2019 Ford Transit Connect
Hard to dislike this small van
- 관리자 (firstname.lastname@example.org) --
- 22 Nov 2019 11:33 AM
By James Park
You see a group of Harley riders pulling into a roadside diner. On the surface, they all look like cousins of Hells Angels but talk to them for a minute and you find out they are weekend outlaws consisting of dentists, lawyers and fund managers.
What appears on the surface may not necessarily be the truth.
We see a lot of sport utility vehicles on the road nowadays but many of them are driven by ‘soccer moms’ who used to own minivans. Where did all the minivans go?
Superficiality and consumer trend go hand in hand and the SUV/CUV craze is definitely fueled in part by people unrealistically subscribing to rugged go-anywhere image while in actuality, driving those vehicles mostly to work, schools, shopping malls and yes, to soccer practices.
What these people really need is a minivan. Because when it comes to practicality, nothing beats it.
Truth be told, there is a segment where minivan is making a comeback. From mail-deliverers to plumbers, electricians, cable service workers, etc. are turning to small vans to carry their cargo, tools and equipments. These are not necessarily called ‘minivans’ but they are indeed small in size and they are definitely vans.
Thanks to their compact size, these vehicles can go into most garages and underground parking lots with ease. Narrow streets and downtown alleys pose no problem and they are also easy on the gas.
One of such vehicles, the Ford Transit Connect comes in both cargo and passenger versions. The cargo van can be had in short and long wheel-base, but the passenger van comes in only the long wheel-base configuration. It’s still considerably smaller than Dodge Caravan.
The base cargo model starts from somewhere around $27,000. The top-of-the-line Titanium passenger model provided to this writer demands $39,000 before taxes and other fees. Tacking on such options as panoramic sunroof, remote start, adaptive cruise control, dual-zone auto climate, 16 inch alloys, navigation and more brings the price up to $43,794.
The 2 litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated engine pumps out maximum 150 horsepower and 144 lb-ft of torque. There’s an optional 1.5 litre diesel but most the most customers would probably go for the gas mill.
In either case, engine mates to an eight-speed automatic transmission, which to this writer’s mind has two or three more gears than needed. The tranny becomes quite busy at times, trying to locate the right gear.
The Transit Connect also comes with 2.5 litre four mated to six-speed, but this model is offered to fleet owners exclusively.
As for the seven-passenger test-vehicle, the van feels underpowered at times but mostly adequate. You are not using this vehicle to win drag races. The narrow track and tall height contributes to significant body roll but the overall small size also makes the van surprisingly agile. It is a fun vehicle to drive in its own sense.
Thanks to tall sitting position and large windows, visibility is excellent all around. Sliding doors on both sides make for easy entry/exit to second-row captain’s chairs and third-row bench. The third-row can be folded down for increased cargo space but the resulting floor looks uneven and unstable. Better solution, at least to this writer, would be to take the third-row out altogether.
The interior of Transit Connect is not an unpleasant space. The familiar Ford infotainment system is bit slow but easy to operate. The touch screen, however, is very small.
Unlike the dedicated family minivans like the Caravan, Toyota Sienna and others, the Transit Connect Passenger Wagon feels like a dressed-up cargo van. It is somehow more appealing because of this. This blue collar ruggedness sort of erases the soccer mom image of a traditional minivan.
Sure, the Transit Connect can serve effectively as a multi-purpose vehicle for families with small children – although, they could probably do better with a bigger minivan.
However, for middle-aged empty-nesters like this writer, the Transit Connect would work very nicely for going on weekend trips to the cottage, fishing trips, taking grandchildren out for ice cream, doing volunteer works around town and such. (James Park is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada.)
2019 Ford Transit Connect Titanium Wagon
As tested: $43,794
Engine: 2.0 litre 4
Power: 150 hp/144 lb-ft
Transmission: 8 spd auto
Fuel: 9.9 litres per 100km (city), 8.2 litres (highway)
Best: compact size, visibility
Worst: lack of power, busy transmission
Competition: Ram Promaster City, Nissan NV200 Compact
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