Ford Transit Connect minivan

We sampled a short-wheelbase, five-passenger wagon with the optional 178-hp, 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine and a long-wheelbase, seven-passenger model powered by its only engine, the 169-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder. Even with three aboard, the short-wheelbase EcoBoost model felt the friskiest—no surprise there—with some turbo lag but sufficient scoot once the turbo rush kicked in. The 2.5, for its part, didn’t seem to lack power under our benign driving regimen, but it might want for more oomph if more seats were filled. And for what it’s worth, the EcoBoost engine—a $795 option on the short-wheelbase model—achieves 1 to 2 more mpg than the 2.5, according to EPA estimates.

Practically a Minivan

Most Transit Connect wagon customers will be satisfied with merely adequate performance; for them, the ability to carry people and things is far more important. Ingress and egress are a cinch—there’s no ascent to the driver’s seat, you simply open the tall door and slide in sideways. The rear seats are set equally low in the structure, amplifying the impression of Notre Dame–like headroom, although taller passengers might be looking at the tops of their knees. Forget putting the rest of the basketball squad in the far back—that space is strictly for kids. Furthermore, the second-row seats are rather cumbersome to fold flat and/or gain access to the third row.

Outward vision is fantastic to the front and side and is certainly better than the cargo model’s out the rear. The cabin’s ergonomics will be familiar to anyone who’s driven other recent Ford cars. The instruments are housed in a hexagonal cluster, and ancillaries are displayed within a cowl-covered information screen (with available MyFord Touch and Sync) perched above banks of stylized audio and climate controls. As in the cargo version, the Transit Connect wagon features a full-width, aircraft-style shelf above the front visors for small items like, say, an iPad to show movies to the kids, since the Transit Connect does not offer a rear-seat entertainment system. And, of course, all-in cargo space (104.2 cubic feet of it in the long-wheelbase version) is pretty incredible. Thank you, flat-folding seats, T-square walls, and sky-high roof.

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