Friday, May 29, 2009

Jalopnik checks out Tranist Connect, MFD gets out the soap box again

So, Jalopnik and other sites have been given a chance to get a hands on look and drive of the new Ford Transit Connect small commerical vehicle. Click the link in title to read the entire piece, while I get out my soap box and start to preach. The Transit Connect, based on the Euro Ford Focus platform and powered by a 2.0 DuraTec 4 cyl gets 22 mpg city and 25 mpg hwy all while hauling up to 1,600 lbs. That's a great payload. It's not quite long enough for lumber and many ladders, but it would be great for many delivery businesses and in my opinion would make a great Taxi as seen here at the New York Auto Show last year.
The Econoline is iconic and a dinosour. I'm not a van guy, I own a Ranger pickup, but I've driven vans in my line of work for the last 20 years, both Chevy and Ford. On a side note, the Econoline is was far far better than it's Chevy competition if you had to drive one for work. But they are big even the E-150. I drove an E-350 (1998) for several years and it was tough and dependable, but I would have killed for something like the Transit Connect on some days. Sure, when you have to lug 10ft lengths of pipe and ladders to a job, you need the E-350. But most days running to a supply house, it was overkill. And on those rare trips downtown Manhattan, it was a nightmare. The Transit Connect won't replace the Econoline, but it will be attractive to many business that don't need the overkill.

And who knows, if the Transit Connect works out, maybe some companies would be interested in moving up to the Transit van. A very good choice to replace the Econoline. The Transit is the big brother and world wide equivalent of the Econoline. Globally the Transits use mostly Diesel powertrains and are available in multiple chassis and drivetrain combinations including 4x4.
Now that Dodge isn't part of Daimler , I wonder if they'll still be selling the Sprinter? If not, Ford could sell Transits to fleets that have purchased Sprinters in the past and aren't keen on buying Mercedes or Freightliner ( who also sell the Sprinter.)

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