Say you're a business that needs an enclosed vehicle to haul stuff, but you don't need anything too big like a Dodge Sprinter; you need something larger than a Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, etc.; and want something more utilitarian than a Nissan Cube or Scion xB. You want something that gets decent mileage, is versatile, easy to park, and has a warranty. Ford may just have the perfect vehicle: The 2010 Ford Transit Connect.
On sale in Europe since 2003, the Transit Connect is a new-to-the-U.S. vehicle aimed at commercial applications. It's about six inches longer than a Ford Focus, but quite a bit taller to accommodate cargo.
Speaking of cargo, it has a payload rating of 1,600 lbs.—close to that of a Dodge Ram 1500—and can swallow 135 cubic feet of stuff through its split rear doors, and sliding side doors. In addition, the interior can be configured in a variety of ways (seats, no seats, etc.) to suit a particular application.
Under the hood lies the 2.0-liter Duratech four cylinder churning out 136 hp and 128 ft./lbs. of torque. This mill allows the Transit Connect to get a fuel economy rating of 22/25. This power is sent through a four-speed automatic with a final drive ratio of 4.20:1.
I rode in the vehicle, and it seemed to handle quite well, especially for being tall. The interior is very utilitarian, including an un-upholstered rear area. Amenities on the test vehicle included a touch-screen GPS, air conditioning, power windows/locks, and a great cargo area above the driver's/passenter's area.
Since 2003, the Transit Connect has sold more than 600,000 units in 58 countries on three continents, and I think it's a great addition to the U.S. market. It should provide some smaller-scale competition to the Dodge Sprinter, and go toe-to-toe with the Chevrolet HHR Panel. It might just the right size for many applications.
Ford Transit Connect (FordVehicles.com)