Minivans excel at hauling a household’s value of individuals and cargo, and when it comes time to maneuver a baby right into a dorm room, they seem to be a first rate stand-in for one thing extra devoted, like a cargo van. But what in order for you one thing that swaps the roles and emphasizes the van in minivan? That’s the place the Ford Transit Connect is available in. Refreshed for the 2019 mannequin yr, the Ford Transit Connect provides a compelling package deal on paper, however the execution falls brief. Having not too long ago pushed each the cargo and passenger variants, I discovered it is easy to inform the place this automobile’s priorities lie. Cargo: Easy-peasy haulin’ Before sliding into the extra family-friendly variant of Transit Connect, I discover myself schlepping the cargo van variant from Michigan to Wisconsin and again, collaborating within the nice American pastime of interstate furnishings hauling.
Moving issues within the Transit Connect is a breeze. Without any form of panels inside, there are all kinds of cutouts and crevices that make nice attachment factors for bungee cords, along with the ground’s built-in tie-downs. The clamshell doorways open extensive sufficient to remain out of the way in which, and the ensuing house is cavernous sufficient to simply load in a dresser or two. It’s not excellent, although, because it has bother accommodating a taller classic headboard; in the event you plan on shifting bigger items, the full-size Transit nonetheless reigns supreme.
With the van loaded to the brim, it is time to head again to Michigan. Unless it is a fleet particular, each Transit Connect comes outfitted with the identical 2.0-liter I4 gasoline engine producing 162 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque. It has no downside shoving the empty cargo van in control in a good period of time, however passing and merging requires a bit extra thought when the again is loaded up. The EPA charges this front-wheel-drive van at 24 miles per gallon metropolis and 27 mpg freeway. The first quantity is straightforward to satisfy, and the second is straightforward to beat — till it is absolutely loaded, natch.
As a cargo van, the Transit Connect is a tricky act to beat, and it is a lot simpler to forgive issues like a loud inside right here.
My tester’s $295 mounted rear glass makes it simpler to alter lanes, however with the cargo maintain packed to the brim, the dearth of facet glass (though out there) leaves me utilizing solely the facet mirrors, that are adequately sized for such a job. Thankfully, there’s loads of tech to assist out. This van is provided with a $350 driver help package deal that provides lane-keep help and computerized excessive beams, in addition to a $295 rear parking sensor package deal and customary computerized braking. Blind-spot monitoring provides extra peace of thoughts for $575, nevertheless it’s not outfitted right here. Since it is a small van, it is fairly straightforward to maneuver in tight confines, making it nice for city tradesmen and the like. While I’d outline its on-road demeanor nearly as good, it is value declaring that it is good solely compared with different small cargo vans. There are not any panels behind the entrance two seats, so the cabin is loud at most speeds, and when it is unladen, the Transit Connect is jumpy over large bumps and freeway enlargement joints. Once it is crammed up, although, the trip smooths out, feeling only a bit higher bolted collectively than, say, a Ram ProMaster City. Most cargo vans supply little or no in the way in which of in-car experiences for the motive force, which is sensible, since they’re work automobiles. But my tester comes outfitted with a $995 possibility that provides Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system on a 6.5-inch touchscreen. It’s not terribly giant, nevertheless it’s as practical as ever, providing up a wise structure with ample responsiveness. With Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and satellite tv for pc radio on board, there are many methods to remain entertained on an extended journey. The solely actual shock is the facet mirrors, which you’ll’t manually modify from contained in the van — I needed to lean outdoors and nudge them to the best place. The 2019 Transit Connect cargo van provides higher appears and driving dynamics than its prime competitor from Ram, nevertheless it’s not priced by way of the roof. The base XL trim with an extended wheelbase rings in at $25,100 earlier than the $1,195 vacation spot cost. With a variety of creature-comfort and quality-of-life upgrades, my tester lands at a good $29,660 out the door. Wagon: The veneer begins to peel It would not take a lot time with the 2019 Ford Transit Connect to suss out its critical potential as a compact cargo van. In passenger-oriented Transit Connect Wagon type, although, it is rather less compelling.
It’s straightforward to inform the 2 aside. The Transit Connect Wagon has three full rows of seats seen from outdoors, and the entire shebang appears rather less utilitarian typically. It’s nonetheless very van-ish, foregoing the sleeker traces of car-based minivans just like the Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Pacifica. The tailgate can be completely different, eschewing the side-hinged cargo doorways in favor of a single-piece trunk it’s a must to carry up. It’s straightforward to hoist up, however it should undoubtedly current points in shorter garages or in tight parallel parking areas. If you solely must fold down the third row for, say, hauling mulch, you are left with this semiawkward flooring. Lowering the second row fixes that downside.
The two rows of rear seats, whereas not detachable with out some wrenching, do supply a intelligent storage resolution if passengers aren’t current. The second row collapses and slides ahead, and folding down the third row to match creates a barely raised however flat load flooring. It’s not as capacious because the cargo van, nevertheless it’s surprisingly shut. That mentioned, my tester’s completed inside means tie-down places are more durable to search out, nevertheless it’ll nonetheless work as a dual-purpose van to some extent. Driving the Transit Connect Wagon is not all that completely different from driving the cargo variant. It lacks the on-road demeanor of the Pacifica or Odyssey, sustaining an above-average mixture of wind and street noise. The 215/55R16 Continental all-season tires that wrap round my Titanium-trim tester’s alloy wheels are fairly thick, absorbing heavier bumps and dips within the pavement, however the physique remains to be fairly energetic on roads that weren’t paved yesterday. It’s a big-enough van on small-enough wheels, in spite of everything. The remainder of the Transit Connect Wagon’s driving expertise is not very enthralling, both. Despite packing the identical powertrain because the cargo van, my tester would not really feel prefer it has its act collectively fully. The customary eight-speed computerized transmission clunks by way of each upshifts and downshifts, unsettling the trip. The computerized stop-start is sort of at all times herky-jerky, too, resulting in a typically disagreeable driving expertise. Acceleration takes a while, with downshifts arriving after a brief delay, requiring loads of thought on my half earlier than committing to a lane change. I do not know if it is the additional weight of the components from the passenger conversion, however this van feels markedly pokier than the cargo variant. Its gas financial system is stable, although, having no downside returning 1 or 2 mpg greater than its EPA-estimated 29 mpg freeway ranking. There are another ergonomic quirks in right here, too. In addition to the tough trunk, the rearview mirror is mounted so excessive that it is troublesome to regulate with out leaving my seat, turning fine-tuning right into a little bit of a guessing sport. The solar visors are large and troublesome to push into their highest place, additionally. These points are distinctive to the Transit Connect Wagon, given its cargo-friendly form. Sync 3 is at all times a welcome addition, providing each customary smartphone mirroring and loads of functionality by itself.
But, whereas the Transit Connect Wagon’s driving expertise leaves lots to be desired, the cargo van’s tech is simply nearly as good on this human-oriented type. On the highest Titanium trim, Sync 3 with embedded navigation is customary, providing aggressive tech that may stand subsequent to any trendy minivan. Automatic braking, keyless entry and computerized local weather management are all customary, however the two entrance USB ports are sadly the one ones on supply. I’m an enormous fan of the centrally mounted wi-fi machine charging cubby, which is giant sufficient to accommodate Apple’s largest telephones. My tester additionally consists of distant begin, a $495 possibility, nevertheless it’s weirdly linked to a separate keychain dongle as a substitute of dwelling as a button on the distant. Automatic braking stays the one customary security system, however a number of can be found. My tester is additional kitted out with adaptive cruise management ($795), lively parking help ($895) and a premium package deal ($1,475) that provides blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep help, parking sensors and a panoramic mounted glass roof. The mixture of programs works effectively, holding the lane effectively and having no downside adjusting its pace to the circulate of site visitors. Down to brass tacks While the lesser-equipped Transit Connect Wagon begins at $26,845 earlier than the $1,195 vacation spot cost, the Titanium rings in larger at $31,595. With my tester’s extensive swath of choices, the worth strikes even larger to a stunning $37,010. That places the Wagon at about the identical value as midtier trims of minivans just like the Chrysler Pacifica and Honda Odyssey, whereas providing a bit extra customary tools and superior metropolis gas financial system. Unless you really want a cargo van every now and then, although, I’d advocate skipping over the Transit Connect Wagon. The tradeoffs in ergonomics, driving dynamics and second-and-third-row tech make it laborious to advocate for anybody who will use it virtually solely because the household truckster. But it is mighty succesful at hauling, and as a plain ol’ cargo van, the Transit Connect will not allow you to down.
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