Despite being a nearly 10-year-old design when it finally crossed the Atlantic, the previous-generation Ford Transit Connect found an enthusiastic reception among North American customers looking for something more economical and maneuverable than a typical full-size van, but that still packed ample cargo room and versatility. Only the longer-wheelbase model of the previous Transit Connect was offered, and North American buyers had just one powertrain option, a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine with a four-speed automatic. A CNG conversion upfit prep package could be specified, but it was still the same basic engine.

The 2014 Transit Connect Van promises to appeal to a much broader overall audience with the choice of two distinct powertrains, two wheelbase and body lengths, and two available alt-fuel options. Despite being an unapologetically utilitarian vehicle, the 2014 model brings much more sophisticated design and features than its predecessor, including an available rearview camera, 6.5-inch touch display screen with navigation, and Sync with MyFord touch.

Although official figures have not yet been released, Ford is projecting a highway mpg figure of more than 30 mpg with the available 1.6-liter EcoBoost four cylinder engine. The 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four cylinder is available with upfit prep packages for either compressed natural gas or liquid propane gas.

The upcoming Nissan NV200 may have already been selected at New York City's Taxi of Tomorrow, but Ford is expecting plenty of potential taxi business, and will offer a two-row, long-wheelbase fleet version specifically targeted for taxi duty. The 2014 Transit Connect Van and Wagon will go on sale in North America in late 2013.

Source: Ford