The Blue Oval has axed plans for a diesel engine in the US.
Diesel is facing a split market in the United States, with full-size and heavy-duty trucks from Ford, GM, and Ram all including new diesel powertrains, but many smaller vehicles ditching them for hybrid and electric solutions. Ford still offers a PowerStroke diesel engine in the F-150 to compete with the recently-revealed EcoDiesel in the 2020 Ram 1500 and the Duramax diesel in the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra, but the American automaker just dropped plans to unveil a smaller diesel mill for the Transit Connect. Aside from a few exceptions like the upcoming 2019 Mazda CX-5, it seems like small diesel engines will be a rare sight in the US.
Ford spokesperson Elizabeth Kraft confirmed with Car and Driver that the planned 1.5-liter diesel engine for the 2019 Transit Connect will not make it to the US. Kraft cited a "lack of market demand," but recent scrutiny from the US government post-Dieselgate may have also been a deciding factor. The EPA's website listed the 1.5-liter diesel mill alongside the 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engines but never gave fuel economy ratings for it on the 2019 or 2020 model year Transit Connect.
The diesel engine was initially predicted to produce 120 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque and achieve up to 30-mpg on the highway, besting the 29-mpg rating of the 2.0-liter engine and the 27-mpg rating of the 2.5-liter. Perhaps Ford had trouble hitting the mpg targets while also keeping the engine compliant with emissions or simply decided a gain of one to three mpg wasn't worth the trouble.
Along with the diesel announcement, Ford also discontinued the five-seat, short-wheelbase version of the Transit Connect passenger van, though the short-wheelbase model can still be purchased as a cargo van. Pricing for the 2019 Transit Connect starts at $26,845 while the 2020 model will boast a starting price that's a tad lower, at $25,570 for a short-wheelbase cargo van or $28,315 for the passenger version.