September 17, 2009

What To Think About The Ford Transit Connect As A Family Car?

ford_transit_wagon_build.jpg

You know, I decided this won't be the third time I don't post something about the Ford Transit Connect, the mini commercial van/wagon that's been a big hit in Europe, and which Ford introduced here this year as a highly flexible, economical small business platform.

Seth mentioned theTransit Connect's general utilitarian awesomeness in the C-Max comments, and now I've had my Transit Connect Wagon XLT configurator open in my browser for like three days.

ford_transit_escape_hatch.jpg

The Wagon is the non-panel van model, which gives you windows in the back, and the XLT is the only trim level that includes a 3-passenger 60/40 rear seat. Even if it isn't lined with glowsticks and flatscreens like the Family One concept Ford showed at the last NY Auto Show, the Transit Connect still might make a decent family rig. [Though you can see the temptation of the screen/soundproof partition combination. Also, I'd like an in-floor stroller hatch, please.]

ford_transit_stroller_hatch.jpg

The options that are available are basically the onboard computer and Tool Link, a DeWalt branded RFID chip tool tracking system [total outlay: around $2600] which Seth wants to install on his kid and all the gear. But without the electronics, it is pretty hard to spend more than $25,000 on this little ride. Because Ford--am I reading this right?--because Ford won't actually start making Wagon XLT's until April 2010??

2010 Ford Transit Connect product pages [commtruck.ford.com]
Ford Work Solutions | DeWalt ToolLink [fordworksolutions.com]
New York Preview: Ford Transit Connect Family One Concept [autoblog]

8 Comments

As far as I know, all the TCs being sold here now are made in Turkey. I believe the plan is to eventually move production here for domestic consumption (at least that's what they're telling the UAW). As far as I know they are selling the commercial version first and the passenger wagon later as you mention. I can definitely see both versions as big sellers in NYC.
The number sold here in August was about 2000, which Ford portrayed as flying off the showroom floor, and is a good sign, but hardly going to get Ford out of financial trouble (Honda sold 43000 Civics in the same month for example)

There really isn't any reason to pick a Transit over a traditional suv/wagon or crossover besides it's height. So unless you move a lot of antiques you're better off with an Outback or Chevy Equinox with 4 cylinder and AWD that still gets better mileage and are top safety picks by the IIHS. Plus better resale etc etc.

Love the stroller compartment in the concept but is this where the spare tire would go? Doesn't matter, I think our Mountain Buggy and the Transit Connect have the same size wheels.

I was at the dealer and climbed around in one of these last week. It was the cargo version (so only 2 seats) but the amount of space/cargo room in such a small vehicle is incredible. There are many cars these days packing practical cargo room into small packages (Fit, Mazda5, Rondo, PT Cruiser, HHR, etc, etc) but the Transit Connect is in another league. It's a little hard on the eyes (inside and out) and the interior is incredibly spartan but the amount of space is incredible and can serve as a blank canvas to be filled with various passenger/family oriented amendities. As I mentioned in my earlier comment, give us the diesel and figure out how to cram in AWD and I'll get out my checkbook.

This car will be a success if all the plumbers, florists and geek squads realize it's exactly what they need. It will be an even greater success if families don't mind driving the same vehicles as their plumber, florist and geek squad. 2,000 cars in the first month is not enough for Ford to declare victory but it's a nice start for a car (and a segment) that isn't even on the radar screen in this country.

As far as a car for NYC, here's what Ford showed us at the car show in 2008: http://www.autoblog.com/2008/03/19/new-york-08-preview-ford-transit-connect-taxi-son-of-crown-v/

See, I liked that Taxi concept straight out of the box. It's like a Honda Element, only with room for five, not just four.

Though as the industry mook with a suit, wingtips, and no socks climbing in the back demonstrates, it does look a little cozy in back.

There was a miniature auto show in (of all places) Battery Park City last weekend. Based on what vehicles the manufacturers were showing you'd have thought that everyone who owns a car in Manhattan wants either a Range Rover/other luxury SUV or a sports car. Where'd they get that idea?

Ford had various big "family" vehicles out but the Transit Connect was the only one I saw people visiting, even though it's not even a passenger vehicle and looks dorky as hell. I agree with seth: Properly equipped, this is a fine >5 passenger mini-minivan. Such a weird vehicle.

It's a great and beautiful little car with room to pack 3 bicycles in the back. I would love to buy one and convert it to an RV. This is the best looking car of the year!

Even the though this segment didn't exist in the States until a few months ago, the Transit Connect might be getting some company from Fiat via Chrysler.
http://www.autoblog.com/2009/11/16/fiat-reveals-new-doblo-will-it-come-to-america-to-challenge-f/

The Transit Connect has been a success but families were not a priority when it was designed. The new Transit Connect promises a little more refinement and now this: American Families, meet your Transit Connect: http://www.autoblog.com/2012/11/13/2014-ford-transit-connect-wagon-brings-minivans-back-to-the-blue/

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