Previewed here earlier in Euro form, the 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon is slated to make its formal debut at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show in January. Passenger-focused conceptual successor to the existing Transit Connect, it's based on an all-new platform that Ford promises will expand the envelope of contemporary people movers with car-like dynamics, extreme packaging flexibility -- including seating for either five or seven passengers -- a minimum 1,200-pound payload and over 100 cu ft of cargo space, all while delivering an expected 30+ mpg EPA highway figure.

Smaller than the 2014 Ford Transit that will be the de facto replacement for the existing E-Series van, the new Transit Connect Wagon will offer the choice of regular and long wheelbase configurations and two familiar, well-proven 4-cylinder engines, both backed by an efficient 6-speed automatic transmission. Standard motivator is Ford's naturally aspirated 2.5-liter while the optional alternative, a turbocharged 1.6-liter EcoBoost, is the designated mileage maker and is projected to arrive on the scene boasting class-leading mpg figures for a 7-passenger vehicle.

Three trim levels -- XL, XLT and Titanium -- allow buyers to custom tailor this new high-efficiency hauler to their own specific tastes. Upholstery choices in the Transit Connect Wagon's well-appointed cabin include vinyl, cloth and leather while its second-row 60/40 bench and third-row 50/50 perch have been designed to fold completely flat to maximize usable stow space. Regardless of passenger configuration, all versions of the new Transit Connect Wagon are fitted with standard front/pelvis/side and full-length side-curtain airbags in addition to their other active safety features. Highlighting its premium options roster are a full-glass panoramic roof, rear view camera, 6.5-inch touch screen display with navigation, and SYNC with MyFord Touch. Properly equipped, the new Transit Connect Wagon also will be able to tow up to 2,000 pounds.

The 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon is set to arrive in showrooms here during the fourth quarter of 2013. Pricing will be announced closer to its on-sale date, but Ford is one record as stating this "modern, family-friendly alternative to oversized minivans" will be "a high-value package with low operating costs."

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