First Look – 2019 Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van
Compact Cargo Van Takes the Stage at Work Truck Show
Ford debuted the 2019 Transit Connect Cargo Van today in Indianapolis, giving the compact van family some love at the 2018 Work Truck Show. After seeing the “Wagon” passenger version of the Transit Connect at last month’s Chicago Auto Show, we knew it was only a matter of time before we learned the fate of the diesel-powered cargo hauler.
And indeed, the 2019 Transit Connect Cargo Van will be available with Ford’s 1.5L turbodiesel I-4, an engine that belongs to the heretofore–Europe-only EcoBlue engine family. Ford is targeting fuel economy above 30 mpg, though we won’t be surprised if it gets closer to 40 mpg on the highway. Also plan on seeing at least 140 hp and around 200 lb-ft, with engine-idle stop/start standard for lower emissions.
The standard engine in the Transit Connect lineup is a 2.0L direct-injected I-4, which replaces the 2.5L I-4 found in the 2018 TC. In spite of its smaller size, it should produce as much or more power and torque as the outgoing engine thanks to direct fuel injection and improved powertrain technology. Befitting their mission as work vehicles, Transit Connects with the 2.0L engine get a heavy-duty battery as standard, with a higher-capacity alternator optional for power-hungry upfits. An eight-speed automatic is standard, as is engine-idle stop/start.
Interestingly, the former base powertrain, a 2.5L I-4 with a six-speed automatic transmission, is now a fleet-only option. Its available CNG/propane gaseous prep package likely explains its continued existence: The 2.0L I-4 might not have been engineered for alternative fuels, and the cheaper 2.5L I-4 may lower the base price somewhat while giving CNG-specific fleets a Blue Oval option.
New for 2019 is standard Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection and automatic emergency braking. The feature scans the road ahead, warning the driver if a crash is possible given conditions ahead and the speed of the van. Available are adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and blind spot monitoring, while a rearview camera is standard. The Transit Connect also incorporates a standard 4G-LTE modem, allowing the owner and his work crew to connect up to 10 devices to the Internet.
In addition to some of the interior changes, the new Transit Connect is obviously different on the outside as well. A Wagon-aping front end dominates the redesign thanks to an attractive front fascia and grille, while changes to the side profile are limited to new wheel designs. The rear has even less to differentiate it from the 2018 model, but that’s no bad thing for lovers of the Transit Connect’s Euro-chic size and practicality. The inside gets a wholly new center stack, with improved ergonomics and an available touchscreen infotainment display.
Like the Wagon, the Cargo Van has a maximum towing capacity of 2,000 pounds, and when unladen, it’s capable of making a U-turn within a city street (thanks to its 38.3-foot turning circle). That’s a unique combination of features not found anywhere else in Ford’s lineup.
The Transit Connect Cargo Van will go on sale later this year, likely for a bit more than the $23,215 demanded by the current model. Add on about $3,000 for that diesel and you’ve got a starting price of less than $27,000 for an oil-burning cargo van, according to our least scientific guesstimates.
Regardless of how much it costs, we hope lots of people buy them to send a message to other manufacturers: diesel vans are very, very cool.