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Ford Updates Transit Connect Min, er, Small Van

Maker looking to draw Baby Boomers with active lives with updated model.

by on Feb.08, 2018

Chicago native Jim Belushi, left, and Ford Vice President Mark LaNeve debut the Ford Transit Connect in Chicago as The Blues Brothers.

Though it claims to still be out of the minivan market, Ford’s new Transit Connect Wagon sure hopes that entrepreneurs with families will take a shine to its new offering.

The company unveiled the new small van – they don’t call it a minivan – at the Chicago Auto Show today after giving the media an early look last week. Ford executives said the new wagon is aimed at Baby Boomers with active lifestyles, who also may have a small business.

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If anyone needed any convincing it’s the Baby Boomer generation they want, one need only look at Ford Vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service Mark LaNeve and film and television star and Chicago native Jim Belushi playing the parts of The Blues Brothers at the intro of the squarish small van in the Windy City today.

“We’re always aiming young … but here we’re squarely aiming for a Baby Boomer Target,” LaNeve said after the event. “Baby Boomers are more rock and roll than rocking chair,” and want vehicles for an active lifestyle.

(Ford remains committed to diesel with new 1.5-liter diesel engine. To get details, Click Here.)

Jim Belushi, left, and Ford's Mark LaNeve talk about the 2019 Ford Transit Connect.

Ford is looking to attract buyers who are looking for flexibility and affordability with seating for as many as seven passengers. In the preview, the company highlighted several owners who used the vans for everything from a small surfing business to a part-time handyman. Belushi found something to like, saying he could use a vehicle like that for his cattle farm in Oregon.

“I could fit my mother in law and Family and a calf in one of these,” he told TheDetroitBureau.com.

The key is the affordability. It hauls people like a minivan, cargo like a truck or van with all of the latest technology, but at prices that are at least $5,000 less expensive. The price started at just over $25K, whereas a similarly equipped minivan would exceed $30K and a larger SUV or van would be north of the minivan pricing.

The wagon features all-new gas and diesel engines and a suite of driver-assist technologies, including standard Automatic Emergency Braking. The feature is included with Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection – a segment-exclusive.

(Click Here for more about the resignation of Ford China CEO Jason Luo.)

It’s also available with a slew of tech, including Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert and Lane Keeping System.

Additionally, buyers can get Waze compatibility that will help drivers steer clear of traffic jams. Staying connected is easy thanks to the standard embedded 4G LTE modem providing Wi-Fi for up to 10 devices and available SYNC3 with Ford+Alexa personal assistant functionality.

The new 2019 Transit Connect with all-new 1.5-liter EcoBlue (see separate story) diesel engine is targeted to return an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of at least 30 mpg highway. The diesel engine is paired with an all-new 8-speed automatic transmission.

A new 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with direct injection comes with Auto Start-Stop as standard equipment. It too comes mated to the all-new 8-speed automatic. It’s capable of towing 2,000 pounds with a cargo capability of 1,600 pounds.

(To see more about Ford’s mobility vision, Click Here.)

It’s available in two wheelbases to accommodate five or seven passengers and in three trim levels, XL, XLT and Titanium. The new models will hit dealerships in the third quarter of this year, although pricing hasn’t been released.

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