Ford Transit Connect
The Ford Transit Connect is a front-wheel-drive compact commercial van. All models are powered by a 2.0-liter inline-4 with 136 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque, mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. EPA estimated fuel economy ratings stand at 21 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined.
The Transit Connect is offered in two styles: Van (with or without side and rear glass) and Wagon. The former's rear compartment is strictly for cargo hauling, while the latter features a bench seat for transporting passengers. Both come with dual sliding doors, though these can be deleted upon request. The trim levels are XL and XLT for the Van, and XLT and XLT Premium for the Wagon.
The Van XL offers basics like 180-degree-opening rear doors, stability control, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a two-speaker stereo with an auxiliary audio jack. The Van XLT adds body-color bumpers, full power accessories, heated mirrors, cruise control, a cargo area 12-volt power point and a CD player. The Wagon XLT model includes those features along with foglights and a 60/40-split-folding three-passenger second-row bench seat. The Wagon XLT Premium adds flip-open rear side windows, storage pockets in the rear doors and a four-speaker audio system.
Business-minded options include a vehicle tracking system and an innovative in-dash computer with navigation and Internet access. Cargo vans can also be equipped with a tool tracking and inventory system, as well as customizable rear shelving for optimizing cargo management. Other options include rear parking sensors, 255-degree-opening rear doors, remote start and Bluetooth communications.
In reviews, our editors have praised the Transit Connect's unusual combination of excellent cargo capacity and carlike maneuverability. The maximum payload is just 1,600 pounds, but the cargo area's 135 cubic feet of storage includes lots of useful vertical space. On the road, the Ford Transit Connect is extraordinarily agile for a work van, and its relatively compact footprint enables it to squeeze into spaces that full-size vans would have to pass up. The diminutive 2.0-liter engine struggles against the van's 3,500-pound curb weight, though the payoff is relatively impressive fuel economy.
Used Ford Transit Connect Models
The Ford Transit Connect debuted for the 2010 model year and hasn't received any major changes since. In that initial year, the Wagon variant was offered in a base XL trim but lacked the current XLT Premium trim. Unlike today's version, stability control was standard on the Wagon but optional on the Van.
Read the most recent 2013 Ford Transit Connect review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Ford Transit Connect page.