I was part expecting and part hoping that the Transit Connect with rear windows and five seats would become a cult family vehicle for a small subset of the American population. Having driven the cargo version, I should have known better. The wagon variant is slightly more livable than the hauler with marginally reduced wind noise and far better visibility. But the rough ride, mediocre mechanicals, and Spartan interior mean it will only appeal to a handful of buyers outside of fleets.
So, a month or two ago I spent a few days in a Transit Connect that was configured as a cargo van. It had only the two front seats and the vast, tall, cargo space behind them. My household loved it, and during our time with the vehicle we hauled dogs and dog crates, hockey gear, and several dozen used car tires.
It bothers me to no end to hear folks compare the Transit Connect to full-size commercial vans like the Dodge (now Mercedes-Benz) Sprinter and the Chevrolet Express. I understand that they're all panel vans born and bred to serve as commercial runabouts, but the Transit Connect plays in a completely different segment. Instead, let's compare it to the long-departed Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari. An unusual comparison, perhaps, but it is one that Ford management made when building a business case to bring the European Transit Connect to our shores.
Thanks largely to its low price, maneuverable size, and economical powertrain, the Transit Connect makes a fantastic cargo vehicle. However, I just don't think that the Wagon edition is a very good family vehicle.
I have to agree with Rusty - the Transit Connect makes more sense as a simple, cheap utility van than a do-it-all family hauler. For about $20,000, there's nothing quite like the Transit Connect panel van. We're talking about a vehicle that drives like a Ford Focus and gets great fuel economy, and yet is capable of supporting a small business. But $25,000-people movers? We have quite a few of those, many of which are more comfortable and more efficient than this Ford. Yes, the Transit Connect Wagon can still handle taller, bulkier items than your average crossover, but tell me, are you really going to stack cargo four feet high when you have kids in the back seat? (The right answer is "no," by the way).
Before I drove a Transit Connect, I thought this little workhorse would make a great addition to virtually anyone's fleet. Now that I've had a chance to drive a Transit Connect I'm thinking this is an ideal vehicle for one of my friends to own.
2010 Ford Transit Connect XLT Wagon