What's New for 2013
The Ford Transit Connect is unchanged for 2013.
Trucks and vans are undoubtedly the prime workhorses for countless businesses across the country. Besides the obvious advantages in cargo and towing capabilities, they also cater to a wide swath of buyers. But for some people, these big and thirsty vehicles are overkill for their more modest commercial needs. For them, Ford offers the 2013 Transit Connect.
Unlike conventional trucks and vans, the 2013 Ford Transit Connect provides easy maneuverability thanks to its modest size and good fuel economy from its four-cylinder engine. As a city-based work van, it's pretty ideal. Yet the petite Transit Connect still provides a lot of utility. Its boxy shape -- which is perfect for displaying company graphics and signage -- allows for a truly impressive number of versatile cargo solutions and access. Ford also offers some unique high-tech features, including an in-dash computer, Internet access, vehicle tracking and monitoring and tool inventory systems that nearly any business should find useful.
The Transit Connect does have some drawbacks, however. Since it has a car-based platform, it can't handle a whole lot of payload, and the four-cylinder engine's meager output results in equally meager acceleration. In contrast, the minivan-based Ram C/V has about the same cargo space and payload capacity as the Ford, yet its V6 engine provides superior performance with fuel economy that's still pretty decent.
For those who require more maximum utility, the antiquated Chevrolet Express represents the last of the traditional domestic vans -- the Ford Econoline is going to be replaced by a forthcoming, European-based full-size Transit -- while the more up-to-date Nissan NV is also worth consideration. But for the commercial user just needing a light-duty workhorse, the 2013 Ford Transit Connect should be a good fit.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 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 XLT gains body-colored bumpers, a rear window defroster, heated mirrors, map lights, full power accessories, cruise control, a 12-volt cargo area power point, a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.
The Wagon version of the XLT gets foglights, chrome grille trim, a three-person split-folding rear bench seat, rear-seat carpeting 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.
Other Transit Connect options include a compressed natural gas (CNG) Engine Prep package, rear doors that open to 255 degrees, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, the Sync voice command phone and audio player interface, and the Ford Work Solutions Crew Chief vehicle tracking system.
Powertrains and Performance
Every 2013 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/27 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 came 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 Transit Connect's cabin 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.
When it comes to cargo capacity, the Transit Connect Van offers a healthy 135 cubic feet, which is about 100 cubic feet less than a full-size van. 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 under 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. They can best be compared to the seats you'd find in a cut-rate commuter plane, which is to say, as basic as you'll find. You're essentially sitting on a bench bolted 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.
The 2013 Ford Transit Connect's tall and narrow dimensions make it easy to maneuver through tight 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 just 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.