• Fuel economy-rated at 30 mpg hwy
  • Cargo van and passenger wagon versions
  • Available EcoBoost turbocharged engine

Since its 2010 introduction, Ford's compact van has become a popular commercial vehicle for businesses and tradespeople who don't need the space of a full-size van. Now, the redesigned 2014 Ford Transit Connect continues to offer commercial users a smaller and more efficient alternative to a typical cargo van. A wagon version is available too, allowing the Transit Connect to haul up to seven passengers. With a new EcoBoost engine option, fuel economy is rated as high as 30 miles per gallon on the highway.

Fuel efficiency and Environmental Protection Agency ratings do vary depending on how the Transit Connect is configured. In addition to cargo and passenger wagon versions and two powertrain choices, Ford also offers two wheelbase lengths. Each of these factors affects fuel economy.

The 2014 Transit Connect with the optional 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine is the thriftiest version of the small van. In cargo configuration, it's rated at 22 mpg city/30 mpg hwy. Choose the standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and fuel economy drops slightly to 21 mpg city/29 mpg hwy. Selecting the long-wheelbase Transit Connect van with the base engine drops efficiency a bit more to 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy.

The 7-passenger Transit Connect wagon is also more fuel efficient with the optional 1.6-liter EcoBoost motor, achieving ratings of 22 mpg city/29 mpg hwy. Go with the 2.5-liter base engine and ratings drop to 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy for both regular- and long-wheelbase versions.

Compared to the 2013 Transit Connect, the new model with the optional EcoBoost engine achieves efficiency improvements of up to 3 mpg. That could translate to real fuel cost savings for commercial users who log plenty of miles. Better power should also make the 2014 Ford Transit Connect more fun to drive. The EcoBoost engine makes 178 horsepower -- a significant improvement over the 136-hp 2.0-liter engine in 2013-and-older models. Output ratings for the base 2.5-liter engine have not yet been announced.

The 2014 Transit Connect broadens the appeal of both the cargo and the passenger versions of the model with updated styling, better economy and more power. Both commercial and private users who need van functionality without sacrificing on efficiency should include the Transit Connect on their short lists.

What it means to you: No one disputes the practicality of the Transit Connect, but bland styling and a weak engine in older models left something to be desired. Ford has now improved the model with a sleeker look and more powerful engine choices.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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