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The Ford Transit Connect is the automaker’s small cargo van and passenger wagon that slots below the full-size Ford Transit (which replaced the dated E-Series van). The passenger variant of the Transit Connect is practical, but smaller and less premium compared to full-size entries in the minivan segment.

History

Although the first-generation Ford Transit Connect hit European streets in the early 2000s, the small delivery van didn’t arrive in the U.S. until its mid-cycle refresh for the 2010 model year. In our First Drive, we noted that the small Transit Connect was aimed at “catering services, flower delivery, home maid services, fishmongers, and even kayak, bike, and surf shops” that didn’t require the payload of the larger Econoline van.

The small front-drive van was based on the same platform as the first-gen Ford Focus. Power came from a 2.0-lier four-cylinder mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. Although early models were sold only as long-wheelbase cargo vans, Ford added a Transit Connect XLT Premium Wagon with two-row seating for five, opening side windows, and sound insulation.

“Yes, you can live in a Ford Transit Connect, technically. But I recommend it only out of necessity, ” Carlos Lago said after spending a week living in a Ford Transit Connect cargo van. “Your business may be picking up; you may have an IPO ready. But remember these, motivational speaker Matt Foley’s words: “Well, lah-dee-freaking-dah!” The bottom can drop out. You may end up living in a van. Let his cry be a warning to you all.”

The Latest Generation

The second-generation Ford Transit Connect arrived in the U.S. for the 2014 model year riding on an all-new chassis. Unlike the boxy first-gen model, the new Transit Connect features more styling flair. The newer van also faces fresh competition including the Nissan NV200/Chevrolet City Express and Ram ProMaster City.

Several configurations are offered including cargo van or passenger wagon variants. The Transit Connect comes in two wheelbase lengths, two engine options, and five trim levels. Short wheelbase wagons seat five, while long wheelbase versions seat seven. Power comes from either a 2.5-liter (169 hp, 171 lb-ft) I-4 or available turbocharged 1.6-liter I-4 (178 hp, 184 lb-ft). Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

We were impressed by the 2014 Ford Transit Connect Titanium Wagon LWB in our First Test. Although the 2.5-liter engine in the passenger wagon wasn’t as fast as the EcoBoost engine in the cargo van, it was fun to drive: “The differences between our long-wheelbase Transit Connect Titanium Wagon and more traditional minivans are readily apparent where the rubber meets the road. Simply put, the Transit Connect is fun — and not just for a minivan. The Ford feels sporty and light on its feet, much like the Focus it’s based on.”

Why You’d Consider One

The Ford Transit Connect cargo van offers several combinations for the small business owner, and the Ford Transit Connect Wagon offers passenger and cargo space for less than the cost of a traditional minivan.

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