The work van has gone minivan. Ford has announced the Transit Connect XLT Premium Wagon. The addition of a rear seat in this package transforms the originally two-seat cargo van into available space for five. Ford already offered rear seats as part of a "wagon" package on the Ford Transit Connect, but the XLT Premium Wagon version takes this industrial vehicle much further into domestic territory.
Because the basic Transit Connect's interior stops at the front seats behind, the wagon packaging also adds trim pieces for the rear seat passengers. This may seem insignificant, but when even the wheel arches are bare metal, a little surface covering can offer a lot more comfort and sound insulation.
Accommodations specific to the XLT Premium Wagon that make the second row somewhat more hospitable include flip-open third row windows and rear door glass. The extra glass instead of bare metal sides does mean this work van has more breakable material to watch out for when loading large items, and it gives better access to prying eyes. The upside is that it gives the rear passengers a much greater comfort by not sitting in the back of a dark van.
A few of the XLT Premium Wagon's standard features go beyond basic comforts. Items such as standard privacy glass and rear view camera help the package earn its "premium" designation.
The Transit Connect is meant to be a fuel efficient and/or urban friendly alternative to the large work van. Adding the ability to carry more than one extra person not only allows to possibly carry the work crew in one vehicle, but the van can also now double as the family hauler if so desired. The XLT Premium Wagon may find a home with independent contract workers such as plumbers and interior decorators who currently need two vehicles to cover their industrial and personal needs. Basically this could be that van that goes to work, but stops by soccer practice on the way home.
The extra weight added by the extra glass and interior fittings should be negligible. So the Transit Connect's 22/25 city/highway fuel economy from its 136 hp 2.0-liter four cylinder engine will likely not be greatly affected.