The Ford Transit Connect has changed the world of vans forever when it was launched in 2002. It was a bigger alternative for the mini vans and has also managed to steal some buyers form the bigger models from the market.
The Transit Connect was engineered using Ford’s experience in the commercial vehicle segment and it has anything it needs to be considered one of the most capable models in its class. The vehicle is available in two height configurations and you can choose from two diesel engines - 75 hp or 90 hp.
Over the years, the Transit Connect has benefitted from a series of facelifts, but the latest significant upgrade was made in 2002, so the LCV is starting to show its age.
In the latest years the LCV segment has started to be populated with pretty interesting designs, but the Ford Transit Connect keeps the old common van design with a boxy shape and a dull style.
The vehicle however has sacrificed style over functionality and its wide and high load area can soak in 625 kg or 825 kg with a volume of 2.8 cubic meters for the low roof model and 825kg and 900kg with a load volume of 3.67 cubic meters for the high roof version.
To increase the functionality the rear bumper serves as a footstep for easier access to the load area. The Transit Connect is fitted with a single side door but a second one can be ordered as an optional feature.
At the front we’ll find the common Ford badge mounted in the center of a chunky grille which is flanked by two robust headlights which look pretty similar with the bigger Transit LCV. The bumper is also pretty simple, but we like the hexagonal air vent which gives the vehicle a purposeful look.
The sides are traversed by a horizontal rubber molding to offer extra protection while at the back there are two rectangular taillights mounted on each corner.
You can hop inside without too much drama thanks to the wide opening door and the relatively low ground clearance. Unfortunately the cabin didn’t rise to our expectations as Ford could’ve done a better job.
Today’s LCVs offer pretty nice interiors, but the Transit Connect preferred to remain to a basic and cavernous environment. We like however, that the dashboard design is pretty clean and the five circular air vents have the potential to break a little the overall monotony.
The materials are at par with what you’ll usually get in this segment which means they are more on the hard side of things. The fittings however are nicely done and the cockpit doesn’t look like it will start to rattle only after a few miles.
Unfortunately we were expected to find more storage places around the cab, but the Transit Connect is stuffed with a total of three cup holders, a glove box and two narrow door pockets.
The driver and passenger are treated with thin seats which come with inadequate cushioning. There isn’t offered a driver armrest but there are a few basic adjustments which will offer a common sense comfort in an otherwise pretty utilitarian cabin.
You also seat surprisingly low to the ground, but fortunately the road visibility isn’t affected. The center console is laid out in an intuitive manner and all controls are within easy reach. Though we would’ve like to see the power windows controls mounted on the doors and not in the center stack.
The load area offers six load lashing points in the floor and the eyes can be removed and placed in any of 10 different holes around the sides of the van. For extra security, the roof is also fitted with six strong hooks.
Engines and transmissions
The Ford Transit Connect comes with either 75 hp or a 90 hp engines. Both diesels are a half step behind most of their rivals which offer maximum outputs of up to 110 hp.
Despite their lack of power, both engines have good performances around the city. Naturally, the 75 hp model is a bit sluggish compared with its more powerful sibling. The 90 hp model isn’t as lively as expected but it’s still able to get the job done without any problems.
There is also a 1.8 liter petrol engine available, which churns out 115 hp and is also offered in LPG guise. Regardless of what engine option you’ll choose all units are anything but smooth, as their raspy voice will rise in volume with each shift of the five speed transmission.
Ride and handling
The Ford Transit Connect is fairly easy to drive around town thanks to its compact dimensions. The steering is also pretty light and responsive being better than what you usually find in this segment.
The ride is more on the bumpy side, but it will start to get better if you’ll put some load at the back. The overall handling is pretty good and despite the relatively big body roll the vehicle has good overall road manners.
The stopping power is fairly good, as the Transit Connect is equipped with all-around brakes combined with ABS.
Despite its age, the Ford Transit Connect continues to be a strong player in the van segment. The vehicle has a good build quality and has already proven its reliability over the years. The interior is fairly spacious but the materials and overall refinement could’ve been better.
The engines aren’t something to rave about either, but in the end they’ll be able to get the job done. The good part however is that they are highly efficient.
The ride and handling are at par with the other vehicles in this class and the steering is also fairly good offering proper road feedback and a sharp response.