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2012 Ford Transit Connect Review

This review was written when the 2012 Ford Transit Connect was new.

The 2012 Ford Transit Connect earns praise for its high-tech work features and for being easy to drive, but if you need more cargo space, more seatbelts or more power, you should consider other options.

Until recently, the passenger van class was ruled by a few very similar mainstays: the Ford E-Series and the GMC Savana and Chevrolet Express twins. However, these big box vans aren’t perfect, and the Ford Transit Connect does a good job of addressing their shortcomings.

The Transit Connect is a five-passenger van built on a car platform, so it’s fairly maneuverable in tight spots and narrow city streets, and has good fuel economy. In addition, test drivers are particularly impressed with its available Ford Work Solutions system, which helps business owners monitor their fleet, keep track of tools and includes an in-dash printer and Wi-Fi hotspot, among other features. The Transit Connect is even available as a plug-in electric vehicle to fleet buyers, which is unique in this class.

The Transit Connect isn’t for all shoppers. Its small size means it can’t hold as much cargo as most of its rivals. Nearly every reviewer complains about its underpowered engine, and like most other work vans, the Transit Connect’s interior is almost painfully basic. Plus, it can only seat a maximum of five people. A passenger van like the Chevrolet Express is much better for transporting a work crew or a sports team. Still, most reviewers agree that if the Transit Connect’s size and available options fit your needs, it’s a great choice for your business.

Other Vans to Consider

If you need more capacity than the Transit Connect’s car-based platform can offer, consider the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. The Sprinter is a lot more expensive than the Transit Connect, with a starting price about $14,000 more, but it’s one of the largest cargo vans on the market. When properly configured, it can hold about four times the cargo that the Transit Connect can. But don’t expect the Sprinter’s interior to be as luxurious and well-equipped as the Mercedes-Benz S-class sedan. Despite its Mercedes-Benz badge, this van is outfitted for utility rather than luxury, but for a high-quality and cavernous work van, the Sprinter is one of the best.

If you don’t need quite so much cargo space and prefer a more traditional passenger van, consider the Chevrolet Express. It doesn’t offer the high-tech work aids that the Transit Connect has, nor does it have an enormous interior like the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, but it’s one of the only work vans available with all-wheel drive. The Express is also available in multiple body styles, lengths and seating setups, with many different powertrain configurations, making it more customizable than the Transit Connect. The Chevy does have worse gas mileage than the Ford, but its higher seating, payload and towing capacities and powerful engine options may make it a better alternative for some buyers.

Details: Ford Transit Connect

The 2012 Ford Transit Connect is available in two body styles: the Van cargo model and the five-seat Wagon passenger model. Transit Connect cargo vans can be had in either XL or XLT trims, while the passenger van is available in either XLT or XLT Premium configurations. For 2012, the Transit Connect gets low-rolling resistance tires and a few new exterior paint colors. The XLT Premium trim is new this year. An electric-only model, the Transit Connect Electric, is available only to certain fleet buyers and is reviewed separately.

See the full list of 2012 Ford Transit Connect specifications.

  • "Transit Connect neatly fills a size gap between the compact Chevrolet HHR Panel and enormous Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. It is noisy and underpowered, but it delivers excellent utility, unexpected connectivity, and surprising fuel economy. Transit Connect is a worthwhile choice for business owners or folks who simply want or need to carry a whole lot of stuff.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "With its elevated roof, available 255-degree-opening rear doors and seemingly infinite equipment and graphics packages, the Transit Connect van is far superior to any small pickup or car-based crossover.” -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 2012 Ford Transit Connect offers business owners an attractive alternative to larger, thirstier and more expensive cargo vans.” -- Edmunds
  • "A car-based Euro-style van ideal for urban use-its turning circle is more than nine feet smaller than that of Ford's own E-series-the Transit Connect isn't quick, but it is capacious and customizable.” -- Car and Driver
Review Last Updated: 4/25/13

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