By KBB.com Editors
One year after its introduction, skeptics of Ford's Transit Connect van find themselves eating crow, while Ford's profits balloon. Designed for the European market, the compact 2011 Ford Transit Connect is easy on fuel, relatively inexpensive to purchase and as versatile as a Swiss Army Knife. Ford rightly predicted a market for a small, four-cylinder delivery vehicle that could maneuver the tight confines of city traffic much easier than a full-size van or delivery truck. Smarter yet, Ford has enlisted a number of aftermarket providers who can customize the Transit Connect to be whatever its owners require, from a well-organized delivery truck to a rolling repair shop. With no competition to speak of, Ford is free to run as far as sales of the Transit Connect will take it which, by all accounts, is going to be quite some distance.
Whether you run a small business or just like funky, versatile vehicles, there's a 2011 Ford Transit Connect for you. The tall cargo bay, available 255-degree opening rear doors and numerous equipment packages make the Transit Connect much more practical than a car-based van or CUV.
While the 2011 Ford Transit Connect is very versatile, there are limits to the size and weight of objects it can hold. If you need to transport large or heavy items, a full-size van with a big V8 is probably still the best choice.
For 2011, Ford adds a compressed natural gas package, taxi prep package, Mobility prep package and an XLT Premium upgrade package. Also new is an online custom-graphics program that allows owners to create custom graphic appliques for their Transit Connects.
Driving Impressions If you think driving the 2011 Ford Transit Connect is probably much like driving a small minivan, you wouldn't be far off. Despite its tall roof, the Transit Connect...is only a few inches wider than Ford's Focus compact sedan, which explains why it's so easy to fit into tight parking spots and navigate narrow alleyways. The vehicle's 39-foot turning circle is also about the same as the average minivan and, while not as tight as some compact cars, it's certainly better than any full-size van we've driven. If the Transit Connect has one area for improvement, it's under the hood. The 2.0-liter gas engine can get the job done, but Ford's European diesel engine would be so much better, offering more torque and superior fuel economy. Ah, well; maybe when gas hits six bucks a gallon.
255-Degree Swing-Open Rear Doors
The 255-degree angle folds the doors completely out of the way, allowing for much easier access to the cargo area.
In-Dash Computer System
This Microsoft Windows-based computer system can do just about everything a regular desktop computer can; it even comes with a keyboard and mouse.
Clearly a product of older Ford design language, the 2011 Transit Connect's hard gray plastics and firm seating are not much to look at, but they are functional and highly durable. The Transit Connect can be outfitted with rear seats or left empty, providing over 135 cubic feet of available cargo space and a height of nearly five feet from floor to ceiling (nearly the same dimension as its width.) Storage space abounds, and Ford's large number of aftermarket suppliers can customize your Transit Connect however you see fit, be it with shelving and lockable drawers, or custom-designed equipment compartments. In passenger form, the Transit Connect can seat up to five people. With the available taxi prep package, the Transit Connect can also serve as a taxi, providing additional rear-seat passenger room, heavy-duty vinyl seating and a rear heater.Exterior
The 2011 Ford Transit Connect looks like nothing on the road, at least not in the United States. From the driver's seat, the view out the windshield strongly resembles that of any midsize sedan. But, look rearward and the tall roof and boxy cargo hold tell a different story. While it may not be aesthetically pleasing, the Transit Connect's functionality is never in question. From its tall sliding side doors, to the available split hinged rear doors that can swing around flush with the van's sides, the Transit Connect is all about getting stuff – be that passengers or cargo – in and out with as little fuss as possible. Business owners will love Ford's new custom graphics program that allows them to design their own graphic logos online. Once the design is finalized it can be transferred to a vinyl "wrap" that can be adhered to the Transit Connect's sheet metal.
The 2011 Ford Transit Connect comes standard with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, four-speed automatic transmission, 15-inch covered steel wheels, rear 180-degree swing-open doors and an AM/FM radio with two speakers. The higher XLT trims come with more features, including side and rear-door privacy glass, a single-disc CD player, audio input jack, cruise control, dual front map lights, AdvanceTrac electronic stability control with RSC (Roll Stability Control) and the Power Equipment Group, which includes remote keyless entry and power windows, door locks and side mirrors.
Some notable options include the Nokia Bluetooth system, 255-degree-opening rear doors, reverse-sensing system, an in-dash Magnetti Marelli Windows CE computer with touch screen, Crew Chief (which allows fleet managers to track their fleet vehicles and staff) and Tool Link (which uses radio frequency identification tags that allow the user to keep track of items missing from the vehicle's cabin - such as power tools that might be left at a work site). Some notable packages include the Mobility prep package, that includes pre-wiring for added mobility devices such as wheel chairs and lifts, and the CNG/LPG-capable engine prep package, that allows for conversion to natural gas or liquid propane. The package includes hardened intake and exhaust valves, as well as hardened valve seals.
The 2011 Ford Transit Connect is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder Duratec engine that gives it a fair balance of fuel economy and power. Although a four-cylinder engine seems rather small for a vehicle that weighs over 3,000 pounds and is meant to haul large cargo, it's surprisingly spritely and supplies enough torque to get the Transit Connect everywhere it needs to go. And, it delivers decent fuel economy.
2.0-liter in-line four
136 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
128 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/26
By Ron on Wednesday, May 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "very good gas mileage for the cargo capacity"
Cons: "could use a little more power and better arm rests"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"very useful for around town, hauling kids to college picking up appliances or any other large items you may purchase. great in any type of winter driving."
18 people out of 31 found this review helpful
By JF on Monday, May 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good MPG with heavy cargo"
Cons: "Traction control cannot be disabled."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"This first-year vehicle had a few hiccups, but dealer made good on all problems. Glad I bought the extended warranty. I live on a mountain, and the traction control got me stuck more than once in mud or snow trying to go up a 12% grade. It cannot be disabled and automatically applies the brakes when it senses any slip which will stall your running-start climb on a slippery up-grade. Vehicle is a little noisy at Interstate speeds on long trips. However, I find the vehicle has amazing power for a four cylinder, and great gas mileage. I often carry 500 to 900 pounds of cargo plus passengers with gas mileage in the mid-20s at 70 MPH. Rear seat area is tight, but I wanted to carry heavy loads and no mini-van is safe at the loads I carry. Rear doors full-swing is great. Caveat - If this was an AWD vehicle, it would be the perfect truck."
8 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Katrina on Wednesday, April 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Storage and accessibility"
Cons: "Doesn't handle well in wind or snow & bad mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"If there is wind out - it does not handle well, on snow and ice, it does not handle well, it does not get very good gas mileage and the window levers being in center instead of on doors is very inconvenient and ride in backseat is pretty bad - relatively good in front? The best thing about this is the storage capacity and the accessibility to the contents inside. We do vendor shows and we can get everything we need in there and unload in minutes and with room and height is pretty much like having a truck for most items that you need to move, like big chairs and mattresses actually fit inside. Since I can not afford a normal vehicle and one for transport it is used for both and having no back windows that open up is not convenient for anyone in backseat riding, especially our dogs that want to hang their heads out and can't. If I were using it just for our shows I would keep it in a minute, but since it has to be our regular vehicle as well, I have to go back to another type of vehicle - probably the Escape which is one of the best vehicles I ever owned and got better gas mileage in 6 cyl than this vehicle did for a 4 cyl. I still have my 2003 Ford Escape which is only now after about 10 years of use starting to have more major issues than it had most of the time I have had it. What I should really do is put lots of money into it to fix it back up and then keep both vehicles?"
8 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By chasbo48 on Thursday, March 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,500overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Design, accesibility, MPG"
Cons: "Bad radio/speaker, insufficient horn, mech. issues"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Good truck, good mileage, great design for contractor. Two issues: was in shop for 3 weeks for TPS (Tire Pressure Sensor ) issue, and in two weeks for acceleration/hesitation. Mechanics don't seem to be very adept at diagnosing and solving issues on this truck - perhaps it's unfamiliarity, or maybe just my luck that I've had weird problems but every time I've had issues it's been very time-consuming and expensive to solve. Truck has been in shop 11 days now for current acceleration/hesitation issue..."
10 people out of 18 found this review helpful
By Kat on Wednesday, March 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Storage capacity and convience of unloading"
Cons: "Window controls, weather problems/bad mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"Things I like: sliding side doors/opening back doors to side of car - we do art shows and this had been VERY convenient. Things I don't like - window openers in center console (very inconvenient) / my 6 cylinder Escape got better gas mileage than this 4 cylinder and has so little power - have to use all your power on gas pedal to get up inclines / have had front wheel drive cars always and never trouble getting around till we got this one - definitely does not handle well in snow, ice, even rain sometimes and definitely bad in wind. I like the looks and convenience of the style, but as far as the rest it has been quite the disappointment. It also does not heat well at all - eventually it gets warm, but never as soon as you need it even when left to warm up and driver's side is cold most of the time. I think blower problems on that side of car / also no mirror on driver's side visor?"
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Backbay Fred on Monday, November 18, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handy vehicle - fun to own"
Cons: "Cloth seats, carpet floor"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I purchased this vehicle when I was a Independent Courier. I chose the passenger model because I have two grand-children. This vehicle has made trips to Florida, upstate New York and to Cleveland, Ohio via West Virginia. It has been used as a dog ambulance, dog hearse, lumber carrier, furniture mover. Just an all around handy vehicle. It is easy to park and is my vehicle of choice for the runs to Costco for carrying bulky items. Don't know why Ford decided to redo for 2014. All they really needed to do is make an extended length model and they could have kept building them. Obviously is a niche market vehicle."
15 people out of 19 found this review helpful