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)
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."
12 people out of 24 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."
5 people out of 6 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?"
6 people out of 8 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..."
8 people out of 15 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?"
3 people out of 3 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."
10 people out of 11 found this review helpful