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 full-size work vans, the Ford Transit Connect features a car-based architecture and an economical four-cylinder engine. Its payload and towing capacities are pretty meager compared to a regular van, but in return the Transit Connect should woo commercial buyers with its affordable price, maneuverable size and remarkably practical interior.
Current Ford Transit Connect
Redesigned for 2014, the latest Ford Transit Connect compact commercial van is available in two different wheelbases. Compared to the previous-generation Transit Connect, the smaller one is 6.7 inches shorter in length while the larger one is 9.1 inches longer. Both of the new versions, however, are nearly 7 inches shorter in height compared to the first-gen Transit Connect, which means taller folks won't have it as easy moving around inside as they did with the older van.
Besides the different wheelbases, the Transit Connect is offered in cargo van or passenger-oriented wagon body styles. Trim levels are comprised of base XL, midlevel XLT and, for the wagon only, the plush Titanium. All the cargo vans can be had in short- or long-wheelbase form. The XL and Titanium wagons are long-wheelbase only and seat seven; the XLT wagon can be had in either short- or long-wheelbase versions and as such seats five or seven, respectively.
Standard power is provided by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 169 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque. A turbocharged 1.6-liter four with 178 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque is optional on select variants. Both engines send power to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is quite good, as EPA estimated combined fuel economy ranges from 23-25 mpg.
Standard feature highlights of the XL cargo van include air-conditioning, vinyl upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power front windows and door locks and a two-speaker sound system with an auxiliary audio jack. The XL wagon has second- and third-row seats, a center console and power second-row windows. The XLT cargo van adds body-color bumpers, foglights, heated power mirrors, cloth upholstery, a 4.2-inch multifunction display, cruise control and a CD player. The XLT wagon features rear privacy glass, a rearview camera and rear climate controls. The Titanium wagon adds alloy wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, power-folding mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a power driver seat, heated front seats, four speakers and Ford's voice-controlled Sync system.
Major options include a compressed natural gas engine prep package, front and rear parking sensors, a towing package, a fixed panoramic sunroof, a roof rack, the MyFord Touch electronics interface (includes a 6.5-inch touchscreen and a navigation system) and the Crew Chief telematics system designed for fleet operators.
While we've yet to spend any time behind the wheel of the latest Ford Transit Connect, we know enough to suggest that the standard 2.5-liter engine will likely prove adequate for most buyers' needs. We also expect this small van to possess relatively nimble handling, especially in short-wheelbase form. Check back for additional driving impressions as they become available.
Read the most recent 2015 Ford Transit Connect review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Ford Transit Connect page.