By KBB.com Editors
The 2013 Ford Transit Connect is, along with the newish Fiesta and all-new Focus, the embodiment of the company's "One Ford" product philosophy. Designed and developed for European markets, the Transit Connect combines an upright, 2-box profile and expansive interior volume with a front-wheel-drive platform almost agricultural in its execution. The end result is an affordable and economical van/wagon with equal appeal to both commercial carriers and activity-oriented families. The 2013 Transit Connect may be the most singular lifestyle introduction since Toyota's launch of its Scion xB, and the most functional since VW's original Microbus.
If you're a small business, there are few vehicles more appropriate than the Ford Transit Connect. Easy to operate and economical, the Transit Connect has been a runaway success for commercial operators. And if you simply want to run away, the small van (or its wagon variant) will carry far more of your gear than you might imagine.
If your appetite for carrying or towing is massive, Ford's Transit Connect will come up short. And if you enjoy some level of refinement in your van or wagon, traditional minivans – even those now a decade old – can provide it in ways the Transit Connect never will.
The mobility package, making access easier for those with physical handicaps, has been updated by Ford's aftermarket partner, MobilityWorks. FYI: An all-new 2014 Transit Connect has been revealed, and while its launch date for the U.S. has not been formally announced it should arrive stateside in the second half of 2013.
Driving Impressions With its tall roof and relatively narrow track, Ford's Transit Connect is far removed from its long-time predecessor in the cab industry, the Crown Victoria. But with a turning radius...of just under 39 feet, and an overall width close to that of Ford's subcompact Focus, the Transit Connect proves appropriately nimble for short hauls, and generous in its interior volume for the long haul. Fill it with cargo, however, and the lack of a more contemporary engine/transmission combination becomes readily apparent. The Transit Connect's 136 horsepower is wheezy at speed, while the 128 lb-ft of torque (multiplied by a 4-speed automatic) comes up short when asked to propel almost 5,000 pounds of van and cargo.
Although not offering stand-up headroom, the Transit Connect's upright and open architecture provides a convenient work station for the tradesman. And if your activity is recreational, the Transit Connect's small-box profile works beautifully as a fully functional base camp.
255-DEGREE SWING-OPEN REAR DOORS
At work or play, rear doors that fold completely out of the way make for much easier loading of cargo. Add to that the Transit Connect's low liftover height and cargo has rarely been more accessible.
Within almost 130 cubic feet of cargo volume the Transit Connect provides most of the room an active imagination might require. If your tasks are primarily commercial, Ford partners with any number of aftermarket suppliers able to tailor a cargo configuration to your particular needs. And if you're hauling perishable goods – like children – the Transit Connect's passenger wagon can accommodate up to five. The interior accommodations aren't (by any stretch) upscale, but they're fully functional and easily washable.
Owners of Scion's first-gen xB, upon seeing the Transit Connect for the first time, invariably suffer from box envy – there is nothing else like it offered in today's showroom.. If the upright profile speaks to its commercial mission, a raked windshield and aero-massaged hood provide at least a passing nod to efficiency.
The passenger-centric wagon comes with glass side windows, while the commercial Connect features solid sheet metal. That sheet metal is effective at concealing cargo (and serves as a great background for commercial graphics), but severely restricts visibility. Thankfully, Ford offers an available rear view camera and reverse sensing system.
Ford's 2013 Transit Connect scores high on functionality and low on decor. The commercial van is available in two trim levels, XL and XLT (which adds power windows, locks and cruise control), while the passenger wagon offers XLT and "upmarket" XLT Premium versions. Under all Transit Connect hoods is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder connected to a 4-speed automatic transmission. Safety is enhanced with electronic stability and roll control. Audio on the XLT is supplied by a standard AM/FM radio, single CD player and four speakers. Opt for the XLT Premium (passenger wagon only) and enjoy side/rear privacy glass, along with a small sampling of comfort and convenience items.
If you're biased toward its commercial application, the Ford Transit Connect's option sheet can fill a book. Cargo-carrying can be customized, and the load can be optimized with roof cargo baskets and Thule cross bars. And since this is a Ford, electronic options include a rear view camera, reverse sensing system and voice-activated SYNC. If your passengers include the physically handicapped, a mobility package includes pre-wiring for mobility devices. And if you look to optimize efficiency, a CNG/LPG-capable engine prep package allows for easy conversion to natural gas or liquid propane.
In a Ford showroom chock full of EcoBoost, the Transit Connect's 2.0-liter four is neither "eco" nor "boosted." In its normally aspirated guise it produces but 136 horsepower (at a high 6,300 rpm) and 128 lb-ft of torque, at a marginally better 4,750 rpm. And although its efficiency will run circles around the EPA estimates of its full-size brethren, its EPA estimated 22 city/27 highway (passenger) will seem thirsty if you're comparing the 2013 Transit Connect with a Ford Fusion or Escape. With that, the Transit is relatively responsive in the day-in/day-out shuttle, but lacking power if loaded or subjected to driving at higher altitudes.
136 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
128 lb-ft of torque @ 4,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/27 mpg (passenger wagon) 21/27 mpg (cargo van)
The 2013 Ford Transit Connect enjoys an affordable Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $23,000 (XL Cargo), while its passenger variant (XLT Wagon) begins at just over $24,000. Of course, with personalization and customization come extra costs – expect a fully equipped XLT Premium wagon to approach $27,000 once you've added SYNC, a rearview camera, rear park assist and the available Crew Chief (telematics) options. To get the best price on your Transit Connect, be sure and reference our Fair Purchase Price. FPP will indicate what others are paying in your area. Given the Transit Connect's recent appearance in the market resale remains but an estimate, but we'd expect it to hold its value fairly well, but below the Scion xB or Nissan Cube.
By John (RI) on Sunday, October 14, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Cheap Original Cost"
Cons: "Too small and weak to perform"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Currently a Service Manager for a Food and Beverage service company. We replaced three of our trucks in November of 2011, from E250 and Sprinters. The thought was better fuel rates and cheaper investment. However the Transit is extremely uncomfortable if you are taller then 5'7", no leg room at all. We have racked the trucks however we have found that there is not enough room for what we do. A large hill is the trucks enemy, no power to get out of its own way. The three trucks fuel consumption is about 20mpg average when stock with equipment. Tank is so small that techs are having refuel twice a day, decreasing billable time. At this point we have sold one, the other two are being sold. We will never purchase these again."
17 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By Crestwood Mechanical (MA) on Friday, August 31, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "See above"
Cons: "See above"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Nice little van, No balls what soever!! I added helper springs to take out some sag. Over all I get 22 MPG This van will pay for itself in 18 months or less with gas savings. Its terribly overloaded but the reality is it didn't have great power with nothing in it!! I can still hit 80 or better on the highway, it just takes 15 miles to get there!. Overall a great truck and will upgrading my fleet one at a time with theses bad boys."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Eddie (GA) on Friday, August 24, 2012
I own this caroverall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great design just like European model"
Cons: "needs diesel engine squeaky breaks,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"Its not that great on gas milege (for a small car) especial in city. Breaks start squeaking after 2000 miles and they still do.after 13.000 miles. The bed material in cargo area is really soft and poor quality and needs some heavy degreaser to wash it . Its very convenient easy to load unload. If this Transit had a diesel and work some little things I would keep it for a long time. I use it for business every day."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By noah (MI) on Tuesday, August 21, 2012
I don't own this caroverall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "good for a small business that doesn't overload it"
Cons: "we all agree it could use a diesel//wake up ford!!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"my boss traded in an old 350 van for this transit. we used this van daily for city and highway driving. can't say enough as to how much each driver that used this van enjoys it. we all agree that with the opines about blind spots with first transit:second one has windows all around."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Dan C (TX) on Monday, February 20, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price and economical operation"
Cons: "none if used for its purpose - a commercial van"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This van is used in connection with my radio engineering service. It is equipped with custom shelving and compartments for the many electronic gizmos that I must carry. The van serves as transportation, storage and my mobile office. Summertime MPG is approx. 20 and winter is 24. Never have had any problem; always can depend on the little van."
9 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By catm (International) on Saturday, February 18, 2012
I don't own this caroverall rating 1 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"They only put Ford name to an european poor vehicle, only two months on the street, most time on the dealer, please if you are looking a car for work, this is not an option."
4 people out of 21 found this review helpful