Missing the Aerostar, Windstar and Freestar? Ford has a new minivan on the market, based on the Transit Connect.
Minivans were a hot commodity in the 1980s and '90s, and Ford was on it with the Aerostar, Windstar and Freestar (as well as the Mercury Villager and Monterey. When minivans gave way to crossovers after the turn of the century, however, Ford dropped its minivans from its lineup. There are apparently those who still look for the commodious vehicles in showrooms, however, so the Blue Oval automaker has gotten back into the game with a new version of the Transit Connect.
Just introduced for the 2014 model year, the Ford Transit Connect Wagon is based on the commercial version that won North American Truck of the Year in 2010, but reworked to haul people instead of cargo. It will be available in five or seven-seat versions (with two different wheelbase lengths). Both include flat-folding seats to enable extra cargo space. Buyers will also be able to choose between two engines: a 2.5-liter four or a 1.6-liter EcoBoost turbo four, though output figures were not specified. Both engines, however, drive the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. Three trim levels will also be on offer, including XL, XLT and Titanium.
With a payload capacity of between 1,200 and 2,000 lbs, the Transit Connect Wagon also serves as a compelling alternative to the usual raft of trucks on the market, offering better fuel economy with upwards of 30 mpg on the highway. With 35,000 units of the existing Ford van, such as Transit Connect, rolling out of dealer lots each year, the people-hauling Wagon version ought to help Ford steal some market share back from the Dodge Caravan (and its twins, the Chrysler Town and Country and Volkswagen Routan), the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna and Nissan Quest, to name just a few.