7.15.2009

Ford Transit Connect Review


Is this the future of small business vehicles in America?

It is if enough florists, caterers, handymen, plumbers and electricians decide they don't really need full-size pickups and vans.

The Ford Transit Connect has sold 600,000 copies in 58 countries since 2003. Now, Ford brings it to the USA.

Selling points?

A low base price...starting at $20,780.

Fuel economy....EPA estimates are 22 city/25 highway.

Innovative technology....more on which later.



The interior is more Focus than F-150...but it's roomy and especially well put together.

In work vehicles, it's what's in back that counts...and thanks to a low load floor and tall roofline, the Transit Connect has a surprising amount of room for tools of whatever trade you're in.



The innovative tech? In-dash computing which allows internet access, scheduling, invoicing and more....right from the driver's seat with a wireless keyboard. It's a $1,395 option.

Add another $1,220 and you get Tool Link. Put radio frequency tracking tags on your tools and Tool Link keeps track of them. Leave the office or a work site without your full complement of stuff...and you get an alert on the in-dash display before you can drive away...saving the cost of return trips for forgotten items or replacements for things lost.



Ford is even offering a wagon version that seats five (base price $21,135) to sell to consumers who like the cargo space. There's also a strong possibility that these will become the next-gen taxicab as the Crown Victoria ends production.



Ford hosted a Transit Connect event for journalists, dealers and small business owners on Monday (7/13) at Firebird Raceway in Phoenix. And that's where we learned the other selling point: Maneuverability. The Transit Connect handled the slalom course like no E-Series van ever could (except, perhaps with Firebird's next-door neighbor Bob Bondurant at the wheel).

As we took the course, we noticed that one of the group had actually knocked over one...but only one...of the cones. Arizona Driver photographer Randall Bohl actually caught the culprit in the act:



But tinted glass and the driver's side A-pillar conceals the identity of the culprit. That is, until Arizona Driver publisher Joe Sage spent a little time with Photoshop:



The object in mid-air would be ABC15's $4,000 video camera.

Thanks, Joe.

Here's the story as I did it for ABC15:

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