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.
So I was interested to see if we would like this passenger version of the Transit Connect as well as the straight cargo version. How does it differ? First, it has side and rear windows. Second, it has a second-row seat, which brings the total seating capacity to five. The question was, will the Transit Connect be as useful even when its cargo space has been diminished?
In a word, yes. Even with the rear seat in place, our large dog crate fit north/south behind the seat in the cargo area. In fact, I think there would have been room for two crates, side-by-side. We're talking about a crate that easily accommodates an 85-pound German shepherd. As far as hockey gear, there was room for that, as well: we folded down the rear seat and used the folded seatback as a tall shelf. The rear seat is not removable, or at least not without tools.
Naturally, we appreciated the extra visibility provided by the additional glass area. Although the rear Dutch doors impede rearward vision slightly, there are two wipers, one for the window in each door, which is a nice touch.
Although the hockey player in my household was not convinced that the Transit Connect is worth considering over a full-size van, which he thinks wouldn't return significantly worse fuel economy and would provide superior towing capability, I still am enchanted by the Transit Connect's size, capability, and looks. I sometimes fantasize about opening a catering firm just so I could dash about town with trays of hors d'oeuvres secured into the built-in shelving that the aftermarket surely is already providing for this clever little trucklet.
Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor