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 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