DETROIT — Trying to have a van for every need, Ford has significantly updated its Transit Connect cargo van.
To be clear, the Transit Connect comes in two configurations. One is for cargo and the other can carry passengers. I had the model that was specifically for cargo.
There is a bigger Ford Transit and it, too, comes in either passenger or cargo configuration.
The pitch to customers is that the Transit Connect can lower cost for personal and small business customers. And as not to get it twisted, this was not a minivan, there were no side windows, just panels.
There are three trim levels of the Transit Connect: XL, XLT and Titanium. I had the XLT. It came with a 2.0-liter direct injected four cylinder engine that was mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The combination made 140 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque and got 24 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg combined.
There is also a 2.5-liter gasoline engine with a six-speed automatic transmission. This engine comes with a CNG/LPG gaseous fuel prep package. A 1.5-liter turbo diesel that Ford has branded EcoBlue will be available this spring. It, too, has an eight-speed transmission.
There are two wheelbase choices that allow the passenger carrying Ford Transit Connect to accommodate five or seven passengers. As Ford said in its press material, “there’s a Transit Connect for everyone.”
The one I had was pretty good. It had all the creature comforts you’d expect in a typical car or crossover. There was pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, side wind stabilization and a rearview camera.
I’m not sure the side wind stabilization system is effective. One morning I had to fight the wheel a little because of the wind. The Ford Transit Connect van is compact but still rather tall and can easily be caught by the wind which is what happened. However, I have no way of knowing how the stabilization system works because I never experienced the vehicle in high winds without it.
Anyway, the test vehicle had voice controls, satellite radio, two USB jacks, a 12V socket and its own Wi-Fi hotspot. It also had a start-stop system that was pretty smooth. The automatic transmission could be manually shifted.
The seats were comfortable, they were manually adjustable; so was the tilt/telescoping steering wheel. There was a shelf just above the sun visor. The 2019 Ford Transit Connect was a really comfortable cargo van.
From there, it was all transport van. In the rear, it had 104.8 cubic feet of uninterrupted cargo space. Fold the front passenger seat and that expanded to 123.2 cubic feet. It could carry up to 1,570 lbs. and tow up 2,000 lbs. Lest I forget it was front wheel drive.
There were six tie-downs on the textured floor. There were also accessories for the roof. An LED lit up the cargo compartment. There were double rear doors that opened 180 degrees. And both sides of the Ford Transit Connect had sliding doors. This vehicle was really meant to carry stuff.
There were no side windows, which meant driving carefully and being acutely aware of what was around. For $31,755, the 2019 Ford Transit Connect cargo van would be a good investment for any small-business owner.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com.