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Discussion Starter #1
For those into "function", talk about something new to consider:

http://www.fordvehicles.com/transitconnect/

We were going out to lunch and happened to pass by the local Ford dealer, and a bright red Transit Connect was prominently displayed in the front lot. "That's one of those Ford Euro-thingies!" I exclaimed to Robyn. "Sort of a 'Sprinter Lite'!"

This is the first time we've seen one in the flesh. We briefly stopped to look it over. They had the base, cargo-only version at $21.5K. In researching it, they offer a 4- and 5-passenger wagon version for not a lot more. 22/25 MPG rating.

THIS, finally, is a direct Element competitor, for those of us who bought our E's for the function and ease of care. Very roomy, lots of room for "stuff", utilitarian layout, NO CARPETING (somebody else finally gets it!). Cargo area is nearly big enough to fit a conventional double bed. Main downside in the comparison was no 4WD or M/T options available.

We're a long ways from being in the market, but if something happened to our E, this would make the replacement decision much harder.
 

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Mike i have been looking at of these as a second delivery vehicle to go with my Sprinter. Only downside for me is the lack of a diesel engine. Since most of my deliveries are in the city a gas engine may not cut it.

From what i have seen so far the Transit will be a big hit for Ford.
 

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Very nice. Lack of AWD and MT would kill the deal for me, tho.

Did Honda ever try to market the Element as a light business truck?

Not to my knowledge. But a stripper/panel version ala the HHR or Caravan C/V may have gone a long way to keep E sales from sagging.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Who's going to be the first on their block to own a vehicle made in Turkey. Turkey. Really.

I made the mistake of looking, and now I'm really annoyed. The Brits have the Transit Connect in three flavors of turbo-diesel, all with 5-speed manual. I think what I'm gonna do is make a pest of myself at the local Ford dealers and tell them, "Hey, I'd buy one right now if you had the diesel with manual transmission... like they have in Europe. Gas and auto? Forget it."
 

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Who's going to be the first on their block to own a vehicle made in Turkey. Turkey. Really.

I made the mistake of looking, and now I'm really annoyed. The Brits have the Transit Connect in three flavors of turbo-diesel, all with 5-speed manual. I think what I'm gonna do is make a pest of myself at the local Ford dealers and tell them, "Hey, I'd buy one right now if you had the diesel with manual transmission... like they have in Europe. Gas and auto? Forget it."
What's the difference? We already drive vehicles made everywhere else in the world. As long as it's well-built, it's no different than is driving something built in Mexico. Besides, I doubt Ford's ready to spend a ton of money to build a plant in North America for what's likely going to be a reasonably low-volume vehicle. It's likely going to be a niche vehicle here, meant to be easy to order and easy to customise to need after purchase, so offering a bunch of engines and transmissions would destroy the profitability.

I actually asked about the engine offering, and the idea behind the small gas engine is purely cost-of-operation savings for the owner. Those who would be hauling huge loads would want an E-Series van for both the engine and payload capacity. The engine doesn't need a ton of acceleration power since when you're loaded you're not going to be zipping in and out of traffic anyway. And, making deliveries is mostly a stop-and-go endeavor, so having a smaller engine makes for fuel savings. Having heard the rationale, and considering what is the intended market for the Transit Connect, I have to say I think Ford's made the right decisions.
 

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ford transit

anyone drive one yet? all i have seen is the commercial version in white. i stopped and looked in the windows and it looks very basic but maybe a possibility. would like to see one next to an element, bet the E looks like a luxury vehicle then.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Gosh, that's the idea. A basic hauler. Basic basic basic. Crank windows, manual locks, no carpeting. The XL version has exactly that - manual windows and locks. Less to go wrong, for one thing.

But that's us. We don't understand the preoccupation with the living-room-on-wheels. Give us supportive and semi-comfortable seating for the long drives, clear, logical controls, and reasonable heat and A/C and we're good. All the rest is so much fluff.
 

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anyone drive one yet? all i have seen is the commercial version in white. i stopped and looked in the windows and it looks very basic but maybe a possibility. would like to see one next to an element, bet the E looks like a luxury vehicle then.
That is the one new Ford product I have not yet driven. The reason, though, that you've only seen a commercial version is that, to my knowledge, there's only a commercial version. It's likely not going to be marketed as a mass-market family vehicle, since the Flex is a well-appointed seven-passenger people mover. The Transit Connect is, from everything I've seen, meant to be a low-cost vehicle for small businesses. The ones I've seen have been outfitted for things like a Kayak livery business, a mobile CPR-training company, and a small catering company.
 

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Let me preface this with, aside from my element, I am, by nature, a Ford man. (84 Escort, 86 Crown Vic, and 94 Ranger that I owned for 15 years!) So, I am inclined to prefer Fords.

This thing is UGLY, and not in the quirky-interesting way the E is. It is badly proportioned (no front and big middle and rear) just like the disastrously UGLY Pacer. As a light commercial vehicle, it makes great sense and cudos to Ford for finally bringing them into the USA (I'd rethink the diesel option, though- could be a real money maker for them...) As a competitor to the E, though, I just don't see it; if it had been available this year, I'd never have even looked at it- the Ranger yes (and we did!). In other words, I'd still have bought ElsiE.

The only real competitior to the E that I've seen is the FJ Cruiser, which is more expensive, larger, and has Toyota's rock-hard seating to go along with its decidedly more rugged off-roading capabilities- even it is only sorta a competitor to the E.
 

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Put me in for a diesel, AWD and options for a 5 speed manual or 5 speed auto and I'd buy one... If they discontinued the Element.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Knockoff. The Kangoo is built in France and Argentina. Nissan also rebadges the Kangoo as the Kubistar.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
We made an excuse to go back by the dealership after lunch today to get a better sense of the interior. Two words: "horse manure".

I kid you not. The "new car smell" was unlike anything I've ever run across, and had the distinct fragrance of a barn. I think it was mostly the headliner.

Other oddities - strange, hexagonal key. The shaft looked almost like an Allen wrench. Hood release was by a keyed lock behind the nose emblem. Rear floor was perfectly flat but raised, with a 4" drop to the front floor. With the seats fully forward, the rear space was 5' wide by 7' long.

Salesperson knew very little about it, but suggested that it is slated for US manufacture starting with the 2012 models. I'm 100% positive that it would lose some of the oddities like the nonstandard key and the key lock for the bonnet.

We didn't drive it. I might drop by another dealership by myself for test drive intel.

EDIT: I should have done more research sooner. 100% electric version is planned for US release in late 2010. This is going to be interesting.
 

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The "odd" key is standard fare over in Europe and has been for years, and it's not just Ford of Europe that uses them. The interior smell is pretty odd. I can't say that the ones I sat in had that smell, but then again, the ones I've seen have been going all over the place for various launch programs. I'm not a huge fan of the "new car" smell anyway, but I'm wondering if the odor you encountered was related to the whole flap a few years ago about how "new car" smell was really a collection of really bad chemicals that would melt your brain and make you flip out and kill a sixth grade class and cause Jupiter to explode if you looked in that general direction. I can imagine that the newer chemical mixture they use (and I'm sure one's mandated by the EU since they love regulating that sort of thing) that's non-toxic also smells funky.

And yes, the Transit Connect will be Ford's first entry into the Battery-Electric market, followed by the 2011 Ford Focus BEV.

If you get a chance to drive it, let us know what you think.
 

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Fiat, Citroen, Peugeot and VW and probably other have their versions of this type of vehicle in Europe and other parts of the world.

I don't know about the others but the Fiat is also made in Turkey as well as Brasil, Russia and 'Nam - I had a chance to experience one in Brasil last year and the Fiat Doblo is pretty neat and offered in "civilian" trim and can be had with AWD and I think a couple different engines including a Diesel. I was hoping that Fiat might bring it over here with the Chrysler deal, maybe even production but probably not.
 

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I looked at one on Thursday, it was the XLT, had rear seats for 3 and rear windows(a must) the seat fold up against the drivers but do not come out. It drove really nice, its about as low to the ground as the Element, but having the sliding doors will make loading a hell of alot better . the rear doors open all the way(barn doors)and can fold around,Sticker was $22,358...No Carpet, No 270watt Stereo(just Ford radio cd, gps and computer extra(websurfing capabilities))Only color they had was white, and it had hupcaps. :lol: It could be a really cool car for someone that needs to haul stuff...Dogs, Bikes, Kayaks, etc....:)
 

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The dealer I pass to/from school has a few of them. I'm curious but haven't had time to stop in and poke around in one. From what i've been reading (and i've been reading a LOT about them), it seems like a great car.
 
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