2012 Ford Transit Connect Minivan Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Ford Transit Connect Minivan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Ford Transit Connect Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 136 hp @ 6300 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 21/27 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2012 Ford Transit Connect

  • The 2012 Ford Transit Connect offers business owners an attractive alternative to larger, thirstier and more expensive cargo vans.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Easy to park and maneuver in tight spaces; above average fuel economy; large, versatile cargo area; clever business-oriented electronics features.

  • Cons

    Glacial acceleration; limited 1,600-pound payload capacity; subpar crash scores.

  • What's New for 2012

    Every Ford Transit Connect gets standard stability control for 2012.

Full 2012 Ford Transit Connect Review

What's New for 2012

Every Ford Transit Connect gets standard stability control for 2012.


When gas prices rise, businesses everywhere watch their profits go out the door and into the pumps of gas stations across the country, especially if they are utilizing thirsty, V8-powered full-size vans to ferry equipment and merchandise. Clearly it would be nice if there was something smaller and more efficient for those who don't need a small bus to deliver cakes or repair satellite dishes. Thankfully, such a vehicle does exist: the 2012 Ford Transit Connect.

We'll admit that it's an odd little duck, resembling some sort of unholy spawn of an old Ford Fusion and a Dodge Sprinter. Yet this weird shape is quite space efficient, and its flat-paneled sides are perfect for affixing company graphics. On the inside, there are 135 cubic feet of cargo space, which is about 100 cubes shy of a Ford Econoline, but much easier to access because of the Transit Connect's low step-in height and taller interior. Wagon models also include a three-person bench should you need space for extra workers.

There are other advantages to its shape and size. The Transit Connect will easily fit in parallel parking spots that would leave an Econoline driver circling the block aimlessly searching for a suitable space. Handling is also an advantage, as this tiny van is more capable of maneuvering through traffic.

While the 2012 Ford Transit Connect represents an entirely new type of work van segment, it also introduces a variety of new features designed specifically for small businesses. Shelving units are a more basic option, while the Ford Work Solutions should appeal to more high-tech operations. These include an in-dash computer, a Garmin navigation system and Internet access. The Crew Chief tracks the vehicle's location, speed and idle time, making 3-hour lunches at Hooters a thing of the past. Finally, Tool Link by DeWalt keeps track of your tool inventory via radio frequency ID tags.

There are downsides, however. Its four-cylinder engine may be substantially more fuel-efficient than those V8-powered dinosaurs, but the Transit Connect is woefully underpowered for a vehicle of this size. Its compact cargo area and payload of 1,600 pounds might also limit its application for some. If those are concerns, a traditional-style van like the Chevy Express or new Nissan NV would work out better. You should also check out the minivan-based Ram C/V as another light-duty alternative. Yet for many businesses, the 2012 Ford Transit Connect is all the van you need to get the job done, and it saves you some dough along the way.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Ford Transit Connect is a compact work van available in XL Van, XLT Van, XLT Wagon and XLT Premium Wagon trim levels. The primary difference between Van and Wagon trims is the presence of a second-row seat. All versions come with dual sliding side doors, but these can be deleted, as can the rear door glass.

Standard equipment on the XL Van includes 15-inch steel wheels, an integrated blind-spot mirror, rear privacy glass, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat with an armrest and lumbar adjustment, cloth upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a two-speaker radio. The Power Group adds keyless entry and full power accessories. The XLT includes the Power Group plus body-colored bumpers, a rear window defroster, heated mirrors, map lights, a 12-volt cargo area power point, a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.

The Wagon version of the XLT gets foglights, a three-person rear bench seat and a four-speaker audio system. The XLT Premium gets special exterior trim, rear cargo door pocket storage and flip-open glass windows in the cargo area.

Options on all Transit Connects include an in-dash computer (featuring a touchscreen display, a Microsoft operating system, a wireless mouse and keyboard, a Garmin navigation system and Internet access) and the Crew Chief vehicle tracking system. Bluetooth can be added to the in-dash computer. The Van trims can also be equipped with the Tool Link by DeWalt tool tracking and inventory system. Fleet buyers can also add rear doors that open to 255 degrees, rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.

Powertrains and Performance

Every 2012 Ford Transit Connect features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine good for 136 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic sends that power to the front wheels. In Edmunds performance testing, a Transit Connect went from a standstill to 60 mph in a very sluggish 12.6 seconds -- with an empty cargo bay. On the upside, EPA-estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg city/26 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined.


Standard safety equipment on every Transit Connect includes four-wheel antilock brakes (front discs, rear drums), traction and stability control, and front side airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, the Transit Connect gets to a stop from 60 mph in 135 feet, which is pretty good for a commercial vehicle.

In government crash tests, the Transit Connect received only two out of five stars for overall crash protection, with three stars for overall frontal protection and two stars for overall side-impact protection.

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside the cabin, the Transit Connect offers a carlike driving position. The overall look is utilitarian, though patterned upholstery fabric adds a nice touch. Climate and stereo controls are simple and straightforward. The in-dash computer (which includes a wireless keyboard) is bound to come in handy for folks who spend all day in the field, but it compromises the usability of some normal car functions such as the stereo.

When it comes to cargo capacity, the Transit Connect Van offers a healthy 135 cubic feet, which is about 100 cubic feet less than Ford's larger Econoline vans. However, the space is made more usable by a much lower step-in height, a flat load floor that measures 6 feet long and 4 feet wide, and a ceiling height of just less than 5 feet. Maximum payload is a modest 1,600 pounds.

For ferrying people, the Wagon's rear seats offer a firm seat bottom and reasonable elbow room. You're essentially sitting on a bench screwed into the cargo hold, however, and when you consider the lack of amenities, the Transit Connect is certainly better suited to work crews than families.

Driving Impressions

The 2012 Ford Transit Connect's tall and narrow dimensions make it easy to maneuver through narrow, urban streets that would leave an Econoline driver double-checking that his company's insurance is paid up. At 39 feet, its turning circle is incredibly small for something that can lug about 135 cubic feet of stuff. But while agility is good, quick it is not. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that used to be stressed by the task of motivating the old, 2,642-pound Ford Focus is completely zonked in the 3,470-pound Transit Connect. And imagine how slow it would be loaded up with its maximum payload of 1,600 pounds.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Small, but cost effective

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Vehicle: 2012 Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van XL 4dr Minivan w/o Side & Rear Glass (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

I was surprised to see the scathing reviews for the ford transit connect. My experiences were quite different from those mentioned before. I am a subcontractor with dish, and so far, I have nothing to complain about! On average, I get 25 miles to the gallon fully loaded (and I mean LOADED) with some very heavy equipment. This saves me $10,000 on gas a year versus most other chevy express vans in my fleet. Yes, it may not be the best to drive or accelerate, but if you've bought a work van for comfort or acceleration, you might want to pick a desk job instead. Overall, great little reliable and efficient van, as long as you don't overload it of course. Going strong at 95,000 miles.

Poor choice

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Vehicle: 2012 Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van XL 4dr Minivan w/Rear Glass (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

We have operated about 10 of these in our fleet, model years 2010, 2011 and 2012. They all have the same reliability issues, tranmissions failures, we have replaced at least 5 of these, radiators start leaking and assorted electrical issues that lead to overheating. These issues started occuring at 40k -50k miles and we do not carry heavy loads so it is was not abuse. It all comes down to one thing, they used an undersized passenger car drivetrain and tried to pass it off for commercial use. It is a great idea, but Ford totally botched the execution. Let's hope they learned some leasons with the new design. Did I mention that all have a weird musky smell inside?

This van is a joke

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Vehicle: 2012 Ford Transit Connect Wagon XLT 4dr Minivan (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

I use a Transit at work transporting college students around. I have never been more disappointed with a new car. the only pros are the goofy look, which I like, and the head room. Everything else on the van is awful. The steering is extremely stiff to the point my hands hurt toward the end of my shift. The seats are very uncomfortable and don't have the right kind of support you need to sit in a car for long periods of time. The van i use has 30k miles on it and it has 1 hubcap left on it. It has been in the shop numerous times for brake issues and electrical problems. I have hope for the new redesigned ones but these cars are junk and are way to overpriced.

113 of 188 people found this review helpful

Poor design and reliability

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Vehicle: 2012 Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van XLT 4dr Minivan w/o Side & Rear Glass (2.0L 4cyl 4A)

As a business owner I bought this to replace my 1996 ford explorer with over 300,000 miles. I was suppose to get 21 to 26 mpg. I get 19.5, only 3 mpg better than my v-8 explorer. Same roads, driver and payload. This is most likely due to the extremely underpowered engine which has to work hard to pull hills in western MD. Needs to drop 2 gears to travel up hills on interstate. 6200 RPM right below redline to travel 70 mph on these hills. Forget acceleration-it doesn't exist. Good vehicle for around town but not made to drive on highways. Salesman told me power wuld not be a problem. Yeah, read any article.

Talk About The 2012 Transit Connect

Gas Mileage


  • 21
  • cty
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Identifix Reliability Ratings

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