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2017 Ford Transit Connect Overview
Ford adds a number of new options and updates to its popular Transit Connect compact commercial van for 2017, in response to comments from customers who wanted more flexibility from the vehicle. With an affordable price, gas mileage of up to 29 mpg, and a highly configurable body style, including three available roof heights, two wheelbases, and three overall lengths, as well as a choice of engines and interior layouts, the Transit Connect already had a lot going for it. The new options and updates for 2017 are intended to make the country's best-selling small work van even better.
Ford now offers the Transit Connect in a total of 64 different configurations, up from 58 the previous year. For 2017, new design options include a low-profile walk-through center console, which makes it easier for drivers to walk from the cab to the back of the van, and a passenger-side power running board for configurations without dual sliding doors. Ford also widened the running boards on both sides, making it easier to enter and exit the vehicle.
The 2017 Transit Connect continues to come in five trims: the XL Van, XLT Van, XL Wagon, XLT Wagon, and Titanium Wagon. The cargo vans carry 2 passengers up front and offer configurable boxes, while wagons can transport up to 7 passengers in three rows of seats.
The XL Van, XLT Van, and XLT Wagon ride on either short-wheelbase (SWB) or long-wheelbase (LWB) platforms, while the XL Wagon and Titanium Wagon are offered only on the LWB. For SWB versions, the wheelbase measures 104.8 inches, with an overall length of 173.9 inches, while measurements for LWB editions check in at 120.6 inches and 189.7 inches, respectively. The SWB wagon features two rows of seating for 5 passengers, while LWB wagons offer a third row of seats. Both platforms are front-wheel-drive.
In other updates for 2017, Ford improved the interior LED lighting in Transit Connect cargo vans for better visibility, and upgraded the base audio system to a 4-speaker unit with a tweeter and woofer. In addition, the automaker adds its Sync 3 entertainment and communications system with navigation and a 6.5-inch touchscreen as standard equipment on the Titanium Wagon.
New options for 2017 include easy-to-clean aluminum-alloy wheels with locking lug nuts and molded wheel well liners for the front wheels, as well as new White Gold Metallic exterior paint. Leather upholstery and 10-way power-adjustable heated front seats are among the other options for 2017.
Cargo capacity for Transit Connect cargo vans remains the same as in previous years, at 103.9 cubic feet for SWB platforms and 128.6 cubic feet for LWB platforms. SWB wagons offer a cargo volume of 77.1 cubic feet behind the front row (with the rear seats folded down or removed), the LWB wagons 104.2 cubic feet. The SWB trims have a maximum payload of 1,470 pounds, which increases to 1,620 pounds for LWB editions.
For cargo vans, buyers can opt for any number of upgrades to the interior, including cabinets, bins, and dividers, as well as customizable cargo management systems. Dual sliding doors are standard, making it easy to access the interior from both sides, while rear cargo doors swing fully open to 180 degrees.
The wagons get a folding 3-passenger bench seat as standard equipment for the second row. LWB versions add a third-row folding 2-passenger bench. The Titanium Wagon upgrades the rear row to bucket seats, reducing passenger capacity by one. Second-row bucket seats, in place of the bench seat, are also available.
New for 2017, the XLT Van and Wagon, as well as the Titanium trim, receive a 6-way power adjustable driver's seat. The XL Van comes standard with a 4-way manually adjustable driver's seat, while the XL Wagon gets a 6-way adjustable driver's seat. All trims include a 4-way adjustable passenger seat with a fold-flat feature. Cloth seats are standard on all trims except the Titanium, which upgrades to leather upholstery.
Standard equipment for all trims includes keyless entry, front-row climate control, a tilt/telescopic 4-spoke steering wheel, and a full-width overhead storage shelf. XLT trims add cruise control, a message center, and upgraded sunvisors, while all trims except the XL Van get dual map lights and a premium front center console with two cupholders and storage. Wagons receive a 4.2-inch LCD multifunction display and rear climate control, while the XLT and Titanium Wagons get a rear-view camera as standard equipment. The top-end Titanium Wagon adds such standard features as heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
Standard power for all Transit Connect trims continues to come from a 2.5-liter Duratec 4-cylinder engine generating 169 hp and a maximum of 171 lb-ft of torque. It links to a 6-speed SelectShift automatic transmission, designed to provide plenty of low-end torque for towing and acceleration under heavy loads. The engine runs on gas, E85, or a blend of the two, and can be converted to run on compressed natural gas or propane autogas with the addition of the CNG/propane prep package. Fuel economy numbers vary depending on van or wagon configuration and wheelbase, but generally range from 19 mpg city/27 highway/22 combined for wagons to 20/28/23 for cargo vans.
Ford also offers the Transit Connect with an optional 1.6-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine, which increases power while conserving fuel. Available only on SWB trims, it pushes hp to 178 and torque to 184 lb-ft, while posting fuel-economy numbers of 22/29/25 for both the SWB cargo van and wagon. It, too, mates with the SelectShift automatic.
Outside, the Transit Connect displays fairly sleek lines for a van, though overall it's designed more for function than aesthetics. The XLT trims get front fog lights and heated power-adjustable exterior mirrors as standard features, while wagons come equipped with a rear liftgate and rear wipers. All trims ride on 16-inch wheels, though 17-inch wheels are available.
Ford offers the Transit Connect in low, medium, and high roof heights. The high-roof versions can accommodate passengers up to 6 feet 5 inches tall. In addition, buyers can specify the Transit Connect in regular, long, and long/extended lengths. Extended-length wagons can accommodate up to 15 passengers.
First-row side airbags are standard on the cargo vans, while wagons get side airbags for all three rows. A rear-view camera comes standard on the XLT Wagon and Titanium Wagon. All trims include Ford's AdvanceTrac stability-control system, Hill Start Assist, and electric power-assisted steering.
Rob has been a contributor to CarGurus since 2007, and an automotive test-driver and writer since the early ’90s. He’s test-driven everything from BMWs and Jags to Bentleys and Saabs, with an occasional Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini thrown in. He also created the annual Car of the Year and Exotic Car of the Year awards for Robb Report magazine. He currently resides in California.
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