While the Ford Transit Connect van isn’t exactly a vehicle that evokes passion and excitement from enthusiasts, it serves as a sound solution for consumers searching for a practical and versatile compact transit tool. Its cargo-van configuration works wonderfully for crafts- and tradesman as well as adventuresome individuals electing to live the van life. In passenger-van form it can haul as many as seven passengers, and either configuration can haul up to 2000 pounds with the proper equipment. That said, it isn’t the most fuel efficient offering in its class, its base engine is gutless, and while it’s easy to maneuver, the suspension delivers a bouncy ride. The Transit Connect isn’t the perfect automotive specimen, but it is nonetheless a highly useful workhorse.
What’s New for 2023?
The Transit Connect goes unchanged for its final model year, though it is significantly more expensive than in 2022, with the base model’s MSRP climbing from less than $27,000 to more than $34,000 this year. The 2023 model is also the last hurrah for the Transit Connect, at least in the U.S. One of its rivals—the Ram ProMaster City—ceased production at the end of 2022. The Connects’s only other competitor, Mercedes-Benz Metris, is set set to be discontinued at the end of this this model year. So long, city-van segment.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The beauty of the Transit Connect is that it can be configured and outfitted to meet a variety of needs. We think the XLT model is the better value. Compared with the base model, it adds a standard touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, built-in navigation, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Every XLT also has blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross-traffic alert. The only individual options we’d add are adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, lane-keeping assist, and passive entry. The Trailer Tow package is also a worthy upgrade because it unlocks the van’s 2000-pound towing capacity.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Transit Connect offers two different four-cylinder engines and is only available in front-wheel drive. The 2.5-liter in-line-four pairs with a six-speed automatic transmission. This combination isn’t particularly quick, especially when trying to pass on the highway. There’s also a turbocharged 2.0-liter that pairs with an eight-speed automatic, but we haven’t tested this setup. The Transit Connect can tow up to 2000 pounds and carry a maximum payload of 1570 pounds. The last long-wheelbase model that we drove felt very agile around town thanks to its accurate steering and well-controlled body motions. However, it was bouncy while driving over uneven pavement and had irregular tracking on the highway
More on the Transit Connect Van
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA has not yet released fuel economy ratings for the 2023 Ford Transit Connect, though we expect them to remain the same as 2022 since no mechanical changes have been made. Models equipped with the turbo 2.0-liter are rated up to 24 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The 2.5-liter is rated at up to 20 mpg city and 27 highway. The Ford’s only other direct competitor is the Ram ProMaster City, which is rated at 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. Since we haven’t tested the Ford nor the Ram on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route—part of our extensive testing regimen—we are unable to report on their real-world mpg. For more information about the Transit Connect’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Transit Connect’s front seat will look familiar regardless of whether it’s in the cargo or passenger van. The latter can be had with a third row that enables seating for up to seven. Every model has a low seating height that emulates a car rather than a truck or crossover. The dashboard incorporates an ergonomic center stack that features physical controls for the climate control and infotainment system. The cargo van offers up to 127 cubic feet of cargo volume, while the passenger van provides up to 105 cubes with the second and third rows folded. Desirable options include dual-zone automatic climate control and wireless charging.
The Car and Driver Difference
Infotainment and Connectivity
Although the base model features an archaic infotainment system with a single USB port, every Transit Connect is available with a more contemporary touchscreen unit that supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Those who want even more equipment can add a better audio system, a single-disc CD player, and wireless device charging.
How to Buy and Maintain a Car
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
While some driver-assistance technology is standard, the rest of the roster costs extra. For more information about the Transit Connect’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Available lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Although Ford provides a competitive limited and powertrain warranty, the automaker doesn’t offer any complimentary scheduled maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 6-passenger, 4-door van
PRICE AS TESTED: $33,515 (base price: $26,690)
ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, port fuel injection
Displacement: 2488 cc, 152 cu in
Power: 169 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 171 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
Wheelbase: 120.6 in
Length: 189.7 in
Width: 72.2 in Height: 72.0 in
Passenger volume: 166 cu ft
Cargo volume: 16.0 cu ft
Curb weight: 4012 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 10.1 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 43.9 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 10.3 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 4.8 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 7.0 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 17.6 sec @ 79 mph
Top speed (governor limited, C/D est): 110 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 170 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad*: 0.80 g
EPA combined/city/highway driving: 22/19/27 mpg
C/D observed: 19 mpg
C/D observed 75-mph highway driving: 22 mpg
C/D observed highway range: 340 mi
More Features and Specs