There are acres of hard, shiny plastic and painted surfaces, including the entire cargo area, which is untrimmed save for some raw Masonite panels that hide the rear cargo door mechanisms. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. I think the priorities are spot on with this refreshingly honest little vehicle.

The folks who sell and service our VBox test gear recently bought the identical twin to this vehicle and they love it. It easily swallows and hauls all their trade-show display equipment to a distant city, and then converts to serve as a demonstrator for four-person ride-alongs during the event, all the while achieving 22/25 mpg EPA city/highway fuel economy at a price under $26,000 with every option (ours cost $25,380). Try to find another vehicle that'll carry 1600 pounds enclosed for that price and at that fuel economy. It was nearly empty during most of my weekend and the ride quality from the unladen rear leaf springs was surprisingly supple. I so wish the thing offered a manual or automatic transmission with more than four speeds, because in town this power team tends to bog in one gear and then charge hard in the next gear down.

Through April only 6564 TCs have sold, though ADT Security Services has reportedly contracted to buy 3000 of the little buggers, and I certainly see a lot of them on the streets in greater Detroit. Fiat has already started making noises about importing their competitor (dubbed Fiorino in cargo guise and Qubo with rear seats) if the Transit catches on. Then I suppose Nissan will be tempted to bring the Renault Kangoo and GM will look at inviting Opel's Combo. Surely the market won't prove big enough for that many competitors, but a bit of competition might provoke a needed upgrade in the powertrain department. I wish Ford a lot of luck with this fresh new entry.