When Ford introduced the latest iteration of its Transit Connect van at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, it promised two engines would be available — a 2.0-liter I4 gas engine and a 1.5-liter I4 diesel, the latter of which was aiming for at least 30 mpg highway. Now, it appears hopeful Transit Connect buyers will have to gun for the 30-mpg mark with the gas engine alone.
Ford has canceled the diesel Transit Connect in the US, Car and Driver reports, citing confirmation from a Ford spokesperson. According to the automaker, demand is what did the diesel in, or rather a lack thereof. Car and Driver ponders that tougher EPA certifications might have something to do with it, but Ford didn’t say anything about that.
Diesel might still be a popular go-juice in Europe, but the effects of Volkswagen’s Dieselgate scandal definitely hit the compression-ignition engine hard in the US, more or less finishing it off as the EPA cracked down on diesel-equipped vehicles, making it harder for an already niche passenger-car engine to make its way to the public.
The diesel I4 was slated to make about 120 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. Now, buyers will have to make do with a 162-hp, 144-lb-ft gas engine that returns an EPA-estimated 24 miles per gallon in the city and between 27 and 29 mpg on the highway. There’s also a 2.5-liter engine listed for the cargo van, but it’s unclear if that’s only offered for fleet purchases.
Ford also told Car and Driver that it has discontinued the short-wheelbase variant of the Transit Connect Wagon passenger variant, although it’s still available in cargo-van spec. The long-wheelbase version carries seating for six or seven.
The new Transit Connect is still a compelling van for those who don’t want to go full minivan and for those who need something small yet capable for a business. Automatic emergency braking is standard, and Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system is available, packing a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and Amazon Alexa connectivity. The 2019-model-year cargo van starts at $24,100 before destination, while the passenger version has a starting price just below $27,000, with prices rising for the 2020 model year.