Click to view a high-resolution gallery of the 2010 Ford Transit Connect

In addition to rolling out the hotly anticipated Taurus SHO, Ford has also unveiled a gaggle of Transit Connect commercial vanlets in Chicago, including five customized examples for the winners of Blue Oval's "Connect with Connect" contest. The small-business owning winners were on-hand for the presentation, and although they knew they had won themselves new vehicles, they evidently had no idea that Ford was customizing their TCs.

Ford plans to release the Transit Connect to dealers this summer with a starting price of $21,475 (including destination charges), and although the upright commercial vehicle will operate in what is essentially a class of one, several comparisons were made to the Chevrolet HHR, which has a markedly smaller cargo and weight capacity. In any case, Dearborn says the 135-cubic foot interior can swallow a six-foot ladder and carry a payload of 1600 pounds (more than a standard-cab Dodge Ram, Ford notes), and it returns up to 40% better fuel-economy than full-size commercial vans.

During the press conference, Ford restated their commitment to roll out at least four pure EVs in America by 2012, of which a flotilla of pure-electric Transit Connects will be the first, likely for commercial fleet use only. Click on the gallery below for live shots of the TC's unveiling, and then check out the Officially-Official post for more information.

Related GalleryChicago 2009: 2010 Ford Transit Connect