Ford is trying to win over baby boomers in a big way with their 2019 Ford Transit Connect Wagon (one of Automoblog’s favorite vans). Their press materials from this year’s Chicago Auto Show are crammed with enough condescending references to the post-war generation to gag Grace Slick. But those egregious faux pas aside, the 2019 Ford Transit Connect Wagon has some pretty good stuff to offer.
Why try to reinvent the van and sell it to boomers? Ford is direct and up front as to why: “Boomers … grew up driving vans, [and] at 111 million strong and holding 63 percent of American financial assets, the 50 plus demographic is the number one consumer demographic in the United States.” Or to be even more succinct: Boomers already know vans, there are a lot of them, and they have a lot of money. According to AARP, one in three Boomers plans to purchase a car in the next three years.
So, besides the corny and insulting hippie references in the press release (i.e. Life’s Still a Trip, Today’s Magic Bus) what does the 2019 Transit have to offer?
Safety & Security
For starters, it has room for five to seven passengers and, since you can easily reconfigure the interior, cargo duty is just as easy as hauling people. American Transit buyers will also get their choice of a new gas or diesel engine, along with a collection of driver-assist technologies like Automatic Emergency Braking.
In addition, the 2019 Transit Connect Wagon comes with Pre-Collision Assist and Pedestrian Detection to help avoid big bang-bangs and thump-thumps. Adaptive Cruise Control is also available to make highway driving easier by automatically slowing the van when the system detects traffic ahead. A Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert is available. It also uses the Transit’s radar system to detect surrounding vehicles that loom at you unobserved from the sides. There is also an available Lane Keeping System that vibrates the steering wheel, and can apply extra steering wheel torque to help you keep the vehicle centered.
Trim Levels & Engines
The 2019 Transit Connect Wagon comes in two wheelbases and three trim levels: XL, XLT, and Titanium. The interior is expansive and adaptable, so fitting people in or loading in cargo is a breeze. There are dual sliding side doors, and the available roof rails give you even more versatility with the number of accessories that can be fitted to the roof. So, hauling bikes, kayaks or that vintage Greg Noll surfboard you’ve had since 1966 should be easy-peasy.
Even the engines got a going over, as I mentioned before. There’s an all new powertrain lineup, including the 1.5-liter EcoBlue diesel that promises at least 30 mpg highway. The diesel plant is coupled with a new eight-speed automatic. There is also a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline mill with direct injection on offer. That engine comes with Auto Start-Stop as standard and is also mated to that new eight-speed automatic.
Wanna tow stuff? The Transit Connect Wagon offers a towing capability of 2,000 lbs. when equipped with the trailer tow package.
According to Ford, the 2019 Transit Connect Wagon will be one of the most affordable seven-passenger rigs you can get, although Ford did not actually disclose pricing. The long-wheelbase version has more interior cargo volume behind the first row than the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe, according to Ford’s measurements. So think about that, comparison shoppers. Expect it this fall at dealers nationwide.
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.