• Ford Transit Connect Wagon offers new minivan alternative
  • Transit Connect Wagon based on cargo van, offers versatile interior
  • Fuel-efficient engines include 2.5- and 1.6-liter 4-cylinders

The all-new 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon is officially on sale. That's the latest from Ford, which calls its new van the "unminivan" for its unorthodox styling, its small 4-cylinder engine and its carlike driving experience.

On the outside, the Transit Connect Wagon is especially unique thanks to a boxy style that doesn't resemble any other minivan currently on sale. The reason for the unusual styling is that the Transit Connect Wagon is based on Ford's newly redesigned Transit Connect Van, a commercial-grade cargo van aimed at city-dwelling drivers interested in getting excellent gas mileage as they transport goods.

Inside, shoppers will find that the Transit Connect Wagon offers a similar setup to many of today's minivans. There's 7-passenger seating, dual sliding doors, and fold-flat second and third rows that allow drivers to transport large amounts of cargo when they aren't carrying around any passengers.

But the Transit Connect Wagon stands out from the minivan pack when you open the hood. While nearly all of today's minivans use a large V6 with 200 to 300 horsepower, the Transit Connect Wagon instead gives shoppers a choice between two 4-cylinder engines: a 2.5-liter that makes 169 hp, or a 1.6-liter turbocharged EcoBoost powerplant that delivers 178 horses. While those power numbers may not seem like much, Ford says both engines are capable of delivering nearly 30 miles per gallon on the highway, a benefit of their smaller size.

So how much will it all cost? According to Ford, the Transit Connect Wagon's base price is around $25,500 with shipping. That figure includes air conditioning, remote keyless entry, a backup camera, a CD player and Ford's MyKey technology, which lets drivers program different vehicle settings for different keys. Shoppers looking to upgrade can add a navigation system, leather upholstery, heated seats, rear climate control and Ford's SYNC infotainment system.

What it means to you: The 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon may be based on a cargo van, but it offers a few unique features that could sway some shoppers away from mainstream minivans.

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Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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