Ford introduced the compact 2014 Transit Connect Van together with the big Transit. A refresh was expected since the original Transit Connect was launched in the U.S. three years ago and since 2002, the model had been sold in Europe. Ford revealed that it will be available in two wheelbases, measuring 104 inches and 121 inches, leading to cargo capacities of 105 or 130 cubic feet, respectively.
It is built on Ford’s C1 platform, which includes parts used on cars such as the Escape, C-Max, and Focus. Many tie-downs and cargo hooks are used on the rubberized cargo floor. Ford offers the option of a divider between the two front seats and the cargo area. This feature is expected to be very popular. What’s different from the last Transit Connect is that buyers can opt for either a traditional center-opening rear doors or a crossover-style liftgate. Its dashboard and door plastics are tougher compared to those found in regular Ford passenger cars.
These are more durable and can withstand years of delivery usage but they have a cheap look. It offers more storage with its “aircraft-style” overhead bins. Ford offers the 2.5-liter inline-four as the base engine. Stepping up, it offers the 1.6-liter EcoBoost inline-four, which can return better than 30 mpg on the highway. These two engines are partnered to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Ford said that the Transit Connects with the 2.5-liter engine is capable of towing 2000 pounds while those with the EcoBoost can tow only 1900 pounds. This is a huge improvement though since the old TC wasn’t even rated for towing. Costs are kept low due to some innovations that make it easy to fix minor collisions. For example, the headlights have been mounted high so there’s less chance that it will get a crack.
The hood shutline was also shifted higher to avoid crunching the panel during an accident. It would be very costly to replace this panel. The taillights are divided in two sections and the bumpers are all built from small units that could also be replaced easily and inexpensively in case the Transit Connect gets a small scrape.
The new Ford Transit Connect provides top-class load-carrying ability suitable to ease the work of electricians, plumbers and all other trades. It enables businesses to easily load, transport and unload bulky items with the load-through hatch in its bulkhead and its foldable front passenger seats, wide openings and sliding door. It highlights as well a profile above its all steel bulkhead that can accommodate sheets of 8 ft x 4 ft.
According to Stephen Lesh the Chief Program Engineer in Ford Europe for the Transit Connect, they purposely watched tradespeople in the process of loading as well as unloading from their vehicles just so they get the precise design for this all-new model. He added that the van is designed to endure anything as it may haul any type of tools or materials and transport them as well as the work crew with comfort and safety.
The Ford engineering team developed innovative load-through systems in order to ensure that the Transit Connect can safely transport items such as 3.0 meters to 3.4 meters of pipes or rolls of flooring. This implicated the improvement to its access panels hinged in the vehicle’s bulkhead and the one of a kind “fold and dive” mechanism developed for outer passenger seats which create a dished profile to the passenger seat surface. The instrument panels were also elongated so the items could just slide underneath.