The new Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van just hit the public eye at The Work Truck Show in Indianapolis. It comes with new driver-assist technologies, two new drivetrains, and aims to keep up the Transit Connect’s reputation as being the best-selling compact cargo van in America.
The 2019 Transit Connect is covered with driver-assist technologies – it actually has the most in the segment, according to Ford. There’s Automatic Emergency Braking, Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Side Wind Stabilization, and a Rearview Camera all standard. The optional safety features are just as impressive: Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Keeping System, and Adaptive Cruise Control.
And, since everybody today is connected and has a smartphone, there’s a standard embedded 4G LTE modem that provides Wi-Fi for up to 10 devices, and an available 6.5-inch floating touchscreen running SYNC 3 to help you while taking customer calls or navigating hands-free to job sites.
FordPass is on board to help monitor small fleets, including such data points as driver location, fuel level, and tire pressure. The MyKey programmable ignition is standard on Transit Connect XLT, so owners and fleet administrators can preset warnings and limits for vehicle speed, but also restrict the entertainment system’s audio to 45 percent of the maximum volume.
Power & Performance
Ford likes to say that there are powertrains to fit every need when it comes to the 2019 Transit Connect Cargo Van. In fact, there are three different engines capable of running on five different types of fuels, so businesses have many choices when it comes to finding the right engine.
There’s a standard and new 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder gasoline engine with Auto Start-Stop and direct-injection. This plant is paired with a new eight-speed automatic for responsive around-town performance and low-rpm cruising on the highway. The 2.0-liter inline four is also E85 compatible and comes with a standard heavy-duty battery, and an available heavy-duty alternator if your job requires it.
There is also a new 1.5-liter EcoBlue diesel engine sporting an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of at least 30 mpg on the highway. This new diesel engine combines the latest in Ford’s fuel injection, turbocharging, and emission control tech, and is fitted with the eight-speed automatic transmission. If you’re a heavy fleet user, there is also a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder with a six-speed automatic and CNG/propane package available.
But what about your stuff? This is a van after all, so it better be functional and capable when it comes to handling loads. Ford says the Transit Connect is a modern-day workhorse, and I am not about to doubt them. Although Ford did not provide us with exact capacity specs, they do say you can load a 48-inch pallet via forklift with ease thanks to the 180-degree, swing-out rear doors. And the doors can be locked in the open position, which is great news if you have to load and unload on a hill, for instance.
With a 38.3-foot turning diameter and shorter wheelbase, the 2019 Transit Connect should be able to handle tight city streets with ease. The Transit Connect will also tow 2,000 lbs. when you get the available tow package, so that’s handy too. Finally, there are dual sliding side doors (ideal for tight urban environments) and near-vertical walls inside with integrated tie-downs.
Add-Ons & Modifications
And since this is a work van aimed at the fleet market, the Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van is as customizable as they come. There is already substantial support from aftermarket upfitters and suppliers for interior cargo management solutions as well as adding stuff like ladders and roof racks. Ford says it doesn’t matter what your business is, from mobile dog grooming to pipefitting, the Transit Connect Cargo Van can be kitted out to meet your needs with ease.
So what you’ll end up with is a smaller van that delivers great competence and a compact footprint with city-friendly maneuverability. The new Transit Connect is great for small businesses and fleet administrators trying to “right-size” their vehicles. The 2019 Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van goes on sale this fall at more than 3,000 Ford dealers nationwide, including more than 650 dedicated Commercial Vehicle Center dealers.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.