For the 2014 model year, Ford will offer a diverse selection of Transit Connect models in the passenger and, likely, the commercial side as well. Joining the current mix of small-business problem-solver vehicles, the Transit Connect will also offer two different passenger wagons with enough seating to hold seven adults in the long-wheelbase form, as well as a five-passenger model on a new shorter-wheelbase platform.
The two wheelbase lengths (right now there is only one) will continue to be offered with dual-sided sliding access doors, but they will now include two or three rows of fold-flat seating. In long-wheelbase configuration, the usable interior cargo space behind the front seats is almost as much as a full-size SUV, at 100 cubic feet.
The 2014 Transit Connect will be offered with a choice of two new engines that are more powerful and efficient. The first is a larger naturally aspirated 2.5-liter I-4; the other will be the premium and more powerful 1.6-liter EcoBoost I-4. Both are the same new engines we've seen in the new Ford Fusion and Escape.
No power ratings or fuel-economy numbers have been released for either engine (they're likely to be similar to the existing 178 and 184 horsepower ratings now), but Ford is telling us this will be the first seven-passenger vehicle that will achieve at least a 30-mpg highway rating. All Transit Connects will get a new six-speed transmission that will help give the vehicle a pretty big jump over other people-haulers in the segment.
We assume these new engines or interior configurations, in some manner, will make it to the commercial side of the Transit Connect lineup, and the fact that these 2014 models are now offered with a dedicated tow package and trailer-sway control helps the cause. Although the towing capacity is only 2,000 pounds and maximum payload is around 1,500 pounds, we like that the little transporter is getting stronger and more capable of doing more work.
Pricing for the new passenger models (short and long wheelbase) or a listing of options for the new commercial packages has not been released, but we do know the XL, XLT and Titanium trim packages will continue. Likewise, as we've noted in previous stories, we will continue to highlight any vehicles that are pickup trucks, as well as vehicles that can work like pickup trucks.
For the full press release, click here.
For the full spec sheet, click here.