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2016 Ford Transit Connect: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader April 2016

Business owners looking for a compact delivery van will find the 2016 Ford Transit Connect a no-brainer, particularly given the flexibility of its two available wheelbases. But this van isn't just for contractors. With 2-row or 3-row seating, big side windows and a cavernous cargo hold, the Wagon version is perfect for families who want something more practical than a crossover SUV but more maneuverable than a minivan.

What's New for 2016?

Only a few new features available in the higher trim levels.

What We Like

Big versatility in a small and nimble package; reasonably priced; offers towing ability; two wheelbase lengths; cargo van and passenger wagon body styles

What We Don't

Lower trim levels are sparsely equipped; bigger engine not available with the longer wheelbase; base engine's so-so fuel economy

How Much?

$23,670-$30,295

Fuel Economy

All models employ a 6-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.

The standard engine is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder making 169 horsepower and 171 lb-ft of torque. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates fuel consumption for van models at 20 miles per gallon in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg combined. Wagon models achieve 19 mpg city/27 mpg hwy and 22 mpg combined.

A turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder is also available. This engine generates 178 hp and 184 lb-ft. Fuel economy is 22 mpg city/30 mpg hwy and 25 mpg combined with either body style.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 Ford Transit Connect comes in numerous forms. The Van has two standard seats, windowless side panels and dual rear cargo doors. The Wagon is a passenger vehicle with full windows all around and a choice of rear cargo doors or a lift gate. Both have dual sliding side doors and both are offered in short wheelbase (104.8 inches) or long wheelbase (120.6 inches) configurations.

The short-wheelbase Wagon has five seats, while the long-wheelbase Wagon adds a third seating row for 7-passenger capacity. Both the second-row and third-row seats fold flat and can be removed.

The Van comes in XL or XLT trim, while the Wagon gets those trims plus the top-of-the-line Titanium.

The Van XL ($23,670) starts with 16-inch steel wheels, remote keyless entry, power windows, air conditioning, vinyl upholstery and floor covering, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, a folding front passenger seat and an AM/FM stereo with an auxiliary input jack.

The Van XLT ($25,195) adds power heated mirrors, fog lights, a 4.2-in driver information display with steering wheel controls, cloth upholstery, cruise control, a CD player and an upgraded driver's seat with manual lumbar adjustment.

The Wagon XL ($26,295) comes only with the long wheelbase, and its equipped similarly to the Van XL except for its three seating rows, power second-row windows, rear climate controls and a couple of rear speakers for the audio system.

The Wagon XLT is offered with either the short wheelbase ($25,820) or long wheelbase ($27,820) and is equipped similarly to the Van XLT. But there are no rear climate controls with the shorter Wagon XLT.

The Wagon Titanium ($30,295) brings 16-in alloy wheels, adaptive fog lights, automatic wipers, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a 6-way power driver's seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic front climate control, separate manual rear climate controls, SYNC voice command functionality and a rearview camera.

Some of the higher-end standard features are available as options on lesser models. Other options, depending on trim and configuration, include MyFord Touch (which adds a 6.5-in touchscreen with navigation), 17-in alloy wheels, a fixed panoramic sunroof, satellite/HD radio, front and rear parking sensors, MyKey with programmable usage restrictions (maximum speed and volume levels), plus Ford Work Solutions Crew Chief telematics system with tracking functions for location, speed and idle time.

Long-wheelbase versions can accommodate 128.6 cu ft. of cargo, which is nearly as much as a full-size minivan like the Toyota Sienna.

Safety

Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes, stability control, front-side airbags and side-curtain airbags for each seating row.

In government crash tests, the Transit Connect received an impressive five stars out of five overall, including four stars for front impacts and five stars for side impacts.

Behind the Wheel

The Ford Transit Connect's dashboard consists of no-nonsense materials and its tidy control layout is like the Focus and Escape. Equipment levels range from sparse in the Van XL to almost lavish in the Wagon Titanium.

The target buyer is probably on the business side, but the Titanium offers some convenience features for family-minded buyers. In the Wagon, the second and third rows of seats have sensible contours and optional leather upholstery.

The 1.6-liter turbo is both punchier and more efficient than the base 2.5, but the difference isn't significant. The turbo has more low-end thrust, but there's no shame in sticking with the 2.5-version. The ride and handling feels agile and composed. The only real letdown is the modest 2,000-lb towing capacity.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Mercedes-Benz Metris -- The Metris is bigger and more expensive, but it's still useful, well-judged size and perfectly capable.

2016 Nissan NV200 -- The NV200 was designed to compete with the Transit Connect, although it doesn't offer a long-wheelbase option.

2016 RAM ProMaster City -- The ProMaster City is also based on a European van, with decent power and carrying abilities. There's no option for a third row in the passenger version, though.

Used Dodge Grand Caravan C/V -- The cargo version of the popular Grand Caravan family wagon is a decent alternative to a new compact, city-friendly van. The Grand Caravan feels bigger, but lacks the more upright roof of the RAM ProMaster City or even the Nissan NV200. Also, the Grand Caravan drives more like a car than some cargo vans. Used versions may be plentiful, but most will have very high mileage as these types of vans usually live a long, hard life.

Autotrader's Advice

From the Transit Connect's many permutations of trim levels and body styles, there's probably a model for almost everyone.

Find a Ford Transit Connect for sale

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Used 2016 Ford Transit Connect XL Long Wheel Base
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Ford Transit Connect: New Car Review - Autotrader