Ok. So driving the Ford Transit Connect XLT Cargo Van XLT isn’t like test driving a BMW M2 or Audi A8. You might think who cares – its a cargo van. Well — the guy driving the cargo van for work, every day, all day long, might care. The guy who is likely to put over 200,000 miles on his cargo van probably cares. The small business owner who will be ponying up around $30,000 for this cargo van cares. So I tried to think like a small business owner and cargo van driver while I was tooling around town in it. And I did get a handful of comments on the van, by the way. Maybe not as many comments as I did when I was testing the 2016 Ford Mustang GT350 in Competition Orange. But that’s a really fun car to drive and it might have been the case that I spent a little more time in the Mustang then I did in the Ford Transit Connect. Maybe just a little. See my review of the Mustang GT350 for how awesome that car is.
The first thing I noticed is it has pretty big blind spots. Of course that’s because there aren’t any side windows so actually it has huge blind spots – by necessity. It has integrated spotter mirrors on the side mirrors which completely alleviates the blind spot issue and actually makes it very easy to see along the sides of the van. It also has an optional front and rear sensing system, which for an extra $495 is well worth the money. Notwithstanding you can see through the rear windows when backing, the visibility isn’t great. Often I would imagine the view out the rear will be partially or fully blocked when the van is loaded with cargo. And it just makes it easier to park and will keep your employees from hitting things. Definitely worth the $495 extra in my opinion. Combine it with the optional touchscreen/cd/Sirius/sync/backup camera package for an extra $1,360 and you really don’t feel encumbered driving it at all. If you or one of your employees is going to be driving over 200,000 miles in it its only reasonable that you don’t have to listen to regular radio. Does anyone not have Sirius XM radio in their cars these days?
The van drives like a mid-sized car and is quite nimble and maneuverable in the city, even in the long wheelbase model. The short wheelbase model is best-in-class for maneuverability. With the front and rear sensors and the back up camera it is a breeze to park. The 1.6-L Ecoboost engine (add $795) matted to a 6-speed automatic transmission appropriately powers this van. When driven without a full payload there is plenty of power, enough so that it would be unlikely to drag too much when fully loaded. I tried really hard to find a friend who was moving so I could really put the van through its paces, but the only thing I ended up hauling was groceries – I didn’t even go to Costco that week (partially because I figured it would be too expensive given all of the cargo room I had – no way I would get out of there only spending $350).
Cargo space is pretty spacious for a small van. The long wheelbase model has an expansive 149 cu. ft. of cargo space with a 1,610-lb payload rating with the short wheelbase having 124.3 cu. ft. of cargo space and a 1,470-lb payload rating.
When loaded with options, you don’t really need the Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van can hit $31,715. I would add the Ecoboost motor, front and rear parking sensors and the touchscreen and feel pretty comfortable at $28,845. At 25 mpg combined city/highway its reasonably economical to operate. There is a huge storage area above the windshield that will hold all of the contracts and other paperwork that usually clutter the dashboard of those other work vans. The interior has protective covers on the sides of the doors and walls to keep the interior from getting too banged up when loaded with cargo and the rear floor is covered with a durable matting. The cloth seats are comfortable. My one major criticism of the interior is that there is very little storage in the front console area. If you have a couple of sodas in the cup holders, there really isn’t much room for your phone or anything else. In a cargo van where its expected that you spend a great deal of time on the road, I would like to see more room for the junk that you tend to carry and accumulate. Other than that, a fairly minor point I’ll admit, this is a solid work horse that will perform better then expected in any cargo fleet.