The 2021 Ford Transit Connect has the configurability that appeals to tradespeople as well as those who value versatility. This city van can be equipped for hauling up to seven people or hollowed out for transporting stuff, depending on whether the cargo van or the passenger wagon is selected. Ford also offers the choice of a short or long wheelbase, symmetrical rear doors or a rear liftgate, and two different four-cylinder powertrains. Despite its pragmatic personality and bouncy ride quality, the little van has the nimble driving characteristics that will be appreciated in traffic and tight spaces. With its countless configurations and long list of popular options, the 2021 Transit Connect proves it’s quite a useful tool.
What’s New for 2021?
Aside from removing some options and revising some packages, the 2021 Transit Connect hasn’t undergone any significant changes compared with the previous model year.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Transit Connect is only offered with front-wheel drive, but it is available with two optional four-cylinder engines. The 2.5-liter version pairs with a six-speed automatic transmission. This combination isn’t particularly quick, especially when trying to pass on the highway. There’s also a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that pairs with an eight-speed automatic, but we haven’t tested one with this setup. The Transit Connect can tow up to 2000 pounds and carry a maximum payload of 1570 pounds. The last long-wheelbase model that we drove felt very agile around town thanks to its accurate steering and well-controlled body motions. However, it was bouncy while driving over uneven pavement and had irregular tracking on the highway.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates that the Transit Connect’s turbo 2.0-liter will earn up to 24 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The 2.5-liter is rated at up to 20 mpg city and 27 highway. The Ford’s only other direct competitor is the Ram ProMaster City, which is rated at 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. Since we haven’t tested the Ram or the Ford on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, we are unable to report on their real-world mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Transit Connect’s front seat will look familiar regardless of whether it’s in the cargo or passenger van. The latter can be had with a third row that enables seating for up to seven. Every model has a low seating height that emulates a car rather than a truck or crossover. The dashboard incorporates an ergonomic center stack that features physical controls for the climate control and infotainment system. The cargo van offers up to 127 cubic feet of cargo volume while the passenger van provides up to 105 cubes with the second and third rows folded. Desirable options include dual-zone automatic climate control and wireless charging.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Although the base model features an archaic infotainment system with a single USB port, every Transit Connect is available with a more contemporary touchscreen unit that supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Those who want even more equipment can add a better audio system, a single-disc CD player, and wireless device charging.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
While some driver-assistance technology is standard, the rest of the roster costs extra. For more information about the Transit Connect’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Available blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross-traffic alert
- Available lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist