By KBB.com Editors
Ford's 2012 Transit Connect van is the little truck that wasn't supposed to be. But, despite all the critics and macho truck guys who swore they'd never be caught dead in one, the Transit Connect van has won over numerous converts and changed the costs of transportation for thousands of businesses. The compact Transit Connect van has succeeded where others failed, due to its incredible flexibility, good fuel economy and low maintenance costs. The Transit Connect's small size also makes it much easier to maneuver through confined city streets and narrow alleys, a plus for parcel and delivery services. To further help sales, Ford has partnered with a number of aftermarket providers capable of customizing the 2012 Transit Connect however its owner requires. Other manufacturers are now making gestures toward bringing their own European microvan to market but, to date, the 2012 Ford Transit Connect has the market all to itself.
While the 2012 Ford Transit Connect might appeal to off-beat consumers looking for a unique ride, its first mission is to serve the business community. With its elevated roof, available 255-degree-opening rear doors and seemingly infinite equipment and graphics packages, the Transit Connect van is far superior to any small pickup or car-based crossover.
Although it may seem the 2012 Ford Transit Connect knows no boundary, size and weight restrictions limit what it can carry. If you need to transport heavy items, tow a trailer or carry six or more people, a V8-powered full-size van is still a better choice.
For 2012, the Transit Connect is equipped with Ford's AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control. Previously optional, AdvanceTrac is an electronic traction and stability control program that greatly increases safety. A passenger-friendly XLT Premium Wagon is added to the lineup, featuring a three-person second-row bench seat.
Driving Impressions Driving the 2012 Ford Transit Connect is much like driving a small minivan or compact crossover utility vehicle, except it's a much taller experience. While you'll have to watch that...you don't bump the tall roof going under garage openings, the Transit Connect van isn't much wider than a Ford Focus so, once in, getting around the parking structure or loading dock is a breeze. With a turning radius just under 39 feet, the 2012 Ford Transit Connect is far easier to turn around than a full-size van, and it easily fits into car-sized parking spaces, too. If there is one weak spot for the 2012 Transit Connect it can be found under the hood. The 2.0-liter gas engine is strong enough to get you where you're going but, when loaded down, the engine strains to reach higher speeds in a timely manner. The Europeans get a lovely little diesel engine in their version but, for now, Ford says there are no plans to bring the diesel engine stateside.
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.
Mobility Motoring Package
Includes a heavy-duty battery and wiring harness for chair uplift device.
The 2012 Ford Transit Connect's interior is highly functional, but not terrible attractive. Hard gray plastics and dated gauges speak to a previous generation of Fords long since retired in this country. But, from a utility standpoint, the Transit Connect's interior is a thing of beauty, offering so many variations it's mind boggling. The cargo bay can be used to carry passengers, or emptied to create a large level loading area with over 135 cubic feet of space and nearly five feet of vertical room. Ford's army of aftermarket suppliers can custom-tailor the 2012 Transit Connect with multi-tiered shelving, lockable storage drawers and small work tables. A Taxi prep package outfits the Transit Connect with a heavy-duty vinyl seat and rear-seat heater.Exterior
If there is one car you won't have a problem finding in a crowded parking lot, it's the 2012 Ford Transit Connect van. The tall roofline speaks to the Transit Connect's mission in life, but its sharply-raked windshield and hood tell a tale of attempted aerodynamics and a car-like driving experience. The driver's seat allows a good view forward, but the solid sheetmetal walls limit side and rearward vision, prompting use of the big side mirrors and available Rear Sensing system. With large sliding side doors and available split-hinged rear doors that swing around to rest flush against the van's sides, there isn't much that can't be placed inside the Transit Connect. Small-business owners will appreciate Ford's 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 2012 Ford Transit Connect van comes standard with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, 4-speed automatic transmission, AdvanceTrac electronic stability control system with Roll Stability Control (which includes the functions of traction control and anti-lock brakes), 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 and the Power Equipment Group, which includes remote keyless entry and power windows, door locks and side mirrors.
Some notable options on the 2012 Ford Transit Connect include the Nokia Bluetooth system, 255-degree-opening rear doors, reverse-sensing system and Crew Chief (which allows fleet managers to track their fleet vehicles and staff).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 2012 Ford Transit Connect van is powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Duratec engine that gives it a fair balance of fuel economy and power. Although a 4-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.
136 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
128 lb-ft of torque @ 4,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/27 (passenger wagon) 21/27 (cargo van)
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."
4 people out of 12 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."
4 people out of 5 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?"
4 people out of 6 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..."
7 people out of 12 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?"
1 person out of 1 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."
9 people out of 10 found this review helpful