Earning points for car-like styling and handling as well as a wide range of features and bodies, the 2018 Ford Transit Connect also disappoints with an interior that can't hide its commercial roots, subpar payload ratings, and active safety features that are nowhere to be found.

Best Value

The 2018 Transit Connect ranges in price from $24,335 for a regular wheelbase XL Cargo Van with only two front seats to over $35,000 for a fully-optioned, long-wheelbase Titanium Passenger model. All are front-wheel drive and equipped with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The usual power features are present along with a reverse sensing system, keyless entry, front and rear air conditioning, overhead shelf storage, and seven-passenger seating on long wheelbase models. On the safety front, a rearview camera is standard while blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are optional. Advanced features like adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning are unavailable.

With an eye toward value, we'd pick the standard-wheelbase Transit Connect XLT Passenger Wagon fitted with the rear liftgate for better visibility, and additional equipment that includes a rearview camera, fog lights, body-color bumpers and door handles, power outside mirrors, roof rails, privacy glass, cloth seats (replacing vinyl), a power driver's seat, a 4.2-inch touchscreen with Sync infotainment system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a carpeted floor (again, replacing vinyl).

  • Model: 2018 Ford Transit Connect XLT Passenger Wagon
  • Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder
  • Output: 169 hp / 171 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • MPG: 19 City / 27 Hwy
  • Options: 17-inch Premium Alloy Wheels ($695), BLIS with Cross-Traffic Alert ($575, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert), Panoramic Fixed-Glass Vista Roof ($1,295), Dual-Zone Electronic Automatic Temperature Control ($275).
  • Base Price: $27,025 (including a $1,120 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price: $29,170

Performance

Ford Transit Connect

Based on underpinnings from the Focus sedan with passenger car-like driving, the Transit Connect is quiet and comfortable, offers decent acceleration and – especially the lighter five-seat model – nimble handling, for a fairly enjoyable driving experience.

Although it's able to keep up with traffic, the Transit Connect is no speed demon, while payload capacity is a middling 1,270 pounds – a figure that drops considerably with passengers aboard. In addition, active safety features like automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning are unavailable.

Style

A boxy exterior gains style points with a car-like front end that surrounds a roomy interior with plenty of storage options, decent visibility, and a modern and functional dash with lots of buttons that's also suited for more rugged commercial use.

At the same time, the ambience quickly goes downhill as the lines and styling behind the front seats reveal the Connect Wagon's more pedestrian commercial origins.

The Best and Worst Things

Nimble handling and van versatility makes the Transit Connect an intriguing value proposition, but that means putting up with budget-grade rear accommodations and a lack of advanced safety systems.

Right For? Wrong For?

Ford Transit Connect

The Transit Connect's car-like handling and van practicality should appeal to families.

A lack of active safety features will have safety-focused buyers taking a pass.

The Bottom Line

Despite the lack of advanced safety features, middling payload ratings, and low-rent interior bits behind the front seats, the Transit Connect's range of bodies and features, nimble handling, van practicality, and comfortable ride make it a solid contender in its class.