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2014 Ford Transit Connect Preview

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Ford has gone without any minivan offering for some time. But that's essentially what it will have with the all-new version of the Transit Connect that's on the way late this year, as a 2014 model. With it, the automaker is offering what's shaping up to be a strong alternative for those who want something larger than the Ford C-Max but don't want a utility vehicle.

The sleek, refined new Transit Connect is an entirely different, more compact vehicle than Ford's new lineup of Transit cargo vans and commercial vehicles. The Transit Connect, which will be offered both as a commercial vehicle and as a passenger-oriented Transit Connect Wagon, replaces a much more modest vehicle of the same name that has made its U.S. debut in the 2010 model year, after having been on sale in Europe for more than a decade as a commercial vehicle built in Turkey.

The 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon, as the entire Transit Connect lineup, is built on a front-wheel-drive platform—the same one as in the Ford Focus. That means it's more fuel-efficient than some other minivans on the market--all of them, actually, even the Mazda 5. Ford promises 30-mpg highway ratings for some versions of the Transit Connect, thanks to its choice of either a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine or a 1.6-liter turbocharged four. Both are teamed to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Interior flexibility will be improved over the current model, with fold-flat second- and third-row seats, and a sliding third-row seat for adjustable cargo and passenger room. The Transit Connect Wagon offers sliding side doors, and a choice of a tailgate in back, or hinged cargo doors.

Ford promises best-in-class load carrying ability as well, with the payload of a full-size pickup of at least 1,200 pounds and more than 100 cubic feet of cargo space. The passenger-oriented Wagon will still be able to tow up to 2,000 pounds.

Body configurations include short-wheelbase (SWB) and long-wheelbase (LWB) versions, and the Transit Connect Wagon will be offered in XL, XLT, and Titanium trim levels. Safety equipment will include three-row airbags on seven-passenger models, and two-row curtain airbags on five-passenger models.

Among the major options will be a panoramic roof; a choice of leather, cloth, or vinyl upholstery; a rearview camera; a touchscreen navigation system; and SYNC with MyFord Touch voice controls.

 
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