Reader Question: Ford Transit CNG Option?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

David asks: When we needed our last vehicle, my late wife fell in love with the looks of the 2014 Transit Connect Wagon (used then). I fell in love with the way it drives, and how truck-like the ride feels with a third of the gas usage. I love the 2.5L engine and massive cargo space, and I even love riding in the third row. My son just shakes his head.

Now my daughter’s driving a 2003 F150 that’s threatening to fall apart at any moment. I’m considering getting another Transit Connect for me and letting her buy the current one from me. My first choice would be a 2018 with a 2.5L engine, but the local used market is either $21k or already above 90K miles (mine only has 75K). It’s got me doing unnatural things: considering new and very young used.

Ford only sells the 2.5L in 2019 and newer as part of their CNG fleet vehicles. It wouldn’t include the actual tanks, etc., just the prep kit. However, the advantage is that there’s a dealer within 100 miles with at least 10 2020s on the lot and volunteering a $25k price tag. I’m betting I could get that to $24k before taxes if I try. I assume they’re keeping the 2.5L because they’re still working on direct injection for CNG, and I’ll take the wins where I can get them. However, my worry is potential downsides. Is there a reason why a consumer like me should avoid a fleet vehicle with the CNG prep kit attached to the vehicle?

My reply: The only downside (other than the higher buy-in price) is the loss of cargo space (due to the CNG tanks) but this is no problem – or less of one – in a vehicle like the Transit, which does not have a trunk. So much space in this thing that unless you need it all, you should have plenty – even with the tanks. I’d go check one out and see the difference for myself and then decide.

I think being able to operate on either gas or CNG is superlatively advantageous. CNG stores much better – and burns much cleaner (extending service intervals for oil/filter changes, etc.). Also, gas may not be available – while CNG stores almost indefinitely – so as long as you have some in the tanks, you’re still mobile. You may even be able to rig/tap into home service if your house is plumbed for CNG. And I think you could probably run propane, too  – with a few adjustments.

I’d do it!

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