2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon Sneak Peek:
If you want to torque off a Ford partisan, just point to the 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon and call it a minivan. In a heartbeat, he or she will sit you down and get your mind right.
Yes, the Transit Connect Wagon is front-wheel drive; yes, it seats up to seven in three rows; yes, it has a rear liftgate; and yes, it has two sliding doors. But don’t let all that fool you. It’s not a minivan. It’s a “people mover.”
Uh . . . OK.
In sympathy, you can see why Ford might be a little gun-shy on that minivan thing. It’s not like its previous attempts – remember Aerostar, Freestar and Windstar? (don’t worry, neither does anyone else) – ever posed a threat to the Chrysler Town and Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey.
So this time around, Ford has dubbed its domestic hauler a “people mover.” But the company has done more than play semantic games. Ford has made its boxy little wagon, unveiled last week at the L.A. Auto Show, just unique enough that the differentiating nomenclature might be at least arguable, if not totally convincing.
For example, the Transit Connect Wagon is available in two lengths – short and long. The short-wheelbase version seats five in two rows while the long-wheelbase edition accommodates seven in three rows.
In addition, TCW can be had with a choice of rear-access modes. A traditional liftgate is standard, but vertical panel doors, such as those found on cargo vans, are available.
Finally, the little guy is compact, stretching roughly a foot shorter in long-wheelbase guise than minivans such as Grand Caravan and Sienna.
TCW will offer two I-4 powerplants, a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter and a turbocharged EcoBoost four displacing 1.6 liters. Neither has been certified for power or fuel efficiency, but the turbo, which Ford says gets more than 30 mpg on the highway, will be the upscale choice. Both engines are managed by a six-speed automatic that directs power to the front wheels.
TCW will be turned out in XL, XLT and top-of-the-line Titanium trim. Available perks will include leather, a panoramic sun roof, rear view camera, navigation and Ford’s SYNC and MyFord Touch voice-activated infotainment system.
Look for this new small minivan – uh, we mean people mover – to arrive at your favorite Ford store about a year from now.
Needless to say, no pricing yet.
Dan Wiese is a freelance automotive writer living in St. Louis. He also is a regular automotive contributor to Fox 2 KTVI-TV St. Louis. You can e-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon
TYPE: Short- or long-wheelbase, 5- or 7-passenger small minivan
DRIVE FORMAT: Front-wheel drive
BASE PRICE: Not available
ENGINES: 2.5-liter I-4; 1.6-liter turbo I-4
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: Not yet rated
TRANSMISSION: Six-speed automatic
SUSPENSION: Front: independent/Mac struts; rear: twist beam
AIR BAGS: Front, front side, all-row curtain
BRAKES: Front: disc; rear: drum; ABS, electronic stability control, traction control
EPA MPG: Not yet rated (Ford says 30+ hwy with turbo engine)
WHEELBASE (in.): SWB: 104.8; LWB: 120.6
LENGTH (in.): SWB: 173.9; LWB: 189.7
FUEL TANK: 15.8 gallons
CARGO (behind 3rd/2nd/1st row): 19.8 cu. ft./50+ cu. ft./100+ cu. ft.
TOWING MAX.: 2,000 lbs.
WHERE BUILT: Valencia, Spain