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.
The biggest disappointment to me, though, is the inflexibility of the rear seats. Configured for passengers, legroom is less than generous. To remove the rear chairs completely, you'll need tools, and simply folding them forward requires that you remove the three massive headrests. Also, Ford's Work Solutions that packages a computer into the navigation display, is an abomination. Not only are the applications like the Internet browser and Microsoft Word finicky to use, basic functions like navigation and stereo control are crummy. If you're a business owner looking to pick up the Transit Connect for your fleet, I recommend you keep employee morale and productivity up by supplying workers with a laptop and air card instead.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor