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Driven: 2010 Ford Transit Connect

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2010 Ford Transit Connect - media event in NYC, May 2009

2010 Ford Transit Connect - media event in NYC, May 2009

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We don't usually break much automotive news here in New York City, unless it's in bankruptcy court (where Chrysler is now, and GM may be next week).

So we took great pleasure at driving a 2010 Ford Transit Connect before our colleagues in Detroit and Los Angeles, which are the more usual venues for automotive test drives.

We have a full Transit Connect drive report over on GreenCarReports.com (because it's, you know, relatively small, and fuel efficient, and all that good stuff). But here's the bottom line:

THE PROS

- Tons of room inside, with a load bay 6 feet long, 5 feet tall, and 4 feet between rear wheelwells. That toasts the 2009 Chevrolet HHR Panel.

- Straightforward driver's compartment, modern instruments, pleasant grey plastic (which we suspect will also be Ford Truck Tough)

- Useful options, like rear load-bay door hinges that open to 255 degrees, with magnets to keep doors anchored to the van-body sides

- Ford Works Solutions in-vehicle computer, Sprint high-speed cellular uplink, and Bluetooth connectivity for keyboard and printer

- A neat wagon version (no, not "station wagon," just wagon) with a three-person split folding rear bench seat

THE CONS

- It's missing a few things (110-Volt power jack, the Sync in-vehicle entertainment system)

- The wagon version bizarrely has no rear windows in the van sides, even though they're available in Europe

- Acceleration away from a dead stop isn't particularly speedy, though mid-range power for passing is pretty good

- No diesel option, even though the owner of the small hardware store Ford took us to (as an example of a likely buyer) said he'd really prefer a diesel--Ford says it has no suitable diesel-with-automatic combination, and a manual won't sell in this vehicle

THE HIDDEN UPSIDE

- This vehicle is the real deal, designed for a single purpose, like the original Scion xB (but not the larger, limper, lamer current model)

- Which means to us that it could get adopted by small subcultures of drivers who use it for something completely different

- In other words, soccer moms ... meet surf punks ... meet traveling circuses ... meet extreme spelunkers who sleep in their cars ??

Overall, we liked the Transit Connect. And there's nothing else like it on the market. Heck, Ford even suggested that likely buyers are still nursing along their 1985-2005 Chevrolet Astro vans.

And if those folks aren't ready for this vehicle by now, no one is.

2010 Ford Transit Connect - media event in NYC, May 2009

2010 Ford Transit Connect - media event in NYC, May 2009

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Comments (3)
  1. What a shame that there is no manual transmission version planned. A diesel engine with manual transmission version would make this a most own vehicle. With an automatic, I will give it a miss. I would rather stick with my 5 speed Voyager. It may be 20 years old, but it still gets great mileage and is trouble free. I would like to see a 20 years old automatic transmssion Voyager that is still going strong. Not likely.
     
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  2. Yes, We are still nursing our fleet of Astro vans along. We have one with almost 200,000 mile on it since we saw no suitable replacement . . until now. Bought an HHR panel. It is OK, but it was no replacement for our Astro vans. Can't wait to drive one and check it out more thouroughly than at the shows.
     
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  3. I would write a blank check for a diesel transit van with a manual transmission.
    '04 Scion XB owner
     
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