Ford Transit Connect Family One Concept revealed ahead of New York Auto Show

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 26, 2010

One week prior to its unveiling at the New York Auto Show, Ford is taking the wraps off around its Transit Connect Family One Concept. The vehicle, which is smaller than a classic minivan and therefore less expensive and more efficient, brings with it more space than standard hatch or wagon. The pricing for the vehicle, which begins at $21,475, is targeted at commercial applications and will hit US markets early in 2010.

This will make the up-featured Family One still priced way below $30,000. The Family One, which is a five-seater and equipped with 135 cu-ft of cargo space, comes with a fuel consumption rating of 22mpg city and 25mpg highway driving. The design of the vehicle is focused on both kids and parents and will be both engaging and entertaining no matter whether it is parked or mobile.

The Family One transforms from a functional family transport in transit and into a base camp when parked. The second-row seating which comes with plenty of space with easy access both in and out plus a spacious cargo area behind makes for a roomy play area when the car is parked. The door panels at the rear doubles for a blackboard where kids can write or draw using wipeable water-based pens.

There is also a projection screen which can provide digital video entertainment. The vehicle is also equipped with sanitizer and sunscreen dispensers, a set of rechargeable walkie-talkies and a couple of scooters which are mounted on the door.

The car comes with an RFID tracking system which keep track not only of important items like sporting goods or equipment that can be easily left behind, but most of all even of children.

The dashboard integrated computer system also alerts the driver if a child's seat is not properly fitted. There is still no intention of building the concept at this time, but chances are clear with stringent new CAF requirements on its way for model year 2011.

Press Release

Ford Transit Connect Family One Concept: Smart, Green, Fun for Children, Parents Alike

Ford is listening to the unique wants and needs of families and responds with the Transit Connect Family One concept - a space that's all about helping parents and engaging children.

"Transit Connect is a versatile vehicle that can be adapted to a wide variety of applications," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas. "The Family One concept delivers fun with function. This fun, cool space is for parents and small children alike, combining fuel efficiency with advanced technologies that can help keep families connected on the go."

Designed for "the coolest mom"

The Family One concept is based on the Transit Connect, a global Ford platform adaptable to a wide variety of applications, both personal and professional. This concept vehicle represents Ford's first effort in showcasing the versatile Transit Connect for personal use.

"The customers we envisioned when developing the Family One are cosmopolitan parents in their mid-30s with highly refined design sensitivities," said Ford Designer Chiwei Lee. "They waited until they were ready for children and see parenthood as adding to their aesthetic portfolio, instead of smashing it."

Transit Connect has a utilitarian form that offers 135 cubic feet of space on a compact platform, with agile driving dynamics ideally suited to urban driving and tight spaces. The vibrant color scheme and expansive greenhouse area combine to give the Family One concept friendly visual character and a bright, airy interior space.

"For children, the conceptual intent of the vehicle is to be as engaging and entertaining when parked as it is on the go," added Lee. "The Family One easily transitions from functional family mobility to 'base camp' when the coolest mom puts the shift lever into the park position."

Playful Space

The second-row seats in the concept provide youth passengers with ample room to get comfortable, enjoy projected digital media entertainment on the bulkhead-mounted sunshade screens or look through the expansive windows. Side rear inner door panels are water-pen friendly and easily wipe clean for the next round of creative inspiration.

Clever, family-friendly features include built-in hand sanitizer and sunscreen dispensers, family walkie-talkie radios that charge when docked, an integrated first-aid kit and cargo door-mounted folding twin scooters. The storage area beneath the rear floor holds a folding stroller and an integrated awning extends from the open rear cargo doors. Seat covers are removable, washable and can be changed to redecorate and evolve with changing preferences.

Family Connectivity

The Transit Connect Family One concept vehicle uses in-dash computer technology to keep a family organized, on-schedule and properly equipped with everything from diaper bags to sporting goods, back packs and homework folders that populate the active family environment.

The Family One concept employs radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to keep track of all the items the active family needs to stay organized. When the driver enters the vehicle with children, the in-dash computer will provide notification that Timmy's hockey equipment is still in the front hall closet. Using predictive algorithms to "learn" based on past usage, the system will identify missing musical instruments or homework on the way to school and will remind parents if they haven't packed clubs for a scheduled Saturday golf outing.

The system is designed to be intuitively easy to operate, with minimal menu scrolling and programming. It also plays a role in safety - adding to peace of mind - as the system integrates with sensors to notify the driver if a child seat is improperly attached or tensioned.

The technology is designed to seamlessly integrate with the parents' digital lifestyle.

Fun and Fuel Efficient

The Family One concept is powered by a 2.0-liter I-4 engine - delivering 22 city and 25 highway miles per gallon - and features SmartGauge(TM) to help parents drive more efficiently.

Looking forward, the global Transit Connect platform has capability to host any one of several efficient engine alternatives, including EcoBoost(TM) power and battery electric propulsion.

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