2012 Ford Transit Connect Review

Pros & Cons

  • Easy to park and maneuver in tight spaces
  • above average fuel economy
  • large, versatile cargo area
  • clever business-oriented electronics features.
  • Glacial acceleration
  • limited 1,600-pound payload capacity
  • subpar crash scores.
Other years
List Price Range
$6,900 - $11,995

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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

Vehicle overview

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.

2012 Ford Transit Connect models

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.

2012 Highlights

Every Ford Transit Connect gets standard stability control for 2012.

Performance & mpg

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.

Safety

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2012 Ford Transit Connect.

5(0%)
4(28%)
3(14%)
2(28%)
1(30%)
2.4
7 reviews
Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Exactly right for dealing with city traffic.
Tom Bright,04/30/2016
Cargo Van XLT 4dr Minivan w/Side & Rear Glass (2.0L 4cyl 4A)
Okay, so the Microsoft hands-free is laughably, pathetically clueless. Hope Ford got a freebie, since a Microsoft badge is glued to the dash. Cabin noise on California's crumbling roads has reached 109 dB on my meter, about as loud as standing behind a jet taking off. I buy earplugs by the case, but I have for 40 years. Lots of positives, thanks to the designers. The standard door lock-unlock sequence protects me in crummy neighborhoods (unlocks the cargo doors while leaving the driver door locked, and vice versa, and it's programmable). If I leave the doors open in the garage for extended loading time, the interior lights go out after a few minutes. Very thoughtful. Power points are always on but the entertainment USB only powers up with the ignition, so that conveniently runs the dash cam. Astounding 1,600-lb payload includes me and gas — my big pickup is only rated for 1,100 lbs, and weighs 3,050 lbs wet, the same as this little Ford, to a pound. Don’t know how they did it. Does not jitter on tippy-toes when empty, does not wallow when loaded to the limit. Many SUVs have a load limit of only 900 pounds -- so you're overloaded if you only take three friends with you and fill the tank. Spec Continentals kept picking up nails: eight in 15,000 miles. ran two sets of Federal, an exact Taiwan copy of the Continental. Great tires, half the price. Michelin finally makes a Defender in this spec, so installed a set 40,000 miles ago. More expensive, much quieter. Don’t replace the wheels with cheapie boy-racer alloys, as aftermarket wheels may not be rated for this 1,600 payload. 22-24 mpg combined, 25 mpg on occasion. 22 at 176,000. I did okay in endurance racing back in the 70s, so I really appreciate the seats and view out front. This is the final English Ford design, I think, and shows off its performance heritage. The Limeys built the high-level 3rd brake light into one of the cargo doors, so it's only a few inches from precise center. Naturally, the Feds made them blank it out and pierce the roof for a separate unit. Thanks, guys. Don't drive much or own cars in Washington, do you? Progressive-rate steering centers well and allows flicking 90º to full lock. Low center of gravity, low cargo floor. Antilock brakes stop on a dime, straight and true. Traction control light comes on when I overdo it on off camber onramps, so I know it’s watching and helping. All controls within easy reach. A clear jump-in/jump-out path through the door to the driver’s seat make it the perfect setup for long shifts of multiple stops. Failures: Front brake caliper seized in a few months, 3 batteries, a tiny plastic tab in the interior light assembly broke ($78), high-level LED 3rd brake light assembly went dead ($120), coolant reservoir cracked (warranty), one of the remotes failed (warranty), visor is unraveling along one edge, wheel covers break a lot (replaced two at $53 each, then gave up and got half a dozen Chinese phonies on eBay for $120. They dig into the wheels, but they stay on. Wheel paint and primer have vanished, although always garaged out of the 120º Sacramento sun. Local car wash chain snapped off 4 rear wiper arms, so I’ve yanked them and rely on Rain-X. Since they park vertically and most robot car washes use horizontal brushes, hit-and-miss company attempts to tape them down or tube them with big baggies fails much of the time. Styling department designed a cheesy plastic cover over the rear wiper hinge that looks beefy, but under the cover it's the width of a pencil, and breaks a lot. New Ford shocks, and on my 4th windshield -- welcome to California's Gravel Emporium. Following some windy rainstorms, a pine branch swung over an Armco and I hit it at 70. New power driver side mirror: $450 installed, not bad at all. Is the engine gutless? Not really. Just set Cruise before the highway rises and let it rev it right out to 6,000. Transmission and engine smooth and reliable: My copier tech’s Focus with this motor needed a water pump at 235,000. Another tech replaced his Focus with a Transit Connect a year after I did. Hardware gurus like these, so I take their advice. Trade-in is astoundingly low -- at 108,713 miles, my spotless, maintained, pothole-avoided van is worth FOUR thousand bucks. Only 14% remains after less than five years. Mercedes claims a better resale value, but their new $33,000 Metris is Spanish, so who knows how far it'll fall from its current $21,000 trade-in with high miles? To be fair, many tradesman vans get driven by guys who don't own them. Would buy another, but the newer Spanish-build version does not offer a high roof. The new motor is stronger, though -- drove one as a rental. Get the most doodads, even leather if you can find one. Dealer lead time for custom builds has been as high as 6 months, so you may have to take whatever is on the lot, like I did.
Small, but cost effective
endeavine,06/23/2014
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
ttheroux,04/28/2014
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
jimr91,04/04/2014
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.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2012 Ford Transit Connect features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall3 / 5
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall2 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall3 / 5
    Driver2 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat1 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover25.6%

More about the 2012 Ford Transit Connect

Used 2012 Ford Transit Connect Overview

The Used 2012 Ford Transit Connect is offered in the following submodels: Transit Connect Minivan. Available styles include Cargo Van XL 4dr Minivan w/o Side & Rear Glass (2.0L 4cyl 4A), Cargo Van XLT 4dr Minivan w/Rear Glass (2.0L 4cyl 4A), Cargo Van XLT 4dr Minivan w/o Side & Rear Glass (2.0L 4cyl 4A), Cargo Van XLT 4dr Minivan w/Side & Rear Glass (2.0L 4cyl 4A), Cargo Van XL 4dr Minivan w/Rear Glass (2.0L 4cyl 4A), Wagon XLT Premium 4dr Minivan (2.0L 4cyl 4A), Cargo Van XL 4dr Minivan w/Side & Rear Glass (2.0L 4cyl 4A), and Wagon XLT 4dr Minivan (2.0L 4cyl 4A).

What's a good price on a Used 2012 Ford Transit Connect?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Ford Transit Connect trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van XLT is priced between $6,900 and$11,995 with odometer readings between 75402 and128836 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van XL is priced between $8,595 and$8,595 with odometer readings between 103937 and103937 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2012 Ford Transit Connects are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Ford Transit Connect for sale near. There are currently 3 used and CPO 2012 Transit Connects listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,900 and mileage as low as 75402 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2012 Ford Transit Connect.

Can't find a used 2012 Ford Transit Connects you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Ford Transit Connect for sale - 11 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $21,617.

Find a used Ford for sale - 4 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $25,334.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford Transit Connect for sale - 9 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $18,055.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford for sale - 12 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $17,125.

Should I lease or buy a 2012 Ford Transit Connect?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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