Although most North American enthusiasts were most excited about the 'One Ford' initiative from the standpoint of the Blue Oval's excellent European compact and midsize car models, the commercial segment will also be the beneficiary of the program in the form of two new vans, the 2014 Transit and Transit Connect, which were just revealed in Amsterdam.
2014 Ford Transit Connect
Although the fullsize Transit is arguably the more-anticipated model for the U.S. market, the new Transit Connect is no less important. American buyers have had three years to get acquainted with small van and will appreciate the updates. Beyond than the obviously updated styling that bestows Ford's Kinetic design language upon it, the new Transit Connect promises better fuel efficiency and improved driving dynamics..
Under the hood, the 2.0-liter I-4 is replaced with a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter I-4 or 1.6-liter EcoBoost turbo-four. A six-speed automatic is standard with both engines and is a noticeable upgrade from the existing four-speed. For reference, the 2.5-liter engine produces 168 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque, and the 1.6 EcoBoost makes 178 hp and 184 lb-ft in the 2013 Escape, so expect similar power figures for the Transit Connect. European models will also be offered with the choice of a 1.6-liter turbodiesel I-4 or 1.0-liter EcoBoost turbo-three with a five or six-speed manual or the 1.6-liter EcoBoost mated to a six-speed automatic.
The new Connect will be offered in two sizes. The shorter version has an overall length of 173.9 inches on a wheelbase of 104.8 inches and the longer model measures 189.7 inches bumper-to-bumper on a 120.6-inch wheelbase. As before, practicality is the name of the game and, thanks to a bulkhead pass-through and folding front passenger seat, items as long as 9' 10" can be transported in the short-wheelbase version or as long as 11' 6" in the long-wheelbase variant.
One of the photos released showed the Euro-spec Tourneo Connect. We've been told that this passenger/cargo version will be sold in the U.S. as the Transit Connect Wagon. We're not precisely sure if it will be the two-row, five-passenger version or three-row, eight-passenger configuration, but either way, it will likely be a popular configuration for outdoor or cycling enthusiasts that like to bring friends and gear along. Production of the new Transit Connect will move from Koaceli, Turkey, to Valencia, Spain, with the Turkey plant picking up production of the fullsize Transit for global markets.
2014 Ford Transit
Ford was less forthcoming with the details of the new Transit. What we can see consists of a front three-quarter shot of the cargo version that shows a bold trapezoidal grille that stylistically splits the difference between the Kinetic design on Ford's passenger cars and the bold, angular language that characterizes Ford's U.S. truck offerings.
Ford reiterated the details for the North American-spec model that have been previously announced, such as the availability of the 3.5 EcoBoost V-6 along with a diesel option of some sort. A 2.2-liter diesel I-4 was announced for European-market models but was conspicuously not singled out for the North American model. A leading candidate to be the diesel offering for the U.S. is Ford's 3.2-liter Duratorq turbodiesel I-5 that’s offered in the global T6 Ranger and produces around 200 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque.
The European and global Transit will continue the tradition of being offered in front, rear or all-wheel drive but the U.S. model will be rear-drive only. Three roof heights and three wheelbase lengths will be offered on the bus/van configurations and five wheelbases plus a double-cab option on the cab/chassis model. Vehicle weight ratings from 5600 to 10,400 will be offered and the rear-drive North American model will probably fall on the heavier-duty end of that spectrum.
To meet worldwide demand for the Transit, three factories will produce the van for regional markets. All U.S. models will be built in Kansas City, Missouri while the rest of the world will get their Transits from Southampton, England and Koaceli, Turkey..