CleanMPG Previews the 2010 Ford Transit Connect

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by xcel, Jun 29, 2009.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG] One of the most economical small business cargo haulers available in Europe may become the best small business solution in the US.

    [fimg=left]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/2010_Ford_Transit_Connect1.jpg[/fimg]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - June 29, 2009

    2010 Ford Transit Connect – 22 mpgUS city/25 mpgUS highway on the 08 EPA.

    In late 2002, a new Ford work van was introduced to (and soon recognized as one of the best available in) the European market. Due in large part to its excellent utility and low cost of ownership, over 600,000 units have been sold in 55 countries across 3 continents. Sporting an impressive reputation for durability earned in the small business marketplace overseas, North America availability is cause for celebration.

    “This workhorse is like nothing available today in the American market,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of Global Product Development. “We’re offering small business owners a real choice to meet their needs, instead of asking them to pull seats out of minivans or compromise on one or more of their needs. Transit Connect is good news for small business owners nationwide.”

    In a refreshing departure from the industry norm, Ford asked three small businesses in the Chicago area to give unbiased opinions of the van during its media launch. Their response to the provided evaluation units was overwhelmingly positive with enthusiastic descriptions of how the vehicle is able to meet the needs of each company. Each indicated that not only is the Transit Connect extremely capable and far more efficient than the minivans and full sized trucks currently in service, it has earned a top position on their respective vehicle purchase lists for replacements or fleet additions. The ringing endorsements were obviously sincere and provided excellent examples of just how useful this new Ford can actually be for small businesses in America.

    2010 Ford Transit Connect - Basic Features
    • 135 cubic feet of cargo volume -- no other vehicle in the American market can deliver a competitive combination of fuel economy and capacity.

    • Split rear cargo doors are standard and open to 180 degrees, or an optionally available 225 degrees. When open, these doors provide access to a generous 52.1 inches of available load height.

    • Lift-over height is less than two feet even when the vehicle is unloaded.

    • Cargo payload of 1,600 pounds.

    • Power-assisted rack and pinion steering allows for a 39-foot curb-to-curb turning circle, ensuring easy maneuverability in tight quarters.
    2010 Ford Transit Connect - Competitive Comparisons

    Column1Column2Column3Column4Column5
    MakeModelCargo Capacity (cu. ft.)Base CostMPG Combined (mpgUS)
    FordTransit Connect135$21,47523
    ChevroletHHR62.7$19,69025
    DodgeSprinter371$38,425~ 20


    2010 Ford Transit Connect - Specifications and Trim Levels

    The 2010 Ford Transit Connects specifications can be viewed in the automobile specifications forum at the following location: 2010 Ford Transit Connect.

    The Transit Connect is available as either a 5-passenger Wagon or a two passenger work Van in two trim levels: XL and XLT. Both can be equipped with Navigation.

    Ford Work Solutions - Productivity enhancing options

    The $1,395 Garmin based NAVI head unit offers much more than just navigation functionality. The system features web browsing capability, E-Mail, spreadsheet/document viewing and editing, remote desktop capability, and even the ability to print out invoices on site (with a $300 Bluetooth HP Printer). Input is accomplished with either the built in touch screen or an included Bluetooth keyboard. This is a compelling and high tech package offering four times as much as the typical vehicle navigation system for a much lower price.
    • Optional Crew Chief™ ($550 plus $20 per month) - Allows fleet managers to track vehicles and staff via online access to vehicle location, speed, idle time, fuel usage, seat belt use and more than 30 other diagnostic measures -- all online!

    • Optional Tool Link ($1,220) - Utilizes Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags (which are adhered to the tools or objects themselves) and is capable of performing an inventory of items in the cargo hold prior to leaving a job site.

    • Bulkheads, racks, bins, and other fitments can be mixed, matched, and configured to suit many specific commercial applications and needs.

    CrewChief in action

    [​IMG]
    Status and location of all the Ford Transit Connects at the Preview with CrewChief installed.


    Best in Class tool tracking technology - DeWalt’s ToolLink

    [​IMG]
    Tool Box within the van shows the Tool Box found.

    [​IMG]
    Tool Box outside the Van shows the Tool Box is not found.​

    RFID tags go for about $1.00 a piece and you have the option to configure multiple lists of objects. For example, one could create a camping list, a work list, a painting list, etc. All lists can easily be added to using the touch screen or included Bluetooth keyboard.

    Once an RFID tagged tool list is created, ToolLink works seamlessly.

    2010 Ford Transit Connect - Many optional upfits are available

    Various configurations from three different Ford approved upfitters are available, though any upfitter can modify the Transit Connect to suit the needs of just about any small business.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Catering and Delivery Graphic wrapped Exterior/Caterer Shelving upfitted Interior

    2010 Ford Transit Connect case studies: The small business owner

    Marcello’s - 645 W. North Ave. Chicago, IL 60610

    Marcello’s is a large and growing Chicago area restaurant that runs a growing number of restaurants around the city. Its 17yr young catering business has quickly become one of its largest profit generators. With 12 vehicles including 5 vans and a 16’ box truck currently in its fleet, Marcello’s is looking for a more versatile vehicle providing not only additional utility but also the best fuel efficiency possible. On any given weekend, Marcello’s delivers between 1,000 and 1,500 orders ranging from individual pizzas to 2,000 person meals for corporate events. Their workload is heavy and their needs are large and varied.

    “Although the Transit Connect would not meet all of our needs given the quantity of food and associated gear we sometimes deliver to a single location, it would work for at least 50 percent of our business,” said Jim Lazar, VP of the Restaurant, Catering and Bakery concerns. “Additionally, the Transit Connect's available GPS and WorkChief vehicle location capability would be a wonderful addition for our business.”

    Jayson’s Home and Garden - 1885 N Clybourn, Chicago IL 60614

    Jayson’s is run by Jay Goltz, an entrepreneur of some notoriety. Drawing on his small business expertise, he writes and manages the NY Times You’re the Boss – The art of running a small business blog.

    The company employs 105 people and has recently expanded from its art and framing business roots into the furniture, home decor, garden plants, and floral design markets. As the organization has grown, so has its need for reliable and efficient delivery vehicles.

    “Currently we use four vans, one truck, and three SUVs,” said Jay Goltz, the founder of Jays Home and Garden. “Our future needs must include a more fuel efficient vehicle with easier access and a professional look with a graphic wrap vs. a minivan. The Transit Connect easily fulfills those needs.”

    Sappano’s Hi Grade Paint and Decorating Center - 2940 N. Halsted, Chicago, IL 60657

    Sappano’s is a third generation retail and commercial supply concern specializing in paint, wallpaper and window treatments. With over 62 years in the business, they recently expanded with the purchase of Sappano’s paint and now have 25 employees in two stores.

    “We still need large vans for delivering 200 to 300 gallons of paint in a single load but smaller jobs from 1-gallon to 100, the Transit Connect would work wonderfully,” said Josh Goldmeir, owner of the Paint and Supply business. “If I were to purchase a new delivery vehicle today, I would have to compare other manufacturers selections to the Transit Connect because big vans downtown are a nightmare to park and horribly inefficient.”

    Ford's willingness to allow these three business owners to voice honest appraisals of the vehicle without any payment or promises says volumes about their commitment to this market. Moreover, the responses leave no doubt that this is a vehicle destined for significant future sales success.

    2010 Ford Transit Connect - Impressions, FE Capability and Conclusions

    The 2010 Ford Transit Connect is not a 4x4, SUV or P/U but is a fully capable commercial work van. This vehicle will satisfy the needs of some 75% of all small business requirements at a far lower purchase and fuel cost than other solutions... in most cases saving anywhere from tens to thousands of gallons of fuel per vehicle per year. Additional cargo capacity allows fewer trips, smaller size promises easier parking, and dual sliding doors with swing out rear doors allow easy access to interior storage. The Transit Connect is quite simply the most fuel efficient small van platform available to business owners.

    The Transit Connect offers a comfortable interior with tilt and telescopic steering wheel as well as seats with height adjustment controls. Rear seating for the Wagon features easy access/egress with dual-side sliding doors and more leg room than most vehicles -- including the majority of full-size sedans! We found nothing to dislike in this area.

    The Transit Connect has a far tighter turning radius than any other van we have driven -- amply demonstrated on the impromptu obstacle course seen below. Each participant in the event had the opportunity to drive this course and experience the van's attributes first hand.

    [​IMG]
    Ford’s Transit Connect on the course adding perspective. Only one driver of four knocked a cone down (it wasn’t me ;)) -- and this was an exceedingly tight course!​

    To further demonstrate its competence at load capacity, Ford filled a Transit Connect with 1,600 pounds of sand for this Preview. With four in the vehicle in addition to the sand, the 2.0L engine drove easily from stop light to stop light without incident or undue strain on the chassis or engine.

    One small item that does not appear to fit Ford’s standard for look and feel is the navigation system's bezel. The bezel appears to be an add-on with the std. dash having one texture, the center mounted instruments having another, and the Navi bezel having yet another. These vehicles are still prototypes so we can't assume it will remain so in the final production units, but it does look oddly out of place in a modern OEM vehicle.

    FE Results... with explanation.

    [​IMG]
    Best at 22.7 and the worst at 11.3 mpgUS :(

    These poor results were achieved in stop light/sign to stop light/sign mid-day driving (with A/C!) through the worst that downtown Chicago had to offer. The first segment included approximately one mile on I-90/94... which was also a jammed in stop and crawl. Total distance for that trip was approximately 3 miles. The second segment was similar and covered roughly 2 miles.

    Basic and Intermediate techniques were employed to achieve these results. These consisted of two Fas at lights for the first trip, and 4 Fas at lights for the second. In that kind of traffic it was abundantly clear that in order for small businesses to avoid the waste and costs associated with inner city delivery using conventional vehicles, all-electric solutions will have to be adopted.

    Very few new details on the Smith Bev conversion have been released but it is currently being prototyped in England. When Bev conversion production begins in the states, the full base vehicle will be delivered to a Kansas City facility. There, the Transit Connect will have the engine and all associated hardware from the gas tank to emissions controls removed. In there place a single speed electric motor, Inverter/controller, and 21 or 28 kWh Li-Ion battery pack will be installed. The pack appears to be a prismatic unit that will form a flat structure under the cargo area subfloor. Since this is a conversion of a fully DOT certified vehicle instead of being built alongside the std. gasoline and diesel powered counterparts (in Kocaeli, Turkey), expect the Bev variant's cost to be quite high.

    The std. Transit Connect is being shipped as this is written and the first units should reach dealership showrooms sometime between mid July and early August.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    BEV variant on the road.----------------------------------------------Std. ICE variant on the docks.

    2010 Ford Transit Connect Preview - Behind the Scenes

    I would like to thank Ford’s Vehicle Line Director of Truck, SUV and Commercial Vehicles, Phil Collareno who answered and/or tried to find the proper person to answer every question I had... including many regarding the upcoming BEVs. I would also like to thank Jay Goltz, Jim Lazar, and Josh Goldmeir for their small business impressions... and of course Ford’s Anne Marie Gattari and Donna Thomas for the invite to this unique for CleanMPG preview.

    [​IMG]
    Phil Collareno next to the 2010 Transit Connect​

    A slideshow of the entire grouping of 2010 Ford Transit Connect pics can be seen at the following location: Transit Connect Interior and Exterior slideshow.

    Wayne
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2009
  2. CleanWaterWarrior

    CleanWaterWarrior New Member

    My husband owns a small business and we've owned 3 ford vans. The Connect looks really interesting. One feature of the Dodge Sprint we liked was the ability to stand up in it. The Connect looks kinda short. Otherwise, it has some nice features, especially the fuel efficiency.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 25, 2009
  3. aca2983

    aca2983 Well-Known Member

    Saw one at a dealer near me late last week.
     
  4. nervousmini

    nervousmini Well-Known Member

    I saw a transport truck with 8 new ones driving down the road last week - very cool stuff. I would imagine that a van like this would really meet the NEEDS of allot of people and businesses - if they give it a chance.
     
  5. MT bucket

    MT bucket I want my MPG!

    not impressed with the fe, the bev version would be good for in town runs. mabye a deisel version would be better for couriers?
     
  6. total nut

    total nut Member

    I would love to take one of these machines for a spin.
     
  7. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi MT bucket:

    ___Remember this is basically a Focus drivetrain with shorter gearing underneath and I doubt any of the big diesels available could actually touch it. Those larger diesels around town would also get smashed so I do not see any benefit there. If Ford brought over the small displacement vehicles however... Which they will not :(

    ___Total Nut, you can schedule a test drive with your local Ford dealer now as they are on some lots as I speak :)

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne
     
  8. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

  9. PBXgeek

    PBXgeek New Member

    New user here. And I'll be picking up my new Ford TC from the dealer in a day or two.

    My usual work habits are 2 - 4 days/week at home via telework (telecommuting), and 1 - 3 days/week driving to client sites.

    For the past 15 years I've been driving a Dodge Caravan with 6-cylinder engine. Normal fuel efficiency in that vehicle was @ 22 - 24 mpg (with my driving habits) vs. a rating of about 19 - 22. High-end efficiency is 39.5 mpg (!) at 50 mph on the freeway (verified with a controlled run). However, my speedometer reads a few mph high, so realistically I've been doing 45 - 50 for those runs. (Come to think of it, I'm surprised I haven't been pulled over for driving below the posted minimum. "Good afternoon, officer....")

    The Dodge Caravan did its job well and reliably for 15 years and over 125,000 miles. It never had a mechanical problem that took it off the road, until the transmission died a few weeks ago, with an unceremonious *clunk* and the rattle of disconnected gears. This proved to be an NER (not economically repairable) and sent me looking for a new vehicle. I'd seen the Ford TC on the road and was impressed, so I went comparison-shopping.

    From the small business / tradesman perspective, this is an extremely well-designed truck. The "wagon" version I'm getting can be thought of as a quasi crew cab for hauling coworkers to job sites, along with tools & materials in back. The split folding seat arrangement is great for that purpose, particularly if only two passengers are onboard (one in front, one in back; you can fold down 2/3 of the rear bench seat to preserve the cargo space).

    The turning radius is a little larger than that of the Dodge Caravan, which I used to boast could turn as tightly as a road sweeper, and could park in a space literally 6" longer than the vehicle. Probably the Ford TC will need 7", which is still remarkably good. I'm thinking of installing cameras for parking, so I don't have to "park on the braille plan" (if you can't see, touch:).

    So about fuel efficiency.

    Based on what I got with the Dodge, I suspect I'll be able to get something like 24 city and 30 highway with the TC, and above 40 on highway runs where I can get away with doing 50 mph in the right lane. I'm itching to do a controlled highway run the first night I have the truck.

    The way I do controlled runs is to pick a specific pump at a specific gas station, fill the tank to the first "click" of the nozzle, and then refill after the run (same pump, same procedure), and divide trip-meter miles by gallons, rounded up to the nearest 1/10 gallon. I don't have a ScanGauge yet, but it's on my must-have list ASAP so I can compile speed/efficiency curves for the TC.

    Since y'all are interested in this vehicle, I'll keep you posted on how it actually performs. I keep driving logs so I'll be able to do this empirically from my records.

    I've got it equipped with cruise control. What I'd really like to see is something like a keypad where you can enter any desired speed, all the way down to 10 mph for residential areas with "traffic slowing" infrastructure. If anyone here knows of such a thing, please post here and include a URL.

    My impressions based on the test drive and a detailed look at the truck, plus the various reviews, is that Ford has hit on a major winner for the US market. I didn't have time to wait for the electric version, but I think that's going to be a huge success as well, starting with companies such as UPS, and spreading quickly. Anyone who has been using conventional minivans for commercial vehicle applications, will immediately see the advantages of this one.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
  10. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Welcome to the site and congrats on a fantastic choice in vehicle! We look forward to seeing your results. :thumbs_up:
     
  11. MT bucket

    MT bucket I want my MPG!

    I am starting to see a few couriers with these. I talked to one who really likes his, but he doesn't get too good of mileage. (many couriers drive their vehicles too hard)
    My ranger will probably last over half million miles, by then there should be more than a few used FTCs around at a reasonable price.
     
  12. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    I am beginning to see several of these around as well. I haven't had a chance to talk with an owner yet.
     
  13. RichXKU

    RichXKU Well-Known Member

    Already had an easy 30 MPG tank since the warm weather arrived, averaging 28 altogether in my 2010.
     

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