Ford will be showing off a family-oriented concept version of its Transit Connect small van that's slated for a U.S. sale date sometime this summer. The Ford Transit Connect Family One Concept we'll see next week at the New York Auto Show is based around kids and the moms who tote them around, featuring a host of thoughtful (and wacky) details.
Providing plenty of space for kids and their stuff with 135 cubic feet of interior space, the Transit Connect is nonetheless built on a compact platform to ensure maneuverability and lower gas consumption.
Ford claims that "the conceptual intent of the vehicle is to be as engaging and entertaining when parked as it is on the go." As such, there's the expected suite of digital media options. But we especially like the side rear inner door panels built for water-based pen ink, as they're a rare nod to non-digital creativity. The panels "easily wipe clean for the next round of creative inspiration."
Helping mom keep the kiddies germ- and sunburn-free are built in hand sanitizer and sunscreen dispensers. Family walkie-talkie radios that charge when docked are included in the concept, as are cargo door-mounted folding twin scooters. An underfloor rear storage conceals a folding stroller. All seat covers are easily removed and washed or traded out for different styles.
Going a bit far is the in-dash computer system that uses RFID technology to keep track of your items. It "learns" what's usually in your vehicle when you depart the driveway, and alerts you if certain usual items are missing. We're hoping a computerized voice doesn't do the nagging. One very useful part of the Transit Connect's electronics are sensors that warn the driver if, say, a child seat is not fitted properly.
We like funky, big-windowed, fuel-sipping European vans, and are happy the Mercedes/Dodge Sprinter finally has some (smaller) competition. The Family One Concept (and the Ford Transit Connect coming this summer) is motivated by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that nets 22 city, 25 highway. They say that the Connect platform will readily accept additional engines in the future, including Ford's EcoBoost engines or an all-electric drive system.