One of Europe’s most popular commercial vehicles arrived in the United States late last year. While considered a fairly large van overseas, the 2010 Ford Transit Connect XLT is most certainly a little thing compared to some of the large commercial vehicles used for deliveries locally.
The calling card for this van is its smaller size and its ability to slot into spaces larger vehicles cannot. It also has a smaller engine that sips regular gas--unlike the V-8s normally used in commercial vans that have a propensity to swallow fuel like beer.
What this all means is the 2010 Ford Transit Connect is just right for the small business owner who doesn’t need a whole lot of power and wants easy access to the 135-cubic-foot interior of the Transit Connect.
While obviously a bit short on oomph, the all aluminum Duratec four-cylinder engine emits 136 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 128 pound-feet of torque at 4,700. It has a tendency to wheeze a bit--we are being kind here--but it does get out of its own way, particularly without a full payload of 1,600 pounds.
This is the only engine available for the Transit Connect; the sole transmission is a four-speed automatic. The 0-60 figures are well over 12 seconds, so moving forward in the Ford Transit Connect pretty much requires a bit of driving by momentum.
A front-wheel drive machine, Transit Connect has MacPherson strut and multilead spring suspension fore and aft with stabilizer bars at both ends. Brakes are front disc and rear drum units with antilock capabilities. Steering is power rack and pinion. The ride is a bit harsh unloaded but that is to be expected. Brakes and steering are good enough to be unnoticeable.
The result is a van that’s fairly nimble and, thanks to its unibody construction, has a low floor (7.9 inches ground clearance) for easy access to items one needs. Doors on both sides are great as well and the rear doors have 180-degree opening. Tires are right for the size: Ford fits Continental P205/65R-15 rubber with steel wheels and bright wheel covers. They do the job--just as this Transit Connect does its job with the gear as fitted.
What’s most enticing to small business owners is the mileage. Unlike commercial vans with larger engines, the Ford Transit Connect’s 15.4-gallon fuel tank will return 20/25 mpg city/highway for an average of 23 mpg. Try that with a Dodge Sprinter! Of course, one uses regular fuel in this vehicle.
After more than 200 miles running around and buying everything I could fit in the 2010 Ford Transit Connect XLT--including the proverbial kitchen sink--there was just under half a tank of fuel remaining and the computer told me I had 140 miles until empty. With more over-the-road travels, I’m sure 400-plus miles are plausible.
The Ford Transit Connect’s footprint is so very petite at 180.6 inches long, 70.7 inches wide, 79.3 inches tall (not counting the center high mounted stop light atop the roof), with a 114.6-inch wheelbase. The turning circle is a delightful 39 feet. Unloaded, it weighs 3,470 pounds and the gross vehicle weight rating is 4,965 pounds. According to Ford, the maximum payload is 1.600 pounds.
The 2010 white Ford Transit Connect XLT is well equipped for use by a small business. The total price of $25,620 as tested includes freight of $695. Check arms for the rear cargo door that allow it to open 255 degrees ($190) and reverse sensing system, which is handy since there’s no rear window and no rearview mirror ($280), are optional. Ford also fits an in-dash computer from Ford Work Solutions (FWS) and Italian technology partner Magneti Marelli ($1,395) and a DeWalt tool link to wirelessly coordinate ingress/egress of tools on the truck ($1,220). Base prices start at $21,840.