Ford has unveiled its redesigned 2019 Transit Connect Wagon, a popular compact delivery van that's widely used by tradesmen, small businesses, and delivery services. The updated model features all-new powerplants to maximize efficiency and functionality, including a standard 2.0-liter, direct-injected four-cylinder engine with Auto Start-Stop connected to all-new 8-speed automatic. In addition, a class-exclusive 1.5-liter EcoBlue diesel engine and 8-speed automatic is available that’s expected to achieve a highway EPA rating of 30 mpg.
The new Transit Connect comes in two available wheelbases to handle five to seven passengers. Two sliding side doors make entering and exciting the vehicle very convenient. The seating can be easily reconfigured so the wagon can readily switch over to cargo duty,
Drivers will appreciate the Transit Connect’s handy suite of driver-assist technologies that includes standard Automatic Emergency Braking, Pre-Collision Assist, and Pedestrian Detection. Optionally available are a Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert plus a Lane Keeping System that alerts a driver if they are wandering outside of a lane and can gently provide steering input to stay in a lane. Available Adaptive Cruise Control enables detecting and pacing the car ahead while on cruise control, slowing as necessary so the car ahead is not overtaken.
Inside the Transit Connect, a new instrument panel features a digital driver information center in the cluster and an available 6.5-inch touch screen. Standard 4G LTE connectivity is provided that can connect up to 10 devices to the Internet, along with available SYNC 3 with Ford+Alexa functionality.
The Ram ProMaster City compact commercial van and wagon, awarded Green Car Journal’s 2017 Commercial Green Car of the Year™ at the 2016 San Antonio Auto & Truck Show, is ideally-sized for city use where maneuverability and versatility are key. The ProMaster City’s strong suit is offering the hauling and commercial-use capabilities desired by tradesmen, small businesses, and fleets combined with 21 city and class-leading 28 highway mpg. Both van and wagon iterations are powered by a 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder engine with efficiency-enhancing Multiair technology. A nine-speed speed automatic transmission is standard.
Interior space, important in commercial vans, is quite generous considering this Ram's compact exterior dimensions that are in tune with intended use in urban traffic. The floor between rear wheel wells is 48.4 inches, which means the pallets often used in commercial operations can be accommodated. Interior width above the wheel wells is a generous 60.4 inches.
The ProMaster City is equipped with two sliding side doors and rear 60/40 split doors that swing open to a maximum 180 degrees using a release button. The narrower rear door is positioned on the curb side, so curb access isn’t blocked when making deliveries. Access to the ProMaster City’s class-leading 131.7 cubic foot cargo area is simplified with the combination of these side and rear doors. Further functionality is provided with a payload capacity of 1,883 pounds and tow rating of 2,000 pounds.
ProMaster City’s Fiat-developed 2.4-liter Chrysler Tigershark four-cylinder is a rather sophisticated engine, at least by truck standards. Also used in other Chrysler products like the Chrysler 200, Dodge Dart, and Jeep Cherokee and Renegade, the engine features variable valve timing, variable valve lift technology, and a 10.0:1 compression ratio as well as Fiat's advanced Multiair technology. Chrysler is claiming a 0-30 mph time of 3.7 seconds, meaning more than adequate urban performance.
Drivers are provided a standard Uconnect 3.0 AM/FM radio that includes a media hub with USB and an auxiliary input. An optional package adds Uconnect 5.0 AM/FM with a five-inch touchscreen display, GPS navigation, integrated voice command with Bluetooth, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls. A Mopar Web Wi-Fi hotspot is optional to accommodate on-the-job connectivity.
Ram’s ProMaster City Tradesman Cargo Van starts at $23,495 with a multitude of work-related configurations available. The ProMaster City Wagon’s price of entry is an additional $1,000.
The new-for-the-U.S. midsize Mercedes-Benz Metris aims at filling business needs requiring something a bit smaller than the automaker’s popular Sprinter yet larger than a compact van. It's based on the Mercedes-Benz Vito model that’s been available in Europe and now mildly revised for American buyers. The Metris is definitely not a luxury vehicle, at least by Mercedes-Benz standards. Think of it as downsized version of the popular Sprinter van with the same rugged characteristics, but with a quieter and more compliant ride.
Mercedes-Benz is aiming at the very same need increasingly being fulfilled by an array of compact vans now on American highways – a more manageable physical footprint for business use in crowded urban areas, with the capability of meeting diverse cargo and people moving requirements. Plus, of course, there’s the imperative of accomplishing these goals in the most fuel-efficient way possible.
The Metris is fitted with two sliding side cargo doors and two traditional rear cargo doors. A passenger version with seating for up to eight is also offered. The cargo version can carry 186 cubic feet of cargo, has a 2,502 pound payload capacity, and can tow up to 4,960 pounds. It has a reasonable 38.7 foot turning diameter for in-town maneuverability and it can fit in a standard garage.
Power is supplied by a 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder engine offering 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft torque. It’s coupled to a seven-speed automatic transmission with standard shift paddles. An ECO Start/Stop is optional. The Metris cargo van delivers an EPA estimated 21 city and 24 highway mpg with the passenger version offering a slight drop to 20/23 mpg. The passenger version does offer enhanced functionality since its seats are removable to make way for cargo-hauling duties as needed.
Crosswind Assist, Attention Assist, and a load-adaptive Electronic Stability Program are standard on both cargo and passenger versions. The cargo version features six airbags while the passenger van features eight. A long list of advanced options is also available. These include convenience and safety features like Active Parking Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Collision Prevention Assist, and Blind Spot Assist, plus parking sensors and a rearview camera.
At 29,945 the Metris cargo van is about $2,500 less than its base Sprinter counterpart, with the $33,495 Metris passenger version coming in about $7,000 fewer greenbacks than its larger sibling. All in all, the Metris presents a pretty compelling case for businesses that like the Sprinter but have wished for something a bit more compact.