2011 Ford Transit Connect XLT Premium Wagon

I commend Ford for bringing the Transit Connect to the United States, despite the fact that, while the vehicle is so obviously perfect for Europe, it is clearly a fish out of water here. Sales were decent in its first full year for sale in the States (27,405 units in 2010), and I'm sure those customers are quite pleased, since this is such a useful yet relatively economical utility vehicle, both in its initial cost and its appetite for gasoline.

According to Ford, the Wagon (the one with more windows and a second row of seats rather than an open cargo area) makes up only about 20 percent of all Transit Connect sales in the United States, which makes sense, particularly since fleet sales make up a very significant portion of the TC’s sales.

As funky and neat as it is, the Transit Connect Wagon is one of the worst family vehicles in Ford's lineup, for two main reasons: the back seats don't offer much legroom (even though there's about an acre of cargo space behind the seats), and it takes a long time for the rear seating quarters to feel the benefits of the vehicle's climate control system. That said, the huge amounts of headroom mean that loading kids into baby seats is not a literal pain in the neck, as in so many other cars. You'd definitely want to secure your luggage in open cargo area, though.

To me, the Transit Connect seems more like a perfect blank slate than an ideal family vehicle. Besides the countless plumbers, caterers, cable guys, and so forth who could happily make this their rolling office, I think it'd be fun to turn one into a mini-motorhome (which some companies already do), perhaps with lofted sleeping quarters and storage space underneath. A Transit Connect could also make for a cool rolling audio/visual entertainment area, since it's large enough inside to house a pretty big flat-screen TV and is shaped like a giant speaker box anyway. Handicap-accessible versions are also becoming popular.

From behind the wheel, it's easy to imagine that this could be the perfect car for someone of exceptional height, given the vast amounts of headroom. Strangely, though, there's not very much legroom for the driver. Not that anyone with an NBA star's budget is likely to choose this vehicle anyway.

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

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