Tom Crosby: A vehicle good for family, small business

Tom Crosby

Since 1903 Ford Motor Company has made 230 different models but none may be quite as funky as the Ford Transit Connect, which some call a mini-van, the government calls a special purpose vehicle and others call a wagon.

By any name, it is a highly versatile vehicle suited for a cargo-needy small business and transformable into room for five or six family members.

Our test drive was the 2017 Transit Connect Titanium Long Wheel Base Wagon, top trim above the XL and XLT, with no significant changes made for the 2018 version.

There are two basic models – cargo van or passenger-oriented wagon – each with numerous configurations and options. The only engine is a 2.5-liter powering a 16.5-foot long, 6-feet tall, 2-ton vehicle seating occupants surrounded by huge windows under a panoramic sunroof.

No vehicle has better on-road visibility for occupants. The same for onlookers who stare at its box-like shape, stub-nosed hood, rising beltline, chrome roof rails, and in our tester, a solar metallic lime-green color. The Titanium Premium package cost $2,345, adding 17-inch premium alloy wheels painted black, a blind-spot detection system and front and rear sensing to prevent bump-ups when parking, which is a plus for delivery drivers squeezing into tight spaces.

A tow package for $395 added 2,000 pounds towing capability (plus 1,270 lbs. payload). Our daytime running lights cost $45. Space totals 104.2 cubic feet of storage with rear seats folded. It holds items 42.2 inches tall or less.

Titaniums use a manual liftgate; swing-out cargo doors aren’t available. Behind the wheel, steering with front wheel drive was precise, offering decent handling and a 40-feet turning radius. The ride is fine on smooth payment, bumpy over rough roads but this isn’t a sports utility vehicle. Limited acceleration requires caution in highway merges and interstate passing. Miles per gallon aren’t great.

Inside, all seats are perforated; there is a rear view camera but no cross traffic alert. The 6.5-inch dashboard screen uses SYNC3 infotainment, with voice-activated technology, including navigation, and Apple Car Play and Android Auto with a smartphone.

It can connect with Amazon’s Alexa for a plethora of features.

Deeply cowled gauges help reduce glare from the sun.

Transit Connect has received top safety ratings in crash testing, although the owner’s manual clearly warns that due to its height, caution should rule in sharp turns and on cantilevered ramps.

LIKES: Price, visibility, cargo/passenger space, looks, technology

DISLIKES: Power, low miles per gallon

BOTTOM LINE: So versatile it can meet business and passenger needs more than adequately



Base price w/destination fee: $31,30 ($34,105 as tested).

Curb weight: 3,968 lbs.

Wheelbase: 120.6 inches.

Length: 189.7 inches.

Width: 72.2 inches.

Engine specs: 2.5-liter, 4-cylinders.

Horsepower: 169-hp at 6,000 rpm.

Torque: 171 lb-ft at 4,500 rpm.

Transmission: Six-speed select  shift/automatic

EPA rating: 19 mpg city/27 mpg  highway

Range: 15.8-gallon tank, regular

Performance: 0-60 in just over 10 seconds