First Impressions: 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon
Most folks likely think of the Ford Transit line as a commercial vehicle. In truth, Ford designed them to the same toughness and reliability standards as their commercial vans; however, as soon as we saw the first one on the road, vinyl wrapped with a local HVAC company logo, we began to speculate on their usefulness as a family vehicle.
We recently had the chance to drive a long wheelbase (LWB) version of the 2014 Transit Connect Wagon–think wagon for moving people and a van for moving stuff–with a 7 passenger seating configuration. Having a great deal of experience with minivans of old, and Ford’s full-size E-Series, we were pleasantly surprised with our experience.
The overall design of the Transit Connect will likely always look like a delivery vehicle though extra greenhouse for passengers in the Wagon (and no vinyl wrap or logos) helps a bit. A wedge-shaped front end widens to what is essentially a box. A large, roomy box with a backend reminiscent of the Ford Flex.
In building what they refer to as The Unminivan, Ford worked to ensure the Transit Connect carried its weight low. Doing so keeps the center of gravity down near the wheels and eliminates any top heavy, wallowing feel some vans have. On our test day Fors supplied a cone course with a straightaway, slalom, simulated emergency lane changes, and a loop that didn’t simulate anything but driving around in as tight a circle as possible. The Transit Connect was truly impressive. We tried to make the Wagon lean and get top heavy, but it stubbornly refused. The turning radius, another feature Ford worked hard to improve, was as tight as some midsize sedans and tighter than others. We never felt out of control, and the Wagon was never ungainly.
The Transit Connect Wagon LWB features a 3 passenger 60/40 second row seat, and two individual seats as the third row. Both rows slide fore and aft and fold flat creating what Ford calls “infinite adaptability.” Fold the second and third row seats flat for an impressive 104.2 cubic feet of cargo volume. Folding just the third row makes 58.9.
Seating throughout the Transit Wagon is comfortable. The driver and front passenger have plenty of room. In fact, the entire cabin conveys a feeling of roominess without making the vehicle feel large. The second row was ample for three adults; however, three may be one too many for a road trip.
Our Titanium trim level tester was equipped with a 6.5 inch touchscreen display to control the available SYNC and MyFord Touch system. Controls are easy to use and the system is intuitive. We were able to tune in satellite radio and explore our route via the navigation system over the shirt road course we drove.
The ride in the Transit Wagon was car-like. It handled like a car, and drove like a car. A car-size steering wheel contributed to the experience as did a low seating position.
The standard 2.5-liter Duratec 4 cylinder engine is mated to Ford’s 6-speed SelectShift Automatic transmission and produces 169 horsepower and 171 lb-ft of torque. Power was adequate. We weren’t going to blow anyone’s doors off, but we never wanted for power, whether entering a freeway or pulling into traffic.