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Ford’s Transit Connect XLT Premium Wagon: An Answer To A Question No One Is Asking?

Posted in Ford, General, LA Auto Show, New Cars, Vans by Kurt Ernst | November 20th, 2010 | 7 Responses |
2011 Ford Transit Connect XLT Premium

2011 Ford Transit Connect XLT Premium Wagon. Photo: Ford Motor Company

Ford’s Transit Connect makes a lot of sense for tradesmen and small businesses. It’s got enough room to haul your stuff around, and its 2.0 liter inline four sips gas. The Transit Connect is stylish enough for a boxy, compact van, and it did pick up the 2010 North American Truck of the Year award. It’s the van you buy when you don’t need something as roomy (or expensive) as a Dodge Sprinter, or a full size Ford E Series.

Photo: Ford Motor Company

Ford’s offered the Transit Connect in XLT Wagon trim since launch, which gives you a second row of seats if you need to haul passengers as well as cargo. It even gives you two more windows for passengers to ponder their surroundings, but the cargo area remains dark. Like full sized vans, the interior amenities were best described as “spartan”. If you like the look of painted sheetmetal and spars, then you’ll love the look of the Transit Connect XLT, which has no sound deadening or interior panels.

Enter the Transit Connect XLT Premium, which features a finished interior, more comfortable seating and widows in the cargo area so rear seat occupants feel more like passengers and less like hostages. The rear windows even swing open for ventilation, which helps to aid passenger escape comfort. The driver gets integrated blind spot mirrors and a rearview camera, which makes backing the Transit Connect an easier task.

Photo: Ford Motor Company

Ford’s chief nameplate engineer for commercial vehicles, Rob Stevens, insists they built the Transit Connect XLT Premium Wagon based on customer demand. Stevens says, “Since Transit Connect arrived here as the ‘ultimate tool’ for small business proprietors, we’ve heard requests from potential personal-use customers. Buyers looking for a taller wagon with seating for five passengers and generous cargo space have shown significant interest in Transit Connect.”

Maybe I’m missing something, but Ford’s already got a five seat crossover (the Edge) and a seven seat crossover (the Flex) in their product line. Both are specifically designed to haul people in comfort, where the Transit Connect is designed to haul up to 1,600 pounds of cargo, with passenger comfort and amenities being an afterthought. I’d have no issue in driving an Edge or Flex cross-country, but would have second thoughts about driving a Transit Connect cross-state.

Here’s what it really comes down to: the Transit Connect XLT Premium Wagon starts at $23,200, while the Edge starts at $27,220 and the Flex at $29,075. Are there enough buyers of modest means (and modest expectations) looking for a boxy-but-good five passenger van? Can a commercial vehicle be dressed up enough to function as a semi-comfortable passenger car? Ford’s guessing that the answer to both questions is “yes”, but I’m not sure I’m convinced.

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7 Responses

  1. jim says:

    YES!!!!!!!! I am one of the few who have been asking for
    something like this. Small, stylish, inexpensive when compared to the
    others. Also, with the added possible benefit of electric/hybrid that Ford has been rumored to offer on the transit connect in 2011, will give people (like me) an alternative to the sedans!!! Way to go Ford:-)

  2. ned cifric says:

    I will be buying around 52 of those soon. The price is right and the car is awesome.

  3. Kurt Ernst says:

    Ned, just curious – what’s your business? Are you a taxi or car service, or are you buying them for a corporate fleet?

  4. […] we’ve heard requests from potential personal-use customers. Buyers looking for a taller wagon with seating for five passengers and generous cargo space have shown significant interest in […]

  5. Buying one says:

    this is a perfect van for many people. I think you may be out of touch with american vehicle needs. Once these catch on maybe you will be asking, how do I get in touch with real americans?.

  6. Kurt Ernst says:

    Buying one, if they catch on I’ll be more than willing to eat crow. I’ve lived in the American west, the midwest, the northeast and the south, and the only constant rule for Americans and car buying is this: we like trucks and SUVs.

    What Americans need (basic transportation) and what they want (luxury cars, SUVs and $50,000 pickup trucks) are two different things, and it’s going to be interesting to see what happens when manufacturers try to force smaller, more fuel efficient (or hybrid) vehicles on a reluctant public. My guess is you’ll see a lot of people holding on to what they already have, instead of replacing cars every few years.

    Feel free to give me an update once you buy your Transit Connect XLT. I’d love to hear if it meets or exceeds your expectations.

  7. Transit Short Bus Owner says:

    I just purchased a TC like the one in the picture except it’s silver. I love it and get hounded everywhere I go with What is that? That’s so cool, and Where can I get one. The only thing I hate are the ugly as sin hubcaps. Where can I find and what make and model are the wheels in the pics?