A fresh take on the minivan . . . from Europe? Yes, indeed, even if Ford isn’t calling it minivan.
A pair of four-cylinder engines focus on fuel economy with the top choice being a turbocharged 1.6-liter “Ecoboost” engine.
Nowhere in Ford’s press or promotional literature will you see the 2014 Transit Connect Wagon referred to as a minivan. But one walk around this big-roofed rig with its dual-sliding side doors and up to seven-passenger seating capacity is enough to confirm that “minivan” is the most relevant designation, even if it’s from Europe. The TC Wagon, which arrives in late 2013, is the junior-sized civilian offshoot of a series of new windowless commercial-vans heading to North America from Ford’s factory in Spain. Size-wise, it falls into the compact class, which means it’s significantly smaller than more traditional minivans from Chrysler, Toyota and Honda. The TC Wagon will be offered in two sizes – five- and seven-passenger – separated by nearly 16 inches in length and in the distance between the front and rear wheels. The pair replaces the original five-passenger Transit Connect van that arrived for the 2010 model year. The five-passenger TC Wagon’s just-right size is more aesthetically pleasing, but for larger families the elongated seven-seat version will likely get the nod. With three distinct trim levels – XL, XLT and Titanium – the TC Wagon can be spiced up just about any way you want, from utilitarian basic to full-on premium class transporter with leather seat coverings, king-size panoramic glass roof, a navigation system with 6.5-inch screen, fancy wheels, upgraded sound system and other niceties. You can select either a cargo-van-style side-hinged rear doors, or a more traditional liftgate. In either case, the split-folding second-row – and the dual fore-and-aft-sliding third-row seats found in extended models – can be flattened for maximum stowage. The TC Wagon will accommodate up to 1,200 pounds of cargo and tow up to 2,000 pounds. The starting point engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, while a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder “EcoBoost” powerplant is optional. Ford has yet to announce specific outputs, but since both are available in other Ford models, you can assume that the base 2.5 will likely deliver about 165 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque, while the 1.6 turbo-four should earn a 170/184 rating. Power is directed to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.
Base price (incl. destination): $24,000 (est.)
Type: Four-door sedan
Base engine (hp): 2.5-liter DOHC I4 (168, est.)
Optional engines (hp): 1.6-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (173, est.)
Layout: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive
Transmissions: Six-speed automatic
MPG (city/hwy): 23/31 (2.5, est.)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control.
Weight (lb.): 3,300 (est.)