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January 27, 2010 > Auto Review: Transit Connect by Ford

Auto Review: Transit Connect by Ford

The subject of this week's road test is not a car. It's a truck, but not a pick-up truck. As you can see by the photos, it is truly a commercial vehicle. So why should I review a commercial truck? First, I am sure some readers buy and drive commercial trucks and secondly, this truck has recently won a huge honor.

This month the Transit Connect was named "North American Truck of the Year." The factors that went into this distinction include innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar. A jury of 49 influential U.S. and Canadian automotive journalists (not including me) vote for this award. The Transit Connect offers double the fuel economy of full-sized vans, generous and accessible cargo space and maneuverability to make it easy to operate in crowded cities.

One focus for the Transit Connect is low operating costs so it is powered by a 4 cylinder, 2.0-liter engine that develops 136 HP and 128 pound-feet of torque. The engine is made in Valencia, Spain. Connected to a four speed overdrive automatic transmission driving the front wheels, the Transit Connect delivered 22 mpg in its EPA city test and 25 mpg in its highway cycle on regular gas.

With the Transit Connect, Ford has opened its global portfolio of products to bring this package of features to help American small business owners. The Transit Connect is made in a Turkish plant in the city of Kocaeli. You don't need to worry about all the potential problems of a brand new design, because this truck was launched in Europe in 2003, and won "International Van of the Year" at that time. More than 600,000 units have been sold in 58 countries.

Another focus for the Transit Connect is flexibility and adaptability so the American small business owner can tailor it to his or her unique needs. This is where Ford's Work Solutions technology makes many cargo management systems available. Various interior configurations can be made from the bulkheads, racks, bins, and other storage system components. No matter what your business transportation needs, Ford has an efficient answer in the Transit Connect. Split rear doors and sliding side doors on both sides allow easy cargo loading and unloading.

A 1,600 pound payload rating is higher than some full size pick-up trucks. The Transit Connect has 135 cubic feet of cargo carrying capacity. Various window configurations are available to meet everyone's needs. A wagon version of the Transit Connect adds a second row of seats so it can double as passenger van if you need that capability.

An in-dash computer is available to manage many facets of business. It includes navigation, internet access, productivity software, printer, electronic scanning of tools and/or cargo with RFID tags, fleet tracking, vehicle maintenance tracking and many other options. Transit Connect can truly serve as your rolling office.

The base Transit Connect starts at $21,475. Our tester had a few options that brought the full MSRP to $24,975. It comes with front and side airbags, an anti-lock braking system, tire pressure monitoring, and various types of door locks to keep the contents safe.

For me, the Transit Connect was fun to drive. Of course, it seemed very different than most other vehicles I drive. Sitting in the driver's seat, you get a real sense of the large, open expanse behind you. Working trucks aren't supposed to set any land speed records but it was peppy, comfortable, quiet, and drove and rode like a small car, not like many small trucks I have driven. If I needed a small, maneuverable, hard working truck there would be a Transit Connect in my driveway.

By Dick Ryan
Freelance Automotive Journalist
Member of the Western Automotive Journalists

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