2010 Ford Transit Connect
Ford Motor Company is the only U.S. automaker to avoid bankruptcy. But they’re by no means assured of long term success. Part of their plan to prosper hinges on bringing their best overseas vehicles here. First to arrive is the Transit Connect van. Since 2003, some 600,000 Transit Connects have been sold in 58 countries. Its compact size appeals to small businesses. But will it connect with American entrepreneurs? Well, let’s load up and find out.
The 2010 Ford Transit Connect does indeed look narrow and quirky by American work van standards. But this Turkish-made front-wheel drive hauler is clearly a Ford truck- from the sharp-edged headlight stacks and understated three-bar grille to the F-150-style stepped front windows and side mirrors.
Even in top XLT trim, work-grey fender flares surround no-nonsense 15-inch steel wheels with plastic lug-nut covers. But, while styling won’t raise any pulses, the Transit Connect’s form follows its function to a ‘T.’
Indeed, the most striking feature is its short but tall proportions. With a wheelbase of 114.6 inches, it’s only 180.6 inches long overall. That’s three feet shorter than Ford’s E-Series full size van. But at 79.3 inches tall, it’s more than 10 inches taller than Ford’s last minivan, the Freestar.
That makes it ideal for small businesses that carry bulky items, like the tasty creations from our friends at Baltimore’s Charm City Cakes.
MARY ALICE YESKEY: We got the Ford Transit about six months ago, and the whole experience was really cool for us because it was truly custom made from start to finish. We couldn’t have designed a better vehicle to transport cakes. It’s awesome.
There are two body styles. The base cargo Van has no glass aft of the B-pillars, but windows can be added in the twin sliding side doors, the rear swing doors, or both. Optional are 255-degree split rear cargo doors with rubber bump stops.
In passenger Wagon form, windows are standard and seating is available for two, four, or five.
There’s an impressive 78.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind that second row. But fold it up, or don’t tick the option box, and that figure swells to 135.3 cubic feet. Payload capacity is a more than adequate 1,600 pounds.
The driver’s space is also work-focused: bland but roomy. There are echoes of Ford’s first-gen Focus here, with which the Transit Connect shares platform components.
Our XLT came with an in-dash computer featuring navigation, Internet access, Bluetooth, and wireless keyboard; perfect for staying in touch with the office. And above the windshield there is a useful storage shelf. Given the van’s limited rear visibility, the reverse-sensing system is another good choice.
While most Transit Connects abroad use diesel power, we’ll have to make do with a gasoline 2.0-liter I4 with 136 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. Our only transmission is a four-speed automatic. Still, Government Fuel Economy ratings are fine at 22 city, 25 highway. We managed 23.6 miles per regular gallon in mixed driving.
But the economy comes with a price. The Transit Connect strolls to 60 mph in 12.1 seconds, and covers the quarter-mile in 18.7 seconds at just 75 miles per hour. So, plan your merging and passing well in advance. On the other hand, 60 to 0 stops averaged an acceptable 129 feet, with a solid response.
Our van had optional Roll Stability Control. So, even with a simple torsion beam rear suspension, our Transit Connect felt light on its feet and never top-heavy through the slalom. Add in a tight 39-foot curb-to-curb turning diameter and the result is an easy-to-maneuver city hauler.
The base Transit Connect van starts at $21,475. The wagon begins at $21,830. Our well-equipped wagon ticketed for just under 25 grand. An electric-powered version will be coming to the States in 2010.
The 2010 Ford Transit Connect impressed us with its cargo space, efficiency, city-smart agility, and very useful, very cool job-site gadgets. And if the Transit Connect is a true indication of how other off-shore Fords will take to America, the company’s fortunes are bound to keep improving.
- Engine: 2.0-Liter I4
- Horsepower: 136
- Torque: 128 Lb Feet
- 0-60 MPH: 12.1 Seconds
- 1/4 Mile: 18.7 Seconds @ 75 MPH
- 60-0 MPH: 129 Feet
- EPA: 22 MPG City/ 25 MPG Highway
- Mixed Loop: 23.6 MPG
2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
Crossed Up Corolla Gets More Efficient
Toyota offers a hybrid powertrain in just about everything they make, so it did seem odd that last year, when they debuted an all-new SUV version of their long-time best-selling Corolla, a hybrid was nowhere to be found. Well, it didn’t take long for Toyota to correct that situation, delivering this Corolla Cross Hybrid for 2023.
With prices for everything seemingly going up daily, we can all use a little more cost efficiency in our lives. That’s a mission that Toyota has been undertaking for some time now and continues to do it with this 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid.
The Alabama-built Corolla Cross arrived just last year as Toyota’s attempt to bring their best-selling nameplate into the SUV era, and give them an additional entry into the most popular automotive segment going right now, small crossovers.
There are some RAV4 styling cues here, but the Corolla Cross is mostly its own deal, and the Hybrid is more than just a fuel efficient option, it has added performance too. So, it’s offered only in Toyota’s S line of trims S, SE, and XSE, where the standard Corolla Cross is available in base L, LE, and XLE.
There are some differences outside, most notably unique front and rear fasicas; the front with a much more aggressive look, with larger grille and blacked-out trim.
Black trim and logos in back too, along with a redesigned bumper; plus, you can optionally go 2-tone by adding black paint to the roof.
Great packaging has it feeling roomier inside than most small 5-seat utes, straddling the line between subcompact and compact. And seats are way more comfortable than your typical urban-minded utility.
In fact, the entire interior feels quite upscale, and the layout will be very familiar to those stepping up from an actual Corolla.
Those who put off buying a Corolla Cross until now will be rewarded with upgraded infotainment, as all Hybrid’s will come with Toyota’s latest 8-inch touchscreen multimedia system standard.
The Hybrid’s small battery is located under the rear seat, so there’s minimal loss of rom, with a good 21.5 cubic-ft. of cargo space available; expanding to 61.8 with rear seatbacks folded.
Getting to the heart of the matter, the Corolla Cross Hybrid’s fuel-sipping ways are courtesy of the 5th generation of Toyota’s Hybrid System which outputs a combined 196-horsepower through its trio of electric motors and naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine. One of those motors operating strictly the rear axle for standard all-wheel-drive.
At our test track, there was a nice little chirp of the tires off the line, but that’s where the excitement ended.
So while a 7.5-second trip to 60 may not raise your blood pressure, it’s a full 3-seconds quicker than the standard Corolla Cross we tested last year. We’ll take that!
CVT automatic means engine revs and engine noise both hang relatively high throughout the whole ¼-mile, which took us 15.6-seconds to complete, finishing at a reasonable 90 miles-per-hour.
The Hybrid also gets a “sport-tuned” suspension, and indeed it felt light and nimble through our cone course, very neutral too, with no noticeable understeer or oversteer. Steering was light but still provided good feedback. With some grippier tires, this would certainly give the best handlers in the segment a run for their money.
But the real reward comes in Government Fuel Economy Ratings which are 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined. We averaged a great 43.3 miles-per-gallon of Regular; that’s a 40% increase over the 30.9 miles-per-gallon we averaged in the standard Corolla Cross last year.
But, that does come at a cost, though it’s difficult to make direct comparisons with separate trim families, but pricing starts at $29,320 for the Hybrid, about 3-grand over a base all-wheel-drive non-hybrid. Top XSE comes in at $32,400.
As influential as Toyota is in spreading the hybrid doctrine, it was indeed odd that the Corolla Cross arrived last year without a hybrid option. Smartly, it didn’t take them long to right that wrong, as it was always part of the plan, and the Corolla Cross has benefitted from it greatly. The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is not just more efficient, it’s more capable, and a much better small utility all around.
- Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
- Horsepower: 196
- 0-60 mph: 7.5-seconds
- MW Fuel Economy: 43.3 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: e-CVT
- Torque: 139 lb-ft
- 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 90 mph
- EPA: 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined