The commercial van segment has probably seen more change recently than it has in the past couple decades, with compact offerings arriving on the market and downsized powertrains becoming more common. Hoping to advance the segment is the upcoming 2014 Ford Transit Connect commercial van, which will achieve up to at least 30 mpg, boast 130 cu-ft of cargo space, and offer an optional compressed natural gas (CNG) package, Ford has announced.
Like the passenger-carrying Transit Connect Wagon, the commercial version is expected to achieve more than 30 mpg on the highway with the turbocharged 1.6-liter EcoBoost powerplant, which produces 178 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque in the Ford Escape. The standard engine, a 2.5-liter I-4, could produce an even 170 hp and 170 lb-ft, if similar to the Ford Fusion’s 2.5-liter engine. Both engines come mated to a six-speed automatic transmission geared for low-rpm cruising and around-town responsiveness. Ford estimates an EcoBoost Transit Connect will outperform the Grand Caravan-based Ram C/V Cargo Van – rated at 17/25 mpg city/highway – by at least 5 mpg on the highway. Ford also says the van will be able to carry more payload than a Ram 1500 pickup.
Read more about the Transit Connect: 2014 Ford Transit Connect EcoBoost Wagon Gets 30 MPG, Minivan Back in Ford Lineup
The Transit Connect commercial van will be offered in two wheelbase lengths, delivering up to a 1600-pound payload capacity and more than 130 cu-ft of cargo space. For comparison, the outgoing Transit Connect van can already carry 129.6 cu-ft of cargo behind the first row of seats, and the full-size Transit van can accommodate much more. As expected, the new van will be offered with and without rear and side windows. When properly equipped, the 2014 Transit Connect can tow up to 2000 pounds. Though two engines are offered, only the 2.5-liter version can be equipped with the optional CNG/LPG preparation package, which converts the Transit Connect to natural gas or propane.