Whatever euphemism we’re told about the 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon being a wagon, rest assured that it’s still a minivan by any other name. That term, “minivan,” stopped being cool right about the time it was brought forth upon the world in 1984, so Ford might be onto something with its new family hauler.
Then again, its first minivan, the Ford Aerostar, was also called a “wagon” in passenger-van configuration, and the two minivans are more similar than you’d imagine.
Coming from commercial-use origins, each has been adapted for family-hauling duty. But whereas the Aerostar and the rest of the minivan market has remained “uncool” while they sold in the hundreds of thousands, the Transit Connect has a real chance of bringing in some new fans as the second-generation Transit Connect spawns a passenger-carrying minivan version. Er, we mean wagon.
When it debuts at January’s Los Angeles Auto Show later this month—the cargo version will bow in Detroit in January—the 2014 Transit Connect will have two engines available, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine likely to make close to the 168 horsepower found in the 2013 Ford Escape and a 1.6-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 10 more ponies. The 2.5-liter engine will be standard, with the big selling point of the smaller engine being its ability to top 30 mpg on the highway. Both will be paired to a six-speed automatic transmission that’ll channel their power to the front wheels.
The Transit Connect Wagon will be available in both short- and extended-wheelbase configurations for seating up to seven, with a host of features in XL, XLT, and Titanium trim levels. As with many other Fords, it will come with options like a panoramic glass sunroof, rearview camera, a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Sync and MyFord Touch, and a navigation system. Seating surfaces will be covered in vinyl, cloth, or leather, depending on the application.
While Ford has sold roughly 35,000 Transit Connect vans in the U.S. annually since 2009, it looks to extend its reach with non-commercial applications, too, making it an especially appealing option for families in need of a minivan but perhaps a little more rugged and and fuel-efficient. The second-generation Transit Connect will come to our shores with a 1,200-pound payload rating, which is more than that of the Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, towards the end of 2013.
Ford Trucks spokesman Mike Levine calls the 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon a “fuel-efficient seven-passenger people-mover with commercial-strength DNA.”
Which, like the Aerostar that preceded it by a few decades, sounds like a winning combination to us.