The 2019 Ford made its debut in passenger van form at this year's Chicago Auto Show, and while it wasn't Earth-shatteringly different from its predecessor, we liked it. Now, Ford is bringing out the Cargo Van at the Association for the NTEA's Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, and it looks equally as impressive.
When the Transit Connect made its US debut in 2009, it was a funny-looking little car-van-thing that for many business owners provided a real alternative to full-size Econolines, Expresses, Ram Vans and even Sprinters. It was small, maneuverable, fuel efficient and relatively cheap. It quickly became a common sight on city streets and has remained one, since 97 percent of the Transit Connects sold are still on the road.
Introduced at NTEA – The Association for the Work Truck Industry's trade show, the 2019 Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van gets an updated face along with a new engine option in the form of a 1.5-liter diesel which should help reduce operating costs over gasoline models for small business owners. Both engines are bolted to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Fleet managers will get the option of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that will run on compressed natural gas or propane. That gets bolted to a six-speed auto.
Safety technology gets a big boost for 2019 as well with standard automatic emergency braking, Pre-Collision Assist with pedestrian detection, side wind stabilization and rearview camera. Optional safety equipment includes blind-spot information with cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise-control. All in all, pretty solid stuff for a work van.
In-cabin tech isn't bad either with standard 4G LTE wireless, but you have to pay extra for wireless device charging and Sync 3 with its attendant 6.5-inch touchscreen, though. Fleet managers will love FordPass, which will keep track of vehicle location as well as fuel levels and tire pressures. MyKey is also along for the ride, too, which allows your boss to set speed warnings and limit a driver's radio volume to just 45 percent of maximum, which will really take the zest out of Van Halen air guitar solos. Buzzkill.
The other, typical work van stuff is all there too. The short wheelbase option has a turning circle of just 38.3 feet which is nothing to sneeze at, and the Transit Connect Cargo Van will tow a mighty 2,000 pounds when paired with an optional tow package. The rear barn doors open a full 180 degrees which helps when loading big heavy stuff like guitar amplifiers for your dad-band or a pallet of fertilizer.
Ford hasn't let pricing details slip yet, though we expect it to be budget-friendly when it hits dealers this fall.