2010 Ford Transit Connect
NEW: A compact van that promises to wake the sleepy van market.
NOTEWORTHY: The front-wheel-drive European (actually, Turkish) import is some three feet shorter than traditional vans but still offers 135 cubic feet of cargo space and a 1600-pound payload. The Transit Connect is offered in two fairly basic trim levels-a two-seat cargo van and a four- or five-seat wagon; the latter's rear bench tumbles forward but isn't readily removable. Windows in the sliding side doors and swing-out rear doors are optional. The 136-hp four with a four-speed automatic prizes economy (22/25 mpg), not performance. Options include Crew Chief (it tracks the van's location, speed, fuel consumption, and maintenance needs) and Tool Link (antennae inside the van scan for RFID tags you put on your tools, so you know what's in the van). There's even an in-dash computer ($1395), which can surf the Web and has GPS and hands-free phone integration. Ford is targeting small-business owners, but the Transit Connect seems so useful, it could find a wider audience.
ON SALE: Now
PRICE: $21,475/$21,830 (cargo van/wagon)
2.0L I-4, 136 hp, 128 lb-ft;