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Ford Transit: The deliveryman dream van?

Posted by Clifford Atiyeh  February 9, 2009 11:36 AM

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Ford Transit Connect(Ford)

Admit it. You'd rather make a delivery in the Euro-chic Transit Connect over that paltry Econoline.

Ford has sold more than 600,000 Transit Connects across Europe, where skinny high-top vans work wonders on the continent's narrow city streets. Thanks to the Dodge/Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Americans are somewhat used to this style, but breaking the mold of the US commercial market is like trying to convince R.V. owners to buy minivans. It'll be tough at first, but Ford has finally recognized that its smaller, sleeker, and more fuel-efficient overseas models are an easy way to start making money again. (The Euro-spec Focus and Fiesta subcompact are coming in 2010.)

The Transit, shown in New York last year as a taxi concept, will debut at the Chicago auto show tomorrow and arrive at dealerships this summer. Ford claims 20 miles per gallon in the city, which should be a big improvement over the heavy-duty Econoline, which is exempt from EPA reporting. An electric version with a claimed 100-mile range will go on sale next year.

Two handy options: Tool Link, co-developed with DeWalt and ThingMagic of Cambridge, tracks cargo and tools with radio frequency identification tags, and an on-board computer allows Internet access, printing, and even remote access to an office PC.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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7 comments so far...
  1. The European Fords are fantastic vehicles. This is a smart move by Ford; they should expand this and give us the Mondeo and the Focus (the Focus we have in the US is an older generation that is completely inferior to the Euro one)

    Posted by alex Georges February 10, 09 10:55 AM
  1. With all that headroom Tommy Menino will fit just fine.

    Posted by Buhdayduh February 10, 09 03:18 PM
  1. This vehicle looks like it will be a very user-friendly vehicle. Utility of those other vans but with a svelt style that can be nothing but good for fuel and navigating these crazy streets. I would like to see a couple of taxi models around the city just to add some contrast from all these damn Camrys.

    Personally I'd preffer the Chevy HHR Panel for better styling but the height on the Transit is the clear winner for function.

    Posted by Andy February 10, 09 04:12 PM
  1. We need the larger european version of this van also.

    An exact replacement for the econoline would be the next step and we need it ASAP.
    The econoline is too large for some applications.
    The transit is too small.
    Some of us who are in the service business need a better van.

    Posted by Lance Gyldenege February 24, 09 01:16 PM
  1. Why can't Ford provide this with a decent small diesel engine, optional lightweight towing package and a higher or stepped roof line for 6' of interrior height for conversion to a light weight camper package as a entry model. It would be competative with the old VW camper bus and slightly more flexible.

    Posted by Q August 17, 09 07:59 PM
  1. Looks like the transit van will make a good replacement for the expensive modified wheel chair equipped vans. At the current price I see it as a winner. Head room is critical for a wheel chair bound person, this van has got it.

    Posted by Tom Owen September 12, 09 12:36 AM
  1. Just saw this vehicle at the 2009 Interbike trade show in Las Vegas. This is a great little vehicle for bicycling events, and would be a super chase vehicle to carry our gear and information materials for the August 2010 Tour de USA for prostate cancer awareness. It also would be a great rolling billboard for the event.

    Posted by Robert Hess September 25, 09 10:22 AM

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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
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Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
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