At Ford, the name Transit is a trunk from which many branches grow. It’s the core calling card for its multisize, multifunction vans. Transit Connect is the designation for the smaller series, of which there also are multiple versions separated into cargo-carrying work vans and passenger-ferrying “wagons.” The formula aims to provide a wide range of possibilities for how the van is used and who uses it, ranging from a contractor to a large family. But because of this van’s dual-purpose nature, our tested top-of-the-range 2017 Ford Transit Connect Titanium sits at an odd place in the market.
Ford is one of few companies offering a three-row passenger version of its compact cargo van. The Nissan NV200 and its Chevrolet City Express twin are strictly work trucks, while the passenger versions of the Ram ProMaster City seat only five. A competitor of similar shape and purpose is the Mercedes-Benz Metris, but that mid-size entry is more than a foot longer with a 5.4-inch-greater wheelbase, not to mention pricier and more powerful.
Ford aims this three-row, long-wheelbase version of the Transit Connect to serve minivan buyers, since the company offers the Flex, the Explorer, and the Expedition as three-row options but has no traditional minivan. And yet, Ford refers to this as the “unminivan.” It has been marketed as a viable option both for businesses and as a no-frills alternative to the Chrysler Pacifica, Toyota Sienna, and Honda Odyssey.
Options Come First, Not Last
The family-friendly version of the Transit Connect comes in either a short-wheelbase (SWB) version with a 104.8-inch span between its axles and a total length of 173.9 inches or a long-wheelbase (LWB) model with a 120.6-inch wheelbase and a total length of 189.7 inches. The SWB offers five-to-seven-person seating, while the LWB model is available in six- or seven-passenger variants. Buyers can choose between rear barn-style swing-open doors or a liftgate on XL and XLT trims; the liftgate is…