Ford debuted the 2019 Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van in front of a commercial-vehicle-savvy crowd at The Work Truck Show happening now in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The tiny but capable workhorse received key updates that Ford believes are enough to continue its reign over the commercial van segment. Much like the Transit Connect Wagon that was recently unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show in February, the cargo van's updates revolve around new engine options and new smart technologies.
Let's start with the important stuff. For instance, cargo versatility. The 2019 Transit Connect boasts dual sliding side doors that allow business owners and delivery drivers to access their precious cargo from either side of the vehicle. Inside, the flat load floor is finished in vinyl for durability and easy cleaning, while the near-vertical walls with built-in tie-downs allow a wide variety of cargo to be secured for transport. In the rear, the cargo doors can swing 180 degrees and lock into place for safety and convenience. Have you ever tried to load up a truck with a door swinging in your face? Not fun. Needless to say, companies can acquire specialized "upfits" from several companies depending on their specific cargo and business needs.
Efficiency. Three different powertrains are available for the 2019 Transit Connect Cargo Van, including a new diesel option. The standard offering is a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine mated to an also-new eight-speed automatic transmission. This setup features standard auto start-stop, a heavy-duty battery, and is E-85 compatible. A second and fleet-only option utilizes a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic, which can be outfitted to run on compressed natural gas or propane.
The Transit Connect's headlining powertrain is the new 1.5-liter "EcoBlue" diesel engine. Ford has targeted an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of at least 30 mpg highway, but actual results aren't expected until early 2019. The tiny turbocharged diesel engine is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission, and also features auto start-stop and EcoMode and EcoCoach functions to monitor fuel economy and encourage fuel-efficient driving behaviors.
When it comes to smart technologies, the new Transit Connect now includes standard pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection (segment-first), wind stabilization, rearview camera, and an embedded 4G LTE modem with capacity for up to 10 wireless devices. The 6.5-inch infotainment screen now runs the latest version of Ford's Sync 3.
The Drive had the opportunity to chat with Julie Ellenberger, Ford Transit's brand manager, about the cargo van's new tech features. "Transit connect has the most drive-assist technologies of any vehicle in the segment, but it's the pre-collision with pedestrian detection system that Transit owners have been asking for the most," said Ellenberger. "Anytime fleet owners can reduce potential collisions and maximize up-time it's a no-brainer for them."
The 2019 Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van goes on sale this fall at Ford dealers nationwide and at 650 dedicated Commercial Vehicle Centers.