Ford has announced it will offer the 2019 Transit Connect with the 1.5 liter EcoBlue diesel engine that’s already available in European versions of the popular (and actually mini) van. Equipped with this engine, the Transit should be able to average 30-plus MPG and exceed 40 MPG on the highway – which would make it by far the most fuel-efficient minivan available.
Ford owns about a 45 percent share of the compact van segment and hopes to grow that number by targeting buyers who are interested in a van that is actually mini – in terms of size, appetite and price. Unlike current traditional (and far from mini) vans like the Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Pacifica – all of which are mini RVs and start around $30k and average around 20 MPG.
“It’s an entry-level product that brings customers into the fold for the first time,” said John Ruppert, Ford’s commercial vehicle sales and marketing manager. “Small vans have turned into a really big business for us.”
Ford introduced the Transit Connect to the U.S. in 2010 and last redesigned it in 2014. In 2017, Ford sold 34,473 Transit Connects, nearly double the sales of the second-place Nissan NV200. To date, officials say, about 97 percent of the roughly 300,000 small vans sold since its introduction are still on the road.
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