2015 Ford Transit Connect Wagon Review

2015 Ford Transit Connect Wagon Review
Doesn’t it kind of look like Darth Vaders mask? We called it Vader.

The lease is almost up on our 2015 Ford Transit Connect Wagon which means its time to reflect on the joy this vehicle brought one of us.

The truth is its Andreas daily driver. She has put 18k of the 21k miles on the Transit. She would love to tell you how much she loves this car but she is not the one who likes it. So sad.

I am the one who likes it and suggested we get it in the first place. I am also the one who writes about stuff. It is I who must tell you about the 2015 Ford Transit Connect Wagon.

Why?

Quite simply, smart people get what the Transit Connect Wagon is about – versatility. We turned in a 2013 Ford Edge with the 2.0 Ecoboost motor before leasing the Transit Connect. It was fuel-efficient and quick for an SUV. Surprisingly the Edge did not have that much cargo room with the rear seat up.

She’s short, so lifting the infant car seat and locking it into the base in a parking garage while trying not to swing the door open and hit the car next to her was a delicate procedure. Sure enough she was pregnant with our second child for the last couple months of that lease trying to lift our first-born into a toddler car seat. She did not enjoy doing that in the Ford Edge.

With the dual sliding doors and small footprint the Transit Connect would be easier to get babies in and out of in parking garages and everywhere else on Earth. Those two qualities alone were reason to get the Transit over an suv. We were brand new parents which meant we did not know what we did or did not need in a car. The Marketing Machine told us to get something with a lot of space for baby stuff and that’s what we did.

Dual Sliding Doors 2015 Ford Transit Connect Wagon
Baby stuff everywhere.

7 Seater or 5 Seater?

“You have a 7 month old and you’re having another baby in 6 months so of course you’re getting the 7 seater.” – said everybody.

“Wrong.” – said Brad Gibala

This notion that you must have a huge car because you have kids is silly. Not once during our two years of leasing the Transit Connect did we feel cramped or needing more space.

We took a trip to Gull Lake with my golf clubs, bags, stroller, baby bouncer, and a portable crib. What we realized after a couple of months of ownership was the Transit Connect might be more than we needed. The 5 seater worked just fine.

Which Engine?

We were set on the 1.9L Ecoboost from the get go. It was listed at 2 more mpg’s highway and 1 more city than the 2.5L. It added $4 to the payment for the Ecoboost. We had a good experience with the 2.0L Ecoboost in the Edge so we went with it. Only downside was it needed premium gas to hit those mpg numbers. We put regular gas in occasionally but the Transit would run sluggishly. It ran so much better with premium. Lets call the extra mpg’s with the Ecoboost and the premium gas a wash.

What We Liked

Transit Connects versatility is hard to come by in small vehicles. The Ford Edge I previously had was 15 inches longer but the Transit Connect had almost 10 more cubic feet of cargo space (68.9 to 77.1) due to the high roof. We were able to put the kids stroller in there standing up. Kind of felt like we had to or it would look like we were wasting space.

Stroller In Ford Transit Connect Wagon
Enough Said

The Transit Connect was easy to park in Compuwares basement parking garage. Since the Transit is basically a Ford Focus with a high roof it carries over the small car feel. The car’s responsive, nimble, and light which made maneuvering in Detroit and nearby Royal Oak easy to do.

The seats were in an upright high position making it easy to get in and out of along with giving you good visibility. Never once did I feel cramped driving or riding in the Transit. The huge windows may have something to do with that as it felt like driving in a fishbowl.

Front Seat 2015 Ford Transit Connect Wagon
Slide Right In

Loved the lift gate. Made getting things in and out of the cargo area so easy. The damn thing must be 7 feet off the ground when open. You can stand underneath it and use it as an umbrella when tailgating if need be. The low bumper height made for an excellent seat too.

If there was one downside to the lift gate it was you had to check the ceiling above you. Our garage is small. If we pulled in far enough we could open the tailgate in the garage. Otherwise we’d have to gently open it and rest it on the overhang.

Liftgate Garage Ceiling 2015 Ford Transit Connect Wagon
Hope you have a taller garage than us.

 

We averaged 26.3 mpg combined which is ok. I did see 29.4 mpg on the highway at 70 mph on our longer trips.

MPG 2015 Ford Transit Connect Wagon Ecoboost

Reverse camera which is standard on most cars these days was nice but sometimes unnecessary because you could stand and lean into the driver’s seat (due to the high roof line) and back up.

The door cup holders were huge. I would put a water bottle in there every time I drove.

The overhead compartment was nice for things like boxes of tissues or baby wipes but we really did not use it that much.

Not once was a babies head smacked off the Transit Connect when getting them into their car seats. Well, maybe once but definitely a lot less than most cars and small suvs that parents own. There is so much room to maneuver them into the seats and the roof is so tall that it makes smacking their heads on the car hard to do.

Not So Much

I believe cars made today are so much more awesome than cars made a decade ago which means there really is nothing to complain about. “OMG – this car sucks. It doesn’t have heated cup holders.” – says whiners.

The Transit Connect does not have heated cup holders as it’s a barebones manually operated kind of car which I liked (Andrea dealt with it). We leased it so anything that went wrong (nothing yet) would be covered by Ford. I prefer to not have things like power sliding doors as that is one more thing that can break forcing me to take the car in to get fixed. Even though I would not pay for repairs I’d still have to take it in.

The ride was a bit bouncy due to the low profile tires and high roof line. It felt as if the car was lunging due to those two things. After a month of driving we got used to what was really nothing. It just rode different from the Edge I turned in.

There was only a couple of times when adults were in the back seat instead of babies. It happened on a road trip to Chicago with my brother and his girlfriend. Both said the back seats were very firm which made for an uncomfortable ride. We had the cloth interior which was firmer than leather. I asked them if they would like to walk home. They said no.

The visors are ridiculously huge, clown like if you will, and they had to be because of the front windshield. There was so much sunlight getting into the cabin that it would blind us. You have to keep sunglasses in the car. We had to tint the front windows to cut down on some of the sun. Otherwise it would cook the side of your face.

I would have to take our garage door opener off the visor when it was sunny as the visor would not stay in place. The garage door opener would start hitting the windshield after hitting a couple of bumps. Ten seconds of metal tapping glass is all I could take and the opener would be put in the overhead compartment.

Felt bad for my 2.5 year old when the sun is out in the morning when driving into Detroit as the sun blasts his face in his car seat. Even with the visor down there is nothing you can do. I tell him it’s not the suns fault its sunny but his fault because he throws his sunglasses and hat I gave him on the floor. This does not please him at all.

I’ve had to hold my right hand up to block the sun from hitting his eyes as I drove down Woodward. If he was only an inch taller too. Our 1.5 year old is rear facing still and has no clue whats going on. She eats her gold-fish and stays quiet.

We also bought Stick and Peel window shades for both rear seat windows. The rear windows came tinted from the factory but they were not that dark. The additional layer of tint from the Stick and Peels provided extra shade for both of kids so they would not get hot back there.

Baby Car Seat 2015 Ford Transit Connect Wagon
Look at the windshield. Now picture this sleeping baby now being a 2.5 year old facing forward with the morning sun blasting his face. You would not be happy either.

What I’d Like To See

I know the new one is out but Ford needs my help for 2018 and beyond.

ARMREST!!! – It needs one that swivels. Feels weird not having one in that driving position. Its a van. It needs an armrest.

“Stow-N-Go” rear seats like the Chrysler Town & Country – This feature is available in the long wheel base but what about the shorties? The tumble seats kind of suck. I know this is a barebones car but when you tumble the seats they are still in the way. It just looks odd. I tumbled or folded them only once as the kids car seats were always in. There has to be a way to design a rear seat in the 5 seater that folds flat into the floor. Even if it means giving up some floor space.

Hybrid or Hybrid Energi Version – We were seriously considering leasing the 2016 Ford C-Max Energi as our commuting car and having a second larger vehicle for weekend trips / Home Depot runs (moms letting me keep dad’s F-150 at the house right now) but she is not ready to do so with two toddlers and little cargo room. You know what does have a ton of cargo room for a big electric battery? Yup – the Ford Transit Connect Wagon.

A hump in the cargo area like the C-Max Energi would still have mountains of space left over. The Engineers at Ford could surely position the battery behind the rear seats so those seats could now be folded flat. Come on Ford. Get with it. Make a Ford Transit Connect Wagon Energi. I’d get one immediately.

Bigger tires on the fancier wheels – The Ecoboost option came with fancier wheels which meant low profile tires. They weren’t bad but thicker tires would be better in reducing the bounces. We rotated the tires once in our two years of leasing and they still have plenty of tread left.

In Summary

When our lease is up we will not be getting another Ford Transit Connect Wagon. It looks like we will be getting a 2017 Ford Escape Titanium. Not nearly as versatile as the Transit but for at least two more years we will not need it to be.

What I thought to be odd about the Transit Connect with it being a minimalist type of car was that the lease payment was $30 higher than a fully loaded Escape Titanium. I would think the Transit to be the same price or less since it does not have leather, premium radio, or built-in navigation. I get the Z Plan as my Dad retired from Ford. It is not a coincidence me mentioning only Ford vehicles in this review. I would be an idiot to not take advantage of the discount.

The Transit was extremely helpful in transporting babies and all the stuff you think you need when you’re new parents. Slide the doors open, throw them in, and then shut the door. No balancing act with doors in parking lots and no lifting babies in. Our oldest is capable of climbing into his car seat and by the middle of July our youngest will be facing forward. Having sliding doors is not a necessity anymore.

Once you get over how awesome it looks you will appreciate the Transit Connects versatility. It shines in urban areas with short commutes. On long road trips you might be taking an extra pit stop or two to stretch out. This is not a deal breaker as you will not be able to find a vehicle of its size where you can bring that much gear with you. I never tried to take out the rear seats but you can take them out in ten minutes. Imagine how much recreational gear you can bring if it’s just two people with the back seats out. After getting to your destination you could take the gear out and sleep in the Transit if desired.

When we picked up the Transit Connect our salesman said he had only sold or leased two others in the 5 months it was available. This does not surprise me as Americans are stupid when it comes to purchasing or leasing cars. I was elated when I heard Ford was going to start bringing some of their European cars over here including the Transit. Well, maybe not the boxy Transit prior to the 2015 one. I liked the concept but it indeed was ugly. Ours at least looked ok. I mean awesome.

We just do not need big trucks, cars, or suvs here. The problem is Americans buy or lease cars based on the one time a year they need a big vehicle (camping, towing a boat, etc.). What they really need is something utilitarian like the Transit Connect Wagon that is decent on gas, fits in any parking spot, and can satisfy 95% of their transportation needs. For the other 5% they need to borrow or rent something.

That’s all I got. As you can tell we’ve I’ve been very happy with the Ford Transit Connect Wagon. But come on Ford. Get on the Transit Connect Wagon Energi already.

About the Author: Brad Gibala

Shreds Gnar. Hall & Oates Fan. Practicing Libertarian. Beachbody Coach. Detroit-ish. ContactStart HereAboutRecommends

2 Comments

  1. I would add the transit also needs some bells and whistles added if people want them. Oh, and please make the seats softer!!!

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