Ford surprised us a little over a year ago when we were told the Transit Connect van would be adding a diesel engine to its lineup for the 2019 model year. Consider that nugget of news outdated now, as Ford has changed its mind, per a report from Car and Driver. We confirmed with the Blue Oval, and there will be no diesel engine option making its way to the van anytime soon.
We were previously told the diesel would be a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, making approximately 120 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. It was also supposed to hit 30 mpg on the highway, which is a few more than the gasoline-powered Transit Connect manages. The diesel was set to be offered with an eight-speed automatic transmission, as well. Ford launched a new name for a line of engines this was to be a part of called EcoBlue. Perhaps that marketing term will just be a blip on the radar for U.S. customers, living on elsewhere in the world where Ford offers diesel engines in its small cars.
Ford told us it's nixing the engine from the lineup due to a lack of market demand, and it's true that diesels never seem to do all that well in America outside of the biggest pickup trucks. Little Transit Connects crawl all over European countries, whereas everybody would rather have a truck or SUV in the U.S. — sales totaled about 32,000 Transit Connects for the whole of 2018, including the passenger and cargo versions of the van.
We’ll consider ourselves slightly disappointed with the news, but Ford doesn’t sell many Transit Connects as consumer vehicles anyway. The diesel would’ve made a perfect choice for fleet use, so it’s their loss. Ford says it’s dropping the short-wheelbase, five-seat passenger van from the lineup this year, as well. However, you’ll still be able to snag a short-wheelbase Connect as a cargo van.