2017 Ford Transit Connect Review
2017 Ford Transit Connect Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Cameron Rogers has worked in the automotive industry since 2013. He has tested and reviewed hundreds of vehicles over the course of his career. Today, he leads the news team in developing cutting-edge news articles, opinion pieces and sneak peeks at upcoming vehicles. Favorite cars that he's driven during his tenure at Edmunds include the 991-era Porsche 911 Turbo S, Rolls-Royce Ghost and several generations of Honda Odyssey (really).
- Can be configured in many different ways, including two available body lengths and plenty of cargo area options
- Wagon version can be had with a third-row seat
- Less expensive and easier to maneuver than regular minivans
- Unimpressive performance and fuel economy
- Wagon's second row doesn't slide or recline
- Limited payload and towing capacities
For 2017, the Ford Transit Connect's optional turbocharged 1.6-liter engine is no longer available. Wagon models get new features on every trim level, and rear parking sensors and cruise control are now standard across the board. Ford's Sync 3 infotainment system replaces MyFord Touch, and the short-wheelbase model can be outfitted in the range-topping Titanium trim.
The 2017 Ford Transit Connect is one of a very small number of compact vans that targets both commercial and individual buyers. For those in need of something business-oriented, the Transit Connect Cargo Van offers seating for two, with an empty area behind the front seats that is good for up to 128.6 cubic feet of cargo space. Alternately, the Wagon variant fills this space with two or three rows of passenger seating (depending on wheelbase configuration). Although the Wagon is not as luxurious as a typical minivan, it's nice enough inside to distract you from the fact that it's a just a modified version of a bare-bones utility vehicle.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2017 Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van XL 4dr Minivan w/Rear 180 Degree Doors SWB (2.5L 4cyl 6A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.11 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$168/mo for Transit Connect Cargo Van XL
Transit Connect Cargo Van XL
Avg. Compact Minivan
With either version, we like how the Transit Connect goes out of its way to meet your needs. There are a seemingly endless number of door, window, interior storage, infotainment and luxury options to consider. Each body style also gets features unique to the way they are typically used. The Wagon can be ordered with closing overhead bins similar to those found in an airplane, or a fixed-glass panoramic roof. The Cargo Van comes standard with LED lights in the cargo area to aid in nighttime loading and unloading.
Although the Ford Transit Connect was the first modern small cargo van on the scene, a few competitors have entered the fray in the last few years. If you're looking strictly for a small cargo van, the Chevrolet City Express and its mechanical twin, the Nissan NV200, also offer two seats and a large cargo area. The Ram City Promaster is similar but offers a second row for passengers and its payload rating is a few hundred pounds higher. You might even look at the midsize (but more expensive) Mercedes-Benz Metris if you want a van that's bigger than these compact models but not as large as full-size behemoths like the regular Ford Transit. Overall, we think you'll be impressed with the Connect's versatility and wealth of available options.
The 2017 Ford Transit Connect's standard safety features include antilock brakes, traction and stability control, hill start assist, and front seat side and side curtain airbags.
Front and rear parking sensors, daytime running lights, a blind-spot and cross-traffic warning system and a rearview camera are available as options on various models. The optional Ford Sync and Sync 3 systems include an emergency crash notification feature that automatically dials 911 when paired with a compatible cell phone. Ford's MyKey system, which can be used to set certain parameters for various drivers (think teens, valets or employees), is also optional.
In government crash tests, the Transit Connect wagon earned five out of five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for frontal crash protection and five stars for side crash protection.
Edmunds' Expert Rating
The 2017 Ford Transit Connect could be a smart choice if you're seeking a lower-cost, more maneuverable alternative to full-size cargo vans or minivans. It's also highly customizable, making it a standout choice for a small cargo van. Read on to find out what else we like about this year's Transit Connect.
Although the 2017 Ford Transit Connect lacks the get-up-and-go of V6-powered traditional minivans, it feels much lighter and a lot more agile around town. These characteristics are equally useful for large families and for delivery drivers needing to get in and out of tight spaces. If you live in the city or frequently travel on tight rural roads, the Transit Connect will feel like an athlete compared to something like a Honda Odyssey. Unfortunately, the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine we liked so much from last year has been axed, leaving the less powerful (and less fuel-efficient) 2.5-liter engine as the only engine choice.
The steering is particularly praiseworthy, offering the just-right effort and impressive road feel found in other Ford vehicles. On the other hand, the ride can be bumpy over rough roads, and suspension-transmitted noises tend to make their way into the cabin much as they can on smaller, sportier vehicles. That may be fine for those transitioning from something like a Focus, but minivan drivers may find the Transit Connect's suspension doesn't provide the suppleness and isolation they've come to expect.
With the Transit Connect, flexibility is paramount. The wagon, particularly the seven-passenger long-wheelbase model, can be used as a family vehicle. Granted, the second-row seat doesn't recline or slide, and folding both the second and third rows of seats takes an extra step compared with most minivans, but space in both rows is just as good, especially the headroom.
If it's cargo you're looking to haul, the short-wheelbase cargo van offers 103.9 cubic feet behind the front seats, while the long-wheelbase version's larger cargo hold can swallow 128.6 cubic feet. This is less than a regular minivan, but still much better than a large crossover. Even more capacity is available thanks to the fold-flat front passenger seat. Cargo room in the wagon models is reduced, but if the seats are folded, the short-wheelbase wagon offers a maximum of 77.1 cubic feet and the long-wheelbase models offer 104.2 cubic feet.
Although the Transit Connect has a much larger windshield and dashboard than its siblings, the Ford Escape and C-Max, from the driver seat it could easily be either. The distinctive dash design is virtually identical, with climate controls below clearly separated from the infotainment controls above. The quality of the interior materials is below what you'll find in mainstream Ford products, but on the whole the Transit Connect is pretty nice for its class. The Sync 3 infotainment system is new this year, and it's quicker to respond to user inputs, and feels much like a smartphone (with pinch-to-zoom and swiping gestures) than the previous MyFord Touch system. The same can't be said, however, for the standard stereo interface, which consists of a small central screen controlled by many buttons.
What's behind the driver varies considerably depending on the wheelbase and whether you're carrying people or cargo. The XL cargo van, for example, is a bare-bones workhorse with vinyl upholstery and floor coverings with mounting points for customizable shelves and whatever a business might need. Upper trim levels, especially in the wagon models, add creature comforts, but the van is still very much a dedicated work vehicle.
2017 Ford Transit Connect models
The 2017 Ford Transit Connect is a compact commercial minivan offered in Cargo Van and Wagon body styles, each with two different wheelbases. There are three available trim levels: XL, XLT and the wagon-only Titanium. The XLT and Titanium wagons seat five or seven, depending on which wheelbase you select, while seven-passenger seating is standard on the XL. All versions have dual sliding rear doors and give you a choice between swing-out cargo doors or an overhead liftgate (the Titanium only comes with the liftgate).
Base standard equipment on the XL Cargo Van includes 16-inch steel wheels, gray grille/bumpers/side moldings, keyless entry, air-conditioning, vinyl upholstery and floor coverings, built-in cargo tie-down hooks, an overhead storage shelf, a fold-flat front passenger seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power front windows, power door locks and a two-speaker sound system with an auxiliary audio input jack. The XL Wagon version comes with the same standard equipment, but is long-wheelbase only and adds rear parking sensors, driver lumbar adjustment, second- and third-row seats, two rear speakers for the stereo, rear climate controls and power second-row windows.
Stepping up to the XLT Cargo Van gets you body-color bumpers, foglights, power-adjustable heated mirrors, rear privacy glass, cloth upholstery, carpeted floor coverings, driver lumbar adjustment, a passenger vanity mirror, a multifunction display, cruise control and a CD player.
The XLT Wagon comes in short- or long-wheelbase styles, mirrors the XLT cargo's equipment and adds automatic headlights, roof rails, rain-sensing wipers, a rearview camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a six-way power driver seat, a conversation mirror, and a thicker acoustic windshield, four front speakers for the sound system and voice controls (Ford's Sync system). Ford's MyKey system (detailed in the "Safety" section), is also included.
The top-of-the-line Titanium wagon adds 16-inch alloy wheels, adaptive cornering foglights, power-folding mirrors, chrome exterior trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, navigation and the Sync 3 infotainment interface.
Note that rear climate controls aren't available on the short-wheelbase XLT and Titanium wagons.
Many of the features that come standard on the upper trim levels are also available on other models. Other major options include 16- and 17-inch alloy wheels, a compressed natural gas engine prep package, front and rear parking sensors, a towing package, a fixed panoramic sunroof, a roof rack, a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, satellite/HD radio and the Ford Telematics system designed for fleet operators.
There's only one engine available in the 2017 Ford Transit Connect: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 169 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.
Although EPA figures have not yet been announced for the 2017 Transit Connect, we don't expect them to change much from last year's model. The EPA's estimated fuel economy for the 2016 cargo van with the 2.5-liter engine was 23 mpg combined (20 mpg city/28 mpg highway). The wagon was rated lower, at 22 mpg combined (19 city/27 highway), which is only barely better than you'd get with a typical V6-equipped minivan.
Maximum payload capacity is rated at 1,620 pounds, coming in between the ratings for the City Express and Ram City Promaster. Properly equipped, the Transit Connect can tow 2,000 pounds.
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Great when you want a small minivan
Chris N., 09/29/2016
2016 Ford Transit Connect Wagon XLT 4dr Minivan w/Rear Liftgate SWB (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
We bought this to replace our beloved Mazda MPV after 220k miles. The MPV was small, we wanted a similar sized minivan. We test drove about 20 minivans and similar hybrids, but when I got in this, I told my wife "this is it". The forward view is so wide it feels like driving a motor coach or bus. I love the open view and light. The little details like the notch mirrors are great... but … needed as there is a bit of a blind spot on the passenger shoulder area. Overall it feels very open with high visibility. Storage space is great on the 3 row model. The fold flat seats take some getting used to, but offer a very flat large storage area. A bit smaller than our MPV, but large enough to haul most of the bigger stuff from the store like chairs and tvs. The worst downsides for me are 1. slow acceleration 2. AC takes forever to cool down 3. things will roll right out of the back unless you put the optional net in because there is no storage well 4. second row seats do not recline (oddly the third row does) 5. with the third row seats up there is very very little storage room behind those seats. 6. no volume controls on the left of the steering wheel which means I can't fully drive with only one hand there on the left 7. I always find the cruise control a little confusing. 8. microsoft sync system can be a bit buggy (i've had to power down the car a few times to get it to fully restart, it's done "scheduled maintenance" where it's updating lord knows what for 8 min and not working) 9. I don't like that you can't turn off the proximity alerts. Sometimes they get annoying; YES I KNOW I'M NEAR THE WALL AT THE DRIVE THROUGH. 10. the steering is a bit loose, it's not a car that you want to steer with your knee for even a second. That may sound like a lot of bad stuff, and those things ARE annoying, but overall, I still love the car. What it gets right, it really gets right. It's comfortable, flexible, and for the most part I love the controls and sound system. There are lots of little things like bag hooks and storage nooks that just make it a pleasure to use. My wife is short and I am tall, and it works for both of us quite well. Backup camera is amazing.
5 out of 5 stars
So far so good!!
2015 Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van XL 4dr Minivan w/Rear 180 Degree Doors SWB (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
Waited till I accumilated some mileage before posting again. I now have 89,000 miles on my 2.5 and its doing great. I haul a trailer 85% of the time and carry about 800 lbs of tools inside. Have not been easy on it and drive hard in the mountains. Still gets amazing gas mileage and no maintenance issues at all. I travel alot and needed better mileage than my old E 150. I found that … pulling a small trailer I can carry mlre than with the Econoline and still get better fuel mileage! If you want a really tough van that you can count on , this is it.
5 out of 5 stars
Fred Gamble, 08/19/2015
2015 Ford Transit Connect Wagon XLT 4dr Minivan w/Rear 180 Degree Doors SWB (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
A little more than two years ago, my wife sustained a spinal cord injury as a complication of meningitis. She now relies on a wheelchair to get around. Her limited mobility made it impossible for her to transfer to the passenger seat of her 4-Runner or my Tundra. Our daughter has a Dodge Charger. Because the seats are low, my wife could easily transfer to the passenger's seat. So we … temporarily swapped my wife's 4-Runner for the Charger. This created a new problem. My wife's wheelchair does not fold up like a hospital wheelchair. It must be taken apart if it is to be placed in the trunk of the Charger. My wife and I found this problem to be unacceptable in the long term. As a result, my wife and I started looking for a vehicle that she could transfer into, that could carry additional passengers, and that had sufficient cargo space behind the rear seats to allow us to carry her wheelchair without taking it apart. The only vehicle we were able to find that met all of those criteria is the short wheel based Transit Connect Wagon. We have been using it for six months now. We equipped it with the 1.6 L Eco Boost engine. According to the Vehicle's on board computer our combined city/highway mileage is 25.6 mpg. Our daughter has her Charger back, and we have a vehicle that allows us to easily go on errands or trips without any significant inconvenience. Recently, we drove the Wagon from our home in Chandler, AZ to a town in the mountains, Pine, AZ . The performance of the vehicle surprised me. We had no problem climbing the hills as we went from an elevation of 1,100 feet to nearly 6,000 feet. Bottom Line: We are pleased. Update: We now have 7800 miles on the vehicle. The highway mileage is 29. City mileage is 25. Because we do more city driving the average is 26.5. Because the vehicle is small, my wife's friends are able to lift her wheelchair into the van with ease. As a result they don't think twice about taking her out for a girl's evening out. We are now more please with our Transit Connect Wagon. Second Update: We have owned this vehicle for three years now. It is still performing well. We could not be more pleased. Third update. We have owned the vehicle for four years. Other than routine oil changes and keeping the tires properly inflated, the only maintenance has been the replacement of the battery. We are still very pleased with the van.
5 out of 5 stars
Perfect family vehicle
Lane Shelton, 06/15/2016
2015 Ford Transit Connect Wagon XLT 4dr Minivan w/Rear Liftgate LWB (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
We shopped almost every SUV and VAN even bought a used Honda Odyssey but quickly sold the Honda. Did our research and found no other vehicle fit our needs. This is the best of both worlds - rides like a luxury car but larger and better capacity than the van. Every vehicle we looked at that had fold down seats not one of them were flat when folded. All of them had some sort of … slope or had to be removed altogether. This has a perfectly flat cargo area with the seats folded down - perfect for dog crates. I have nothing bad to say about this vehicle in fact I've never liked a vehicle like I do this one. The price is also very reasonable compared to SUV's and Van's. A great wagon with a great price.
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2017 Ford Transit Connect, so we've included reviews for other years of the Transit Connect since its last redesign.
2017 Transit Connect Highlights
|Combined MPG||23 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$168/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5PassengerNot Rated
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back SeatNot Rated
- RolloverRolloverNot RatedDynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of RolloverNot Rated