Ford Transit Connect History
Front Exterior View - 2010 Ford Transit Connect Wagon 4-door Wagon XLEnlarge Photo
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The Ford Transit Connect is a commercial vehicle offered for the first time in the U.S. as a 2010 model. A passenger version, the Transit Connect Wagon, is spun off from it for buyers interested in lots of utility and relatively few creature comforts.
Built in Turkey, and sold across Europe since 2003, the U.S. version of the Transit Connect is priced from the low $20,000 range. The Transit Connect used to have some unique competition in the Honda Element and the Chevrolet HHR panel wagon--both of which were cancelled for the 2012 model year.
The Transit Connect comes with a single powertrain in this first American edition. It's powered by a 136-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine teamed with a four-speed automatic transmission. As you might expect, acceleration is leisurely with the combination, but fuel economy is an estimated 21/27 mpg. The front-drive van isn't a tedious handler, though--its steering is reasonably quick and the ride quality occupies a good middle ground of firmness.
With its hauling duties dictating its proportions inside and out, the Transit Connect's no looker. It's plain and transparently boxy--in some circles, a good thing--but lacks all the design verve you'll see in the details of a Honda Element. The TC's interior has the most fusty design cues and materials; it's like 1994 all over again, what with the van's hard plastic pieces and oddly integrated bits, like the electric window switches between the seats, instead of on the doors.
Still, with its vertical expanses and the side-hinged doors at the back, the Transit Connect is a useful, flexible option for small businesses and private uses. It's remarkably wide inside, and the windshield is very tall. There's even a shelf above front passengers' foreheads, where no doubt you'll lose pens, bank deposit slips, and other errata--it's that expansive.
Commercial versions come with just front seats, by the way. To avoid a 25-percent tax on each one imported into the U.S., Ford builds all Transit Connects headed here as five-seat wagons--then removes, shreds and recycles the rear seats in 80 percent of them at a port facility on the East Coast. It's a clever dodge around an antiquated rule, but a waste of materials and time all the same. The tax is the same one that prevents foreign-assembled pickup trucks from being imported into the U.S. inexpensively.
Ford has offered an all-electric Transit Connect with a driving range of 70 to 100 miles, and a recharging time of 6 to 8 hours, but the recent bankruptcy of the conversion company has left the future of the vehicle in limbo. Ford also sells versions prepped to run on CNG or propane, and markets a model built specifically for taxi fleets.
For the 2012 model year, all Transit Connects, commercial or passenger, received stability control with anti-rollover programming. The van returns for the 2013 model year unchanged.
Open Doors - 2010 Ford Transit Connect Wagon 4-door Wagon XLEnlarge Photo