Interior space; cargo-carrying ability; manageable size; frugal price and good fuel economy
The Ford Transit Connect is a compact commercial van model. Its smaller size and car-like driving feel are aimed squarely at small-business users. Although the Transit Connect has been sold in Europe for years, it's a relatively new model to the U.S. market, and it's quite unlike anything else sold in the U.S. Late in the 2010 calendar year will see the addition of an all-electric version, which uses a Siemens-built 300V 3-phase electric motor and a 28kWh lithium-ion battery pack, giving a range of 80 miles with a top speed of 75 mph. Parking assist is now an option, and gasoline versions have been given updated fuel economy figures: 21 mpg city and 26 mpg highway, as compared to 2010's 22 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.
Tremendous cargo space in a compact, economical vehicle is the main selling point for the Transit Connect. Ford says that it has more than double the cargo-carrying space of the Chevy HHR Panel van, and its short 180-inch length should make it nearly as easy to park as a small car. Low operating costs are a strong reason to consider the Transit Connect, as it has fuel economy ratings of up to 26 mpg and has long--for a commercial vehicle--maintenance intervals of 7,500 miles.
The front-wheel-drive Transit Connect is powered by a 136-horsepower, 2.0L 4-cylinder engine, hooked up to a 4-speed automatic transmission. The model gets a low 4.20:1 final-drive ratio to aid hauling ability, yet it still carries respectable 21 mpg city, 26 highway fuel economy ratings.
Phenomenal interior space and cargo-carrying ability is what makes the Transit Connect unlike any other vehicle in the U.S. market. It features 135 cubic feet of cargo volume--including more than 59 inches of floor-to-ceiling load height inside and nearly 73 inches of load width. Split cargo doors in back open up to 255 degrees to aid loading, and cargo weight capacity is an able 1,600 pounds.
The Transit Connect promises to drive like a car and has a 39-foot curb-to-curb turning circle. At just 180 inches long, its parking footprint is smaller than that of a mid-size sedan. Underneath, the suspension combines the MacPherson strut front suspension of a car with the load-carrying rear suspension of a cargo van; the combination of leaf springs and a stabilizer bar helps accommodate heavy loads.
Inside, the Transit Connect's driver's seat is 6-way adjustable and comes with an armrest. The steering wheel is adjustable for rake and reach. A standard center console has twin storage bins and cupholders, and there's space for overhead storage. Air conditioning and a 2-speaker radio are standard across the model line. The XLT model adds many of the convenience features of passenger vehicles, including cruise control, remote keyless entry, power windows and locks, heated mirrors and a CD sound system with auxiliary input.
Ford will offer a wide range of accessories and special configurations of the Transit Connect to suit various commercial purposes. Possibilities include a panel-van version or a wagon version with a folding second-row bench seat. All versions come with sliding side doors. The available Ford Work Solutions system helps those who take work on the road with them with navigation and messaging, while Tool Link attaches radio-identification tags to make sure tools aren't left at a worksite. There's also Crew Chief, a tool to help companies with large fleets monitor their vehicles.
Most notable is the addition of an all-electric version for 2011, which Ford says is "perfect for fleet vehicle owners who have well-defined routes of predictable distances and a central location for daily charging." With an 80-mile range and a top speed of 75 mph, it's a "green" alternative that requires fuel, aside from an estimated 6-8 hours of charging time.
Vehicle Price: 22,115.00
*Estimated payments are for informational purposes only and don't account for acquisition fees, destination charges, tax, title, and other fees and incentives or represent a financing offer or guarantee of credit from the seller.
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