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OK, 1200 miles or so on my van now. My opinion? In spite of a few issues that are less-than-ideal, I have no regrets. Actually, I love this thing!

In other threads I talk about some mods I've made, and there will probably be others. But so far....

The Good:

The pleasant driving characteristics. In an online review the driver said this vehicle felt a bit top heavy. Really? Have you ever driven a pick-up? This thing feels like a sports car to me after my last 3 Nissan 2WD 4-cyl. Frontiers. I whip around corners and on-ramps at speed (no cargo). It feels like a go cart.

Once you learn where the back axle is located (so you can avoid dragging the rear wheels up over curbs when cornering) you can shoehorn this tight-turning bug into just about any space that's wide enough to contain it. You feel like you can execute 90 degree turns from a standstill. And I never would have imagined that a tiny-screened back-up camera would have had much real-world usefulness, but once you learn how to use it, and begin trusting it, you can back out of parking spots with confidence.

The doors! Oh the doors! Doors everywhere. You don't even have to bend over to place or remove common cargo like groceries. And you will be the envy of many who watch as you pull open one of the sliders in a tight parking lot, while they are manhandling their massive hinged doors to avoid crashing into the vehicle next to them. Never before have I felt like I was showing off just by opening a door! It also reveals it's commercial intent every time you open the door and just stand up to exit.

There's no denying the massive view...you feel like you've booked a tour on a Rocky Mountain Vista-Liner! (you WILL pay for it when you try to clean the inside windshield). I also like to drive around town with both front windows down. It's surprisingly pleasant until you get up near 50 MPH.

The sliding Sun visors. Yes, I didn't know they did it in the first week. I was accustomed to a slide-out tab in my Frontiers. I thought the visors just swung over. One morning I was driving with the early Sun coming into the driver's side and was shielding my eyes with my hand. I was imagining how I was going to have to live with this shortcoming and I reached up and grabbed the visor, accompanied with the thought, "If only these things would slide back..........." tugging at it at that moment. It was like my thoughts had manifested in reality. The visor slide back to the rear and blocked out the Sun! For the next mile I laughed at how ignorant I was, and how I had just been saved from a life of annoyance and discomfort. Watch out though. There are those who have whacked themselves in the head with these huge paddles, and those who are going to whack themselves in the head with them.

For a man...having that massive cargo area behind the front seats is akin to a woman toting around a massive Prada handbag. You can put just about everything you can think of in it (I'm using it like a pickup, not as a commercial vehicle).

The tiny digital readout panel above the gauges and speedometer. At first you think it's an inane idea that is silly and necessary. Then you discover that it's really hard to see the actual steam gauge speedo except at night when the lights are on, and you really do need it. You think it was an afterthought to remedy the poorly readable steam gauges. Then you begin to realize that reading your speed off the digital readout is actually quicker and better than a dial and you begin to prefer it.

The Bad:

The bare-boned interior does leave much to be desired in terms of both climate control and road noise. Without question, I feel it's the biggest price to pay. It can be ameliorated to some degree, but not with ease, and at some cost. The noise from rough surfaces can be pretty intrusive. I HAVE forgotten about my wife's rude comments about having bought a hearse...or HALF a truck. I now imagine I'm driving around in one of the Enterprise's shuttle craft. I HAVE been heard to say that I now have the capacity to not only deliver bodies to the funeral parlor - I also have space to deliver the flowers too.

The unfortunate lack of rear ventilation, sometimes forcing use of the AC when you wouldn't need it otherwise. Some sort of simple exhaust vent in the rear could at least offer some flow-through air movement when on the move, even when parked, but I have not found a minimal and aerodynamic solution I could accept, that doesn't look and act like a camper accessory. Ford really dropped the ball by not fitting opening second row windows.

The unfortunate Sync system. But what would you expect from Microsoft, who developed it? It's voice control works half the time due to background noise interference, or inability to distinguish your speech. The menu system is unintuitive and sometimes lacking in it's ability to utilize the features of your phone. Bluetooth and hard-wired connectivity is actually very good, but I cannot get the Bluetooth system to connect to any Bluetooth equipped device except my iPhone. It refuses to recognize a Bluetooth-equipped Nano for example.

 

All-in-all the shortcomings in this vehicle are acceptable for the daily driver if you recognize that it's really built for commerce. If you like the utility of a pickup and are willing to accept a lesser comfort and trim level, you might find this van to be surprisingly capable, and in many respects a much more convenient universal hauler.

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Drives like a golf cart.  Pretty much on the money.  Compared to the E-250 @ work, and my personal F-150 sitting on a 6" lift kit, this van handles like a dream  I can make u-turns and park it just about anywhere.  Honestly, the turning radius and handling are more like a small car.  The only thing really noticeable to me was that I get to sit higher in the cockpit in comparison to my little 2 door Honda.  

 

I notice that you too have an XL.  So I'm guessing that you must be riding in the comfort of plastic floors, cloth seats like a Dodge K Car, and a headliner that probably has no insulation between it and the roof.  Mine came with an AM/FM radio only.  From what you've written about the Sync system, I'm glad that I didn't opt in for it.  The obvious drawback for me, is the lack of power.  Maybe the 2.5 liter Duratec is a step up from the 2.0 liter Duratec.  Maybe I'm just used to a V8.  This people mover, for me, is replacing an Explorer with a 5.0 engine.  I am living in fear of the day when I load up the back with cases of beverages, and can't get home from Costco.  I believe that this van could easily load more than it could carry.  I'm already trying to do the math in my head as to how much a case of Coca Cola weighs, and how many cases would put me at the maximum payload of this car.  A buddy of mine had an epic failure with cases of Snapple in a Honda Pilot.  I don't drink Snapple.  I drink Pabst Blue Ribbon, which Costco now sells.  

 

Since I'm used to riding every day in a medium duty flatbed truck, the ride quality in just about any car is preferable.  At this price point, I knew that I was not going to be floating on air, like a 70's Cadillac Pimp Mobile with white wall tires and wire rims.  For me, this is a basic vehicle, and I did not think that I was going to get and extra $10,00 worth of car, by buying a Titanium.  Some of the features of the Titanium package were completely not relevant to me or my use of the van; such as 17" rims, color match bumpers, programmable keys, and a skylight.  I couldn't actually afford it either.  I figured that I could buy the XL in cash, or finance the difference for a Titanium.  But at the Titanium price point, I would probably have bought another car.  I was not spending that kind of money to drive a Transit Connect.  

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LOL! Good points. I'm old and well past the car ego trip days. As a professional whose income is never certain, I have learned over the last 30-40 years how to live conservatively enough that I'm rarely under pressure and always within my means. I have learned how to have a new vehicle every 5 years without straining to pay for it. They serve me in my business and as a daily driver. This has mostly meant having nicely-equipped mid-size pickups with 4 cyl engines and 2-WD, instead of the more popular 6-cyl 4-WD most people feel the need to own. You would be amazed at the weather you can drive in with 2WD, if you really know how to drive.

Every buying cycle it gets more difficult to get a lot of vehicle for a modest amount of money. My XL, at about 25K is about the same level of trim and equipment as my last 21K Frontier (if a bit more bare-bones because of it's commercial configuration). My TC definitely feels part of a newer generation, as my last Frontier design has been around for over 10 years now. I was interested in a new mid-size pickup but at time of purchase the only thing out there that was truly new were the GMC/Chevy models. Dealers weren't doing much dealing as demand has been high, and I couldn't make myself move into 30K+ territory. That's how I ended up with the TC.

This was a major risk for me as I was really unsure how I would feel about this stripped out box a few months after I was stuck with it. At this point I have no regrets. I didn't have to add a $1500 bed cover or a $2000 head unit. It doesn't have satellite radio but I've learned to stream Pandora through my phone. I can throw my product into the back without having to tie it down or worry about weather damage. My bigger crates would stick out the back of my 6 ft. pickup bed on the folded down tailgate and have to be tied to the bed to keep them from sliding out. I can stack 6 of these in the back of my TC and close the door. And this sucker is a foot shorter than my pickup was! I can even stand up in the back, out of the cold, or for privacy, and change into my flying clothes when I go to the airport to fly my open cockpit homebuilt.

The usefulness of this package is just amazing. If you never have to carry other than a single passenger (my wife rides in my vehicles maybe 2-3 times a year) it's one of the best all-around haulers you can own at a price that doesn't break the bank. A weird thing happens too. If it's not in a commercial livery, with advertising all over it and loaded down with racks and ladders - because of it's spacey and modernistic design, you get a lot of looks on the road. And it may sound a bit extreme...but this thing is actually fun to drive!

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tcconvert,

 

Interesting.  I suppose we all go through life with different settings on our priority gauge.  You, like myself, will save just about every penny that you can on a vehicle that you drive in daily.  You probably put up a pretty good fight when it came to haggling for your out the door price.  Some of us spend so much time in our vehicles, we practically live in them.  Yet, you find room in your budget for recreationally aviation.  I wear the same Levi's 501 jeans that I had in high school, with white t-shirts from an on-sale multi pack, and always buy stripped down, base model vehicles.  The less they put in the car, the less I pay to drive it.  But I manage to budget myself for a Harley, and enjoy a good meal.  When you live in one of the culinary epicenters of the world, where some of the best chefs have outlets, surrounded by Wine Country, fresh water & salt water harvesting all year round, free range ranching, and the freshest farm to table produce in the nation; you do not eat at corporate dining, mall cuisine, or theme restaurants that sell more t-shirts than entrees.  

 

I remember showing up in a lifted pick-up to take this girl out to dinner.  I suppose in places where corn mazes offer recreation, and a hot date is dinner @ Twin Peaks or Hooters, she would have been thrilled.  But Miss Pretentious looked down her nose at me, and flatly stated, "this is not a 'date-car'".  I wonder what she would say now, if I showed up in a creepy van with limo tint windows.

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I'm considering an XLT wagon. Would the XLT (ex. Full headliner, insulation, etc.) address your concerns about road noise?  

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Much of the noise comes from the undercarriage, I think. I have a rigid bulkhead but still noisy.

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I accept that at this price point, the vehicle was not engineered for comfort.  Simple utility.  It gets the job done.  You get used to a lot less when you're driving in trucks.  I still see trucks on the road with vent hatches and fans on the dashboard.  A commercial driver on the road all day, without air conditioning.  

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That sounds like roughly the level of thought/effort that went into the sound dampening in my VW.  

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I have an XLT wagon and if you can live with the reduced height and leave the seats in the Full headliner do make a noticeable difference in the sound and noise levels. Having 4 power windows  ads Lots to the cars ventilation.  You also get Rear Air conditioning  to keep things cooler. The Stock Radio has more speakers and better sound.    

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On my XL, there is a full headliner, 4 power windows, and A/C vents in all 3 rows + 2nd row climate control.  

 

It was in the 90's today.  Shorts & tank top weather.  Yet, I still saw people wearing jackets.  Some things in life, I have to accept even without being able to understand.  It's like a busy restaurant, even though the food is bad, the service is bad, and the bathrooms are dirty.

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It's low 40s here, I think I need to ditch the t-shirt and find a jacket.

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8 hours ago, G B L said:

I have an XLT wagon and if you can live with the reduced height and leave the seats in the Full headliner do make a noticeable difference in the sound and noise levels. Having 4 power windows  ads Lots to the cars ventilation.  You also get Rear Air conditioning  to keep things cooler. The Stock Radio has more speakers and better sound.    

Thank you. That's the type of feedback that I was hoping for. The big thing that I'm looking for (why I'm not just looking at another car) is a more spacious interior and additional cargo capacity.  Going from a fairly small car (Jetta TDI)...any additional headroom and cargo space is a plus.  It would be nice to be able to slide a sheet of plywood in (ex. Gen 1 van) and have additional vehicle height, but I intend to get roof racks and also have a utility trailer...so I can figure out transporting wider and taller items when the time comes.

I'm not expecting a luxury car ride, but I want something that's not as noisy as a commercial vehicle (I've driven big rigs). I would like some creature comforts. ex. Upgraded stereo, sound dampening, bluetooth hands-free phone, etc.  Though this would serve double duty for projects around the house, it's primary use would be getting me to and from work.

I have a 90lb dog that enjoys the breeze, so the second row power windows (XLT) are a must.

 

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Oh, it's perfectly adequate for that. It's quieter and more crossover-like compared to the previous model. Still quite far from a passenger car. Just did a 5 hour round trip the other day, switched to my Toyota station wagon to pick up the kids and felt a big difference.

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The plywood will be a test in the wagon version. If you have a utility trailer as I do this is a non issue. Although it is harder to find on the wagon The Barn Doors  for me are  better choice.

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2 hours ago, mrtn said:

Oh, it's perfectly adequate for that. It's quieter and more crossover-like compared to the previous model. Still quite far from a passenger car. Just did a 5 hour round trip the other day, switched to my Toyota station wagon to pick up the kids and felt a big difference.

I was just looking at used ones online.   The older ones (going back to 2010) definitely have a simpler interior design.  That doesn't really put me off those.  What puts me off about them is the inability to roll the rear windows down.  If it wasn't for that...I think I would just go out and buy a used one and save myself a chunk of money.

2 hours ago, G B L said:

The plywood will be a test in the wagon version. If you have a utility trailer as I do this is a non issue. Although it is harder to find on the wagon The Barn Doors  for me are  better choice.

Don't get me wrong...I would MUCH rather be able to handle plywood without needing a trailer.  That being said, I tend to only need one sheet at a time...and the local stores will do up to three cuts for free.  That takes care of the width dilemma.

I will definitely be doing the barn doors.  I'm 6'4". I've lost track of how many times I've whacked my head on vertical lift rear hatches over the years.

The issue for me is that I prefer the looks of the SWB for the news ones.  To me...the SWB maintains the "utility"/van look.  The LWB lines look more like a minivan.  Pulling up a 200 mile radius search...there is exactly one SWB XLT passenger wagon with the rear barn doors.  

I could do the LWB...I guess...but then I'd be paying extra for the third row seats, which I would just be taking out (I want one of these for cargo capacity, not people hauling).  I guess I could do that and get a few 2x4's to rig up a base for the chairs and set them up in my man cave/garage, lol. 

Edited by bubbagumpshrimp

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For longer drives you can pop the rear quarter windows open manually but it's not that conveninent.

Edited by mrtn
grammar

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The  Van has 48.3 between the wheel house and the wagon Has 46.9 between the wheel house, With the barn door' open one or 2 sheets will be transportable in both version's
  The long wheelbase wagon version will be an easier thing to find and once the door is closed and you are looking out of the windshield you will get over the mini van look.

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4000 MILE UPDATE:

Biggest issue so far - A rattling driver's side sliding door. It was quite loud and intrusive and impossible to ignore. Tried adjusting the door myself, to no avail. Original dealer had it an entire day. It was worse when I got it back and they blew me off with the comment, "Hey - it's a van."  Corporate suggested a second opinion. Another dealer 100 miles away had it for a week but finally resolved it. Once you get used to a pair of clamshell doors and the two sliders, you never want to have less. Rattles can be hard to find in these things. You will swear one originates in a particular location, only to find out it comes from another far-away location and is telegraphing the noise. With all the bare plastic and metal even a stray coin can have you on edge until you find it.

Mileage, at least according to the computer, around 27 in mixed driving.

No inclement weather driving yet, but this thing is amazing in major crosswinds. The Nissan Altima I had for the week the door was under repair was a nightmare in the wind. I was all over the highway. This van just requires a steady pressure on the wheel to remain quite stable. It's better than any pickup I've owned. I still love to drive this thing.

Had occasion to be shuttled around by a wagon version recently. Was surprised by how hard the ride is from the second row seat. And frankly, it still had a lot of road noise. It ain't no station wagon. Glad I didn't opt for another $6000 to get the wagon version.

What can you say about Ford Sync? Well....It just sucks. Typically - the headlight low beams suck too.

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9 hours ago, tcconvert said:

Glad I didn't opt for another $6000 to get the wagon version.

Typically - the headlight low beams suck too.

Well, pricing will vary.  We've all negotiated our out the door and final ownership cost to different amounts.  My personal opinion is that I will only buy what I can afford.  Payments means interest.  And I don't like to pay more.  I didn't know that the price variance was 6K from cargo to wagon.

 

As several here have discovered, LED lights change your driving experience. 

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Early on I  considered buying all the plastic panels and the headliner for my van. The parts alone were six grand.

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Sounds like getting the Wagon from the Factory is  a much better deal!!

As for the Low Beams use the Adjustment under the hood and it will make them much better.

Edited by G B L

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Recently I discovered another, quite unexpected issue. I regularly make a drive through a small area where farms grow Alfalfa. This attracts huge numbers of grasshoppers. I knew that the hoppers were smashing into what I think is the the AC condenser inside the nose shell. But I never expected the numbers I discovered recently.

My wife and I both started noticing a strong Alfalfa Odor in the garage. I knew it was the dead grasshoppers, which I regularly have to clean off the exterior - they have the same Alfalfa odor. I have tried to hose out the inside of the grill a couple times. Then we started to also detect a dead animal carcass type of odor. We thought there might be a dead mouse or lizard somewhere in our garage. We could find nothing, and at one point I got down and stuck my nose into the front grill and realized, much to my horror, that the dead carcass smell seemed to be coming from the smashed grasshoppers. I could find no other dead wildlife stuck inside the grill. I couldn't believe that insects would generate this kind of death smell! But apparently - if you collect a large enough mass of dead flesh, they do!

Two or three forceful blastings with a water hose reduced, but did not entirely eliminate the smell (while making a mess of me), and now, after every trip through this area in the summer I am down on my knees blasting the grill with a water hose. It never completely eliminates the smell, but I can't see any other way to easily get inside the grill to completely clean it.

IMO this is a MAJOR flaw in this design. Because of the low positioning of the front end it scoops up insects that would pass under most other vehicles, and getting inside the nose compartment to clean it out is virtually impossible as far as I can see. If you live in a farming area you might want to reconsider owning this vehicle!

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How about a grille mesh some people have installed?

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I haven't seen anything like that. Fiberglas screening could serve the purpose but attaching it effectively inside the plastic nose cone would be a challenge. I'm still not sure how the get the plastic front shell detached.

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Nearly every vehicle made over the past 75 years or so has experienced bug problems which can cause overheating if driven in certain places at certain times of the year.  You can do an Internet search and read about various solutions for either frequent cleaning or placing a screen in front of the A/C condenser to catch the bugs before they plug up the condenser which can lead to overheating  -  It's a topic discussed on many car forums.  Your 'theory' that this is only happening because the air inlet on the TC may a bit lower than other vehicles doesn't hold much water  -  Semi trucks suffer from this same problem, as do most other makes and models of cars as you'll discover when you do your search

You can either read about easier ways to do a daily/weekly cleaning (they make tools for this which attach to your garden hose) buy a screen to put in front of the condenser or (my favorite) leave a little earlier so you can take a different route which doesn't take you through the alfalfa fields.  It's a seasonal problem which only lasts for a few weeks  -  IMO, not a reason to select one make or model vehicle over others

Don

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