Minivans excel at hauling a household’s price of individuals and cargo, and when it comes time to maneuver a baby right into a dorm room, they are a first rate stand-in for one thing extra devoted, like a cargo van. However what if you would like one thing that swaps the roles and emphasizes the van in minivan? That is the place the Ford Transit Join is available in.

Refreshed for the 2019 mannequin yr, the Ford Transit Join affords a compelling bundle on paper, however the execution falls brief. Having just lately pushed each the cargo and passenger variants, I discovered it is easy to inform the place this automobile’s priorities lie.

Cargo: Simple-peasy haulin’

Earlier than sliding into the extra family-friendly variant of Transit Join, I discover myself schlepping the cargo van variant from Michigan to Wisconsin and again, participating within the nice American pastime of interstate furnishings hauling.

Transferring issues within the Transit Join is a breeze. With none type of panels inside, there are all kinds of cutouts and crevices that make nice attachment factors for bungee cords, along with the ground’s built-in tie-downs. The clamshell doorways open vast sufficient to remain out of the best way, and the ensuing area is cavernous sufficient to simply load in a dresser or two. It isn’t good, although, because it has hassle accommodating a taller classic headboard; should you plan on transferring bigger items, the full-size Transit nonetheless reigns supreme.

With the van loaded to the brim, it is time to head again to Michigan. Except it is a fleet particular, each Transit Join comes outfitted with the identical 2.Zero-liter I4 gasoline engine producing 162 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque. It has no downside shoving the empty cargo van on top of things in an honest period of time, however passing and merging requires a bit extra thought when the again is loaded up. The EPA charges this front-wheel-drive van at 24 miles per gallon metropolis and 27 mpg freeway. The primary quantity is simple to satisfy, and the second is simple to beat — till it is absolutely loaded, natch.

As a cargo van, the Transit Join is a tricky act to beat, and it is a lot simpler to forgive issues like a loud inside right here.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

My tester’s $295 fastened rear glass makes it simpler to alter lanes, however with the cargo maintain packed to the brim, the dearth of facet glass (though accessible) leaves me utilizing solely the facet mirrors, that are adequately sized for such a process. Fortunately, there’s loads of tech to assist out. This van is provided with a $350 driver help bundle that provides lane-keep help and computerized excessive beams, in addition to a $295 rear parking sensor bundle and customary computerized braking. Blind-spot monitoring affords extra peace of thoughts for $575, nevertheless it’s not outfitted right here. Since it is a small van, it is fairly simple to maneuver in tight confines, making it nice for city tradesmen and the like.

Whereas I might outline its on-road demeanor nearly as good, it is price mentioning that it is good solely in comparison with different small cargo vans. There are not any panels behind the entrance two seats, so the cabin is loud at most speeds, and when it is unladen, the Transit Join is jumpy over large bumps and freeway enlargement joints. As soon as it is crammed up, although, the trip smooths out, feeling only a bit higher bolted collectively than, say, a Ram ProMaster Metropolis.

Most cargo vans supply little or no in the best way of in-car experiences for the driving force, which is smart, since they’re work automobiles. However my tester comes outfitted with a $995 choice that provides Ford’s Sync three infotainment system on a 6.5-inch touchscreen. It isn’t terribly massive, nevertheless it’s as purposeful as ever, providing up a smart structure with ample responsiveness. With Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and satellite tv for pc radio on board, there are many methods to remain entertained on an extended journey. The one actual shock is the facet mirrors, which you’ll’t manually regulate from contained in the van — I needed to lean outdoors and nudge them to the precise place.

The 2019 Transit Join cargo van affords higher appears and driving dynamics than its prime competitor from Ram, nevertheless it’s not priced by way of the roof. The bottom XL trim with an extended wheelbase rings in at $25,100 earlier than the $1,195 vacation spot cost. With a variety of creature-comfort and quality-of-life upgrades, my tester lands at an honest $29,660 out the door.

Wagon: The veneer begins to peel

It would not take a lot time with the 2019 Ford Transit Hook up with suss out its critical potential as a compact cargo van. In passenger-oriented Transit Join Wagon type, although, it is rather less compelling.

It is easy to inform the 2 aside. The Transit Join Wagon has three full rows of seats seen from outdoors, and the entire shebang appears rather less utilitarian normally. It is nonetheless very van-ish, foregoing the sleeker strains of car-based minivans just like the Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Pacifica. The tailgate can also be totally different, eschewing the side-hinged cargo doorways in favor of a single-piece trunk you need to elevate up. It is easy to hoist up, however it is going to undoubtedly current points in shorter garages or in tight parallel parking areas.

For those who solely must fold down the third row for, say, hauling mulch, you are left with this semiawkward flooring. Decreasing the second row fixes that downside.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The 2 rows of rear seats, whereas not detachable with out some wrenching, do supply a intelligent storage answer if passengers aren’t current. The second row collapses and slides ahead, and folding down the third row to match creates a barely raised however flat load flooring. It isn’t as capacious because the cargo van, nevertheless it’s surprisingly shut. That mentioned, my tester’s completed inside means tie-down areas are more durable to search out, nevertheless it’ll nonetheless work as a dual-purpose van to some extent.

Driving the Transit Join Wagon is not all that totally different from driving the cargo variant. It lacks the on-road demeanor of the Pacifica or Odyssey, sustaining an above-average mixture of wind and street noise. The 215/55R16 Continental all-season tires that wrap round my Titanium-trim tester’s alloy wheels are fairly thick, absorbing heavier bumps and dips within the pavement, however the physique continues to be fairly energetic on roads that weren’t paved yesterday. It is a big-enough van on small-enough wheels, in spite of everything.

The remainder of the Transit Join Wagon’s driving expertise is not very enthralling, both. Regardless of packing the identical powertrain because the cargo van, my tester would not really feel prefer it has its act collectively fully. The usual eight-speed computerized transmission clunks by way of each upshifts and downshifts, unsettling the trip. The automated stop-start is nearly at all times herky-jerky, too, resulting in a typically disagreeable driving expertise. Acceleration takes a while, with downshifts arriving after a brief delay, requiring loads of thought on my half earlier than committing to a lane change. I do not know if it is the additional weight of the elements from the passenger conversion, however this van feels markedly pokier than the cargo variant. Its gas economic system is strong, although, having no downside returning 1 or 2 mpg greater than its EPA-estimated 29 mpg freeway score.

There are another ergonomic quirks in right here, too. Along with the difficult trunk, the rearview mirror is mounted so excessive that it is troublesome to regulate with out leaving my seat, turning fine-tuning right into a little bit of a guessing sport. The solar visors are big and troublesome to push into their highest place, additionally. These points are distinctive to the Transit Join Wagon, given its cargo-friendly form.

Sync three is at all times a welcome addition, providing each customary smartphone mirroring and loads of functionality by itself.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

However, whereas the Transit Join Wagon’s driving expertise leaves loads to be desired, the cargo van’s tech is simply nearly as good on this human-oriented type. On the highest Titanium trim, Sync three with embedded navigation is customary, providing aggressive tech that may stand subsequent to any fashionable minivan. Automated braking, keyless entry and computerized local weather management are all customary, however the two entrance USB ports are sadly the one ones on supply. I’m an enormous fan of the centrally mounted wi-fi machine charging cubby, which is massive sufficient to accommodate Apple’s largest telephones. My tester additionally contains distant begin, a $495 choice, nevertheless it’s weirdly related to a separate keychain dongle as a substitute of residing as a button on the distant.

Automated braking stays the one customary security system, however a number of can be found. My tester is additional kitted out with adaptive cruise management ($795), energetic parking help ($895) and a premium bundle ($1,475) that provides blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep help, parking sensors and a panoramic fastened glass roof. The mix of techniques works nicely, holding the lane nicely and having no downside adjusting its pace to the move of site visitors.

All the way down to brass tacks

Whereas the lesser-equipped Transit Join Wagon begins at $26,845 earlier than the $1,195 vacation spot cost, the Titanium rings in greater at $31,595. With my tester’s vast swath of choices, the value strikes even greater to a shocking $37,010. That places the Wagon at about the identical value as midtier trims of minivans just like the Chrysler Pacifica and Honda Odyssey, whereas providing a bit extra customary gear and superior metropolis gas economic system.

Except you actually need a cargo van now and again, although, I might suggest skipping over the Transit Join Wagon. The tradeoffs in ergonomics, driving dynamics and second-and-third-row tech make it exhausting to suggest for anybody who will use it nearly completely because the household truckster. However it’s mighty succesful at hauling, and as a plain ol’ cargo van, the Transit Join will not allow you to down.

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