In the United States it is hard to find an affordable (inexpensive) 7 passenger vehicle that is great on gas. The Mazda 5 leaps to mind, but that vehicle is only a 6 passenger. Minivans can do 7 or even 8, but they are large, not inexpensive and the fuel efficiency is only decent. Nothing to brag about. Ford is introducing its proven Transit Connect into the US market as a 7 passenger people mover. This new vehicle might prove very popular to American families.
The 7 passenger connect can achieve up to 30 mpg highway. That is better than most 5 passenger cute-utes, and competitive with 5 passenger economy sedans. The vehicle might also be a favorite of dads who like to go to the home improvement store on weekends. The Transit Connect is already a hugely popular work vehicle for tradespeople. The second and third row of seats fold flat and the vehicle can hold up to 1200 pounds of cargo. Parents who are handling soccer teams and school car-pool duty will love the sliding side doors. Those doors at one time characterized the dreaded mini-van, but they work – well. Expect a comeback. Mark Fields, Ford’s President of The Americas commented in a press statement saying “Transit Connect Wagon gives young families and people on the go the fun-to-drive and efficient vehicle they’ve been looking for. It’s an all-new, smaller seven-seater that has better mileage than larger vans and creates a segment of its own. Customers also will love the unique combination of style, adaptability and affordability this wagon brings.”
There is no word yet on pricing, but this vehicle was designed with low cost in mind from the very outset. Its huge global production and modular design are sure to keep costs under control. The Ford press release did not mention where and how the Transit Connect is created. Ford has for many years done a fancy dance with the Transit Connect. Some might remember that years ago the US invented the “Chicken tax” to keep automakers from introducing pickup trucks into the protected US market for Ford, Chevy, and what used to be Dodge. A huge tariff was placed on pickup trucks, and things closely resembling them that were meant to be used in our domestic market. To avoid this, Ford makes the Transit Connect in Kocaeli Turkey, but did a crazy import transition to strip out the interiors and convert them to pure commercial vehicles before placing them on the market. Fords technical specifications still lists Turkey as the manufacturing point but makes no mention of how it is finally outfitted.
The Transit Connect, made in Turkey which is known for beautiful women, and beautiful resorts on the Aegean, is not a looker. This may not be a problem. The front end has been given the Escape treatment and the colors shown in press materials are novel. Handsome might be the word that comes to mind. Looks aside the vehicle will come with a host of very useful, and unworkmanlike features. A panoramic sunroof will be available, and the Transit Connect (Can we just call it the TC?) will introduce pelvis airbags and a child observation mirror to help parents feel better about the vehicle. Ford plans upscale options like My Ford Touch and leather for those that want to transform the TCW into a vehicle that is more mainstream, and less economy.
Credit Ford with bringing a huge variety of new family vehicles to the US. The Transit Connect Wagon will offer families with 5 children, or those than need a car-pool hauler an affordable, inviting choice.