The Ford Transit Connect was an experiment of sorts. Ford began selling the odd-looking little van a few years ago, mostly to fleets, presenting mobile dog washers, florists, urban plumbers and others with a low-cost, fuel efficient alternative to the full-size vans they were used to. It was a rousing success, and the high-roofed, goggle-eyed vans have become common on American roads, although not nearly as ubiquitous as they are in Europe.
Nestled in among the industrial versions of the Transit Connect was a Wagon version, with glass instead of metal panels on the sides, and a wide rear bench. It, too, was aimed at mostly fleet operators, but it was obvious that a full-blown passenger version of the Transit Connect wouldn't be much of a stretch; just throw in some carpet, nicer interior panels, and you're there.
Which brings us to the 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon. Available in five- or seven-passenger versions, the 2014 Transit Connect Wagon is unabashedly making a play for the consumer market. The question remains: Will minivan-shy American consumers embrace this clever vehicle? Or will they stick to crossovers?
Who It's For
Minivans are the perfect vehicle for way more people than actually buy them. Need cargo space? Check. Need plenty of room for passengers? Check. How about fuel economy? The Transit Connect is projected to get 30 mpg on the highway, so check there. Style? Well, we're a bit split on whether we like it, but it goes without saying that the 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon has a unique look to it. However, the Transit Connect Wagon is smaller than full-sized minivans (does a full-size mini-something even make sense?), making it easier to use in urban areas, or where parking may be a problem. It'd also make a perfect second vehicle for families who already have a bigger SUV or van, but want better fuel economy in their secondary vehicle.
The key feature about the 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon is that it exists at all. But beyond that, there are some technical tidbits to consider:
- A choice of two engines. Ford's 2.5-liter four-cylinder will be the base engine, with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder as an option; no word yet on horsepower for either.
- MyFord Touch. Love it or hate it--we're somewhere in between--the ubiquitous touch-screen system will be available here, too.
- Seven passenger seating. About the only direct competitor to the Transit Connect Wagon is the Mazda5 microvan. However, that van only seats six in its three rows; the TCW can sit three across in its center row.
- Usable cargo space. Both the five- and seven-passenger versions offer up decent cargo room behind their rearmost rows, and the third row in seven-passenger models is on sliders, allowing you to maximize cargo space at the temporary expense of rearmost seat comfort.
What We Think
At least one of our staff has already concluded that as long as the 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon drives well and meets that 30 mpg target, he'll purchase one with his own money. Considering the sheer number of vehicles we drive on an annual basis, throwing down one's own money is about the highest compliment an automotive journalist can give to a carmaker. Of course, he's going to have to wait: the Transit Connect Wagon won't hit dealerships for about a year.
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