Admit it. You'd rather make a delivery in the Euro-chic Transit Connect over that paltry Econoline.
Ford has sold more than 600,000 Transit Connects across Europe, where skinny high-top vans work wonders on the continent's narrow city streets. Thanks to the Dodge/Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Americans are somewhat used to this style, but breaking the mold of the US commercial market is like trying to convince R.V. owners to buy minivans. It'll be tough at first, but Ford has finally recognized that its smaller, sleeker, and more fuel-efficient overseas models are an easy way to start making money again. (The Euro-spec Focus and Fiesta subcompact are coming in 2010.)
The Transit, shown in New York last year as a taxi concept, will debut at the Chicago auto show tomorrow and arrive at dealerships this summer. Ford claims 20 miles per gallon in the city, which should be a big improvement over the heavy-duty Econoline, which is exempt from EPA reporting. An electric version with a claimed 100-mile range will go on sale next year.
Two handy options: Tool Link, co-developed with DeWalt and ThingMagic of Cambridge, tracks cargo and tools with radio frequency identification tags, and an on-board computer allows Internet access, printing, and even remote access to an office PC.
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About Boston Overdrive
|Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
|Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
|John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
In the garage: Hyundai Sante Fe, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
|Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
In the garage: 1968 Buick Riviera, 1996 Buick Roadmaster, 1974 Honda CB450
|Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on About.com. He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
In the garage: Mazda 5, Dodge Neon
|George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
In the garage: Lifted 1999 Jeep Cherokee