Ford offers fleet managers a sneak peek
Ford introduced the new Transit family of vans to fleet customers at its Canadian HQ in Oakville this fall.
The Transit Connect has been available in North America since 2009, but is completely updated for 2014. It comes in a van or wagon configuration. Later in 2014, the bigger Transit van will join the Transit Connect on the road, rounding out the family.
“We have completely re-engineered Transit Connect with North American business owners top of mind,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of The Americas. “This cargo hauler offers a unique combination of leading fuel efficiency, cargo capacity and maneuverability.”
Anticipating up to 30+ mpg on the highway with EcoBoost power, the Transit Connect Van offers customers their choice of two fuel-efficient four-cylinder engines—a standard 2.5-litre and an optional 1.6-litre EcoBoost—two model series and an available CNG/LPG prep package. Both engines come mated to an efficient six-speed automatic transmission. The Transit Connect Van has sliding side doors, side-hinged rear cargo doors, a choice of side and rear window configurations, and an estimated 725-kg (1,600-pound) payload.
Ford’s MyKey programmable ignition key, enabling owners and fleet administrators to restrict maximum vehicle speed and audio system volume, is standard. Multiple vehicle fleets can specify Transit Connect with the available Ford Work Solutions Crew Chief telematics system. This system enables a centralized fleet logistics leader to simultaneously monitor several vehicles in real time–for location, speed and excess idle time.
The Transit Connect Wagon is offered in five- and seven-passenger configurations, and in XL, XLT and Titanium series levels. It offers fold-flat seating, at least a 1,200-pound (540-kg) payload and more than 100 cubic feet (2,800 litres) of cargo space. Properly equipped, this wagon is approved to tow up to 2,000 pounds (908 kg).
The Transit Connect van and wagon are expected to be available in dealerships now.
The big boy
Ford is counting on global commercial vehicle sales growing by 4.8 million during the next several years to 21 million units annually by 2017 to fuel sales of Transit. For North America, Transit eventually replaces the E-Series nameplate, first sold in 1961 as Ford Econoline and a Canadian favourite for over 50 years. In other global markets, this all-new vehicle will replace today’s popular, market-specific Transit models, first sold in 1965 and the best-selling commercial van in Europe.
The Transit will have a standard 3.7-litre V6, the same 3.5-litre EcoBoost engine proven in Ford F-150 and an all-new 3.2-litre Power Stroke Diesel option. The 3.7-litre V6 will also be available with a compressed natural gas/liquid propane gas (CNG/LPG) prep kit. Each engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel-drive operation.
Choices go beyond powertrain options to encompass multiple lengths and three roof heights. The high-roof Transit has 81.5 inches of interior cargo height, enough headroom for a 6’5” person to stand upright in the cargo area. The medium-roof can accommodate up to 72in of cargo height and the low-roof has almost 56in of cargo height.
Cargo volume ranges from about 7,000 to almost 14,000 litres (250 to almost 500 cubic feet) as a jumbo configuration–nearly 80 percent more space than the largest E-Series—and over twice the volume of today’s standard E-Series. Essentially, one jumbo van can haul the volume of two current models in a fuel-efficient manner. Transit’s rear cargo doors can open up to 270 degrees for easy loading and unloading.
Designed and developed to provide efficient service over the long haul, Ford Transit scheduled maintenance costs for a three-year usage cycle are projected to be more than 30 percent less than a Chevrolet Express 1500 with the standard 4.3-litre V6, a fact which Ford claims gives Transit the segment’s lowest cost of ownership per cubic foot or pounds of cargo transported.
The new Ford Transit in intended to deliver a severe-usage service life of 10 years and 240,000 kilometres. Transit features unibody construction. A durability program included 148 prototype vehicles, with a regimen of 215 separate tests. Transit durability test vehicles were driven more than 7.4 million kilometres.
Transit vans will be available at Ford dealers starting next fall. They will be built at Ford’s recently upgraded Kansas City manufacturing facility.