The 2018 Ford Transit Connect van is an ideal size for doing business in the city. It’s a compact commercial vehicle offering two lengths of wheelbase: 104.8 inches and 120.6 inches. It also comes with windowless side panels and dual sliding side doors, along with a choice of twin rear doors (that open 180 degrees) or a top-hinged tailgate. Other choices include aircraft-like overhead storage or a fixed sunroof. The Transit Connect doesn’t have a middle name, but if it did, it could easily be "Versatility."
Like many of Ford’s better products, this one is derived from a European model, where those old, constricted streets pose no problems and users appreciate the nimble ride.
What’s New for 2018?
What We Like
Small and nimble package; reasonably priced; two wheelbase lengths
What We Don’t
Modest towing capacity; lowest trim level is sparsely equipped
Propulsion comes from a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine making 169 horsepower and 171 lb-ft of torque. This is linked to a 6-speed automatic transmission that sends drive to the front wheels only.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption at 20 miles per gallon city, 27 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined.
Standard Features & Options
The 2018 Ford Transit Connect van has two seats as standard and comes in XL or XLT trim.
XL ($24,335) starts with 16-in steel wheels, remote keyless entry, power windows, cruise control, air conditioning, vinyl upholstery and floor covering, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, a folding front passenger seat, rear parking sensors and an AM/FM stereo with two speakers and an auxiliary audio input.
XLT ($25,590) adds power-folding heated mirrors, fog lights, a 4.2-in driver information display with steering wheel controls, cloth upholstery, a rearview camera, a CD player and an upgraded driver’s seat with manual lumbar adjustment.
The long wheelbase is an extra $1,000. Other options include the Sync 3 infotainment system (XLT only — adds a 6.5-in touchscreen with navigation and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration), 17-in alloy wheels, a fixed panoramic sunroof, roof rails, a roof rack, satellite/HD radio, front parking sensors, MyKey with programmable usage restrictions (maximum speed and audio volume levels), blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert plus a telematics system with tracking functions for location, speed and idle time.
Regarding cargo space, short-wheelbase versions have 103.9 cu ft.; long-wheelbase versions have 128.6 cu ft.
Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes, stability control, front seat 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 dashboard consists of no-nonsense materials, and its tidy control layout is like the Focus. We like the standard LED lights in the cargo section. And there’s a nimbleness to the way the van drives. If someone has to pilot this all the time for work, it won’t be a drudge. The only real letdown is the modest 2,000-pound towing capacity.
Other Cars to Consider
2018 Mercedes-Benz Metris — Bigger and more expensive, but still a useful, well-judged size and perfectly capable.
2018 Nissan NV200 — The NV200 was designed to compete with the Transit Connect, although it doesn’t offer a long-wheelbase option.
2018 Ram ProMaster City — Also based on a European van, with class-leading power and excellent carrying abilities.
Used Ford Transit — Bigger than the Connect, but still useful for city work.
It’s worth going for the XLT trim for all the extra equipment. And the blind spot monitoring option is a smart investment. If it can help prevent an accident — where at the very least the van might be out of service for a time — then it would have proved its value.