2018 Transit Connect New Car Test Drive
When it debuted in the U.S. as a 2010 model, Ford's European-derived cargo van and passenger wagon promised practical virtues and versatility, aiming mainly at businesses. For family use, the modest-size wagon could substitute for a full-size minivan.
Redesigned for 2014, the Ford Transit Connect added a touch of beauty, compared to the original version's more boxy profile. Modifications for the 2018 model year are limited to minor feature upgrades. Sync 3 infotainment with a 6.5-inch LCD touchscreen and rearview camera now are available for the XLT Van and Wagon. Automatic headlights are newly standard on XLT and Titanium Wagons; optional on XLT Cargo Van.
Cargo Vans come in two trim levels: XL and XLT. Five- and seven-passenger Transit Connect Wagons are offered in three trims, topped by a Titanium version. Five-passenger Wagons ride a shorter wheelbase.
In each Transit Connect, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine makes 169 horsepower, mating with a 6-speed automatic transmission and front wheel drive.
Designed for the European market, where compact vans are popular, the Transit Connect may be the most polished compact van on sale in the U.S. Cargo and passenger versions score well for carlike styling, driving ease, capabilities, and features.
Quiet and comfortable, each Transit Connect drives like a passenger car. Compared to a minivan, they're almost fun to operate.
Ford offers a broad range of configurations and features. Owners benefit from the taller stance, while comparative fuel-efficiency makes these Fords excellent alternatives to bigger, heavier full-size vans. Interior space is undeniably tighter than a full-size minivan would provide.
No Transit Connect has been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the 2018 Wagon five stars overall, with five stars for side-impact collision but only four stars each for frontal-impact and rollover protection (the latter a calculated figure).
Even the two-seat commercial versions contain six airbags. Passenger models have two-row side airbags for the five-seat version and three-row side curtains for the seven-seater. Carlike options abound, but modern active-safety features are absent.
Various rear-body styles and configurations are available for the Cargo Van. With an optional Tow Package, the Wagon can tow up to a ton, though maximum payload is a moderate 1,270 pounds.
Transit Connect XL Cargo Van ($23,120) comes with vinyl two-passenger seating, vinyl front floor covering, power front windows, remote keyless entry, 16-inch wheels, cruise control, swing-out cargo doors, and sliding side doors. (Prices are MSRP and do not include $995 destination charge.)
Transit Connect XLT Cargo Van ($24,645) adds heated power mirrors, MyKey personalized vehicle settings, cloth seat upholstery, front carpeting, CD player, driver's lumbar support, and foglamps. A rearview camera and Sync 3 voice-activated infotainment with 6.5-inch touchscreen are optional.
Transit Connect XL seven-passenger Wagon ($25,805) has XL Van equipment, but with three-row seating, a rear liftgate, reverse sensing, and power second-row windows.
Transit Connect XLT seven-passenger Wagon ($25,810) gets XLT Van equipment plus automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, roof rails, a power driver's seat, and rearview camera. A five-passenger, short-wheelbase XL Wagon is available.
Transit Connect Titanium six-passenger Wagon ($28,435) comes with second-row bucket seats and includes dual-zone automatic climate control, cornering foglamps, Sync 3, 16-inch alloy wheels, and leather seat upholstery. A five-passenger, short-wheelbase Wagon is available.