The heart of the redesigned 2018 Ford Transit Connect Wagon that bowed Tuesday at the Chicago auto show is a new diesel engine that Ford hopes will boost fuel economy for the commercial-oriented small van. Available across the line for the passenger-friendly Transit Connect Wagon, the new 1.5-liter EcoBlue four-cylinder diesel is the latest entry in the complicated and controversial US diesel fleet.
Ford’s sole small van doesn’t have a lot in common with proper minivans, but that isn’t stopping the American automaker from redesigning its compact cargo-and-people hauler. The 2019 Ford Transit Connect Wagon maintains the same adaptable shape and packaging while adopting a new diesel engine option and a host of active-safety features as it enters its third generation.
Ford was shy about releasing details in Chicago, but the company claims the new engine will return at least 30 mpg on the highway. Working alongside the 1.5-liter diesel and the carryover 2.0-liter gasoline 4-cylinder (with stop-start technology) is a new 8-speed automatic transmission. While we don’t know what kind of power either engine will produce, Ford confirmed the Wagon can tow up to 2,000 pounds of stuff.
As is the case in nearly every new vehicle nowadays, Ford is fitting a healthy suite of active-safety systems to the wagon version of the 2019 Transit Connect. Automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warnings, and pedestrian detection are now standard equipment on every new TC Wagon. Adaptive cruise control remains quarantined in the extra-cost options catalog, as do blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alert and lane-departure warnings.
Like the current Transit Connect Wagon, Ford is offering the 2019 model in both short- and long-wheelbase variants. Grab the former for five seats and the latter for an occasionally cramped seven. The third-row seats are better than the ones in most compact crossovers, but can’t hold a candle to purpose-built three-row SUVs. Fold the second and third rows down, though, and Ford claims the 2019 Transit Connect boasts more cargo volume than a Chevrolet Tahoe.
Ford will continue to offer a Transit Connect cargo van, but commercial shoppers will have to wait to learn more about that one until March 6, when it makes its official debut at the NTEA Work Truck Show.
The 2019 Ford Transit Connect Wagon will arrive in dealers in the fall of 2018, with details on pricing and performance closer to that date.