Transit Connect was named officially as the International Van of the Year 2003 during a brief ceremony today at the 81st Brussels International Motor Show.
Pieter Wieman, Chairman of the International Van of the Year jury presented the prestigious trophy to Derrick Kuzak, Ford of Europe’s Vice President of Product Development.
"This is a very well deserved award for Transit Connect," commented Pieter Wieman. "In developing this vehicle, Ford took a different path and did not use car-derived major components or parts in its construction. It was obvious to the jury that Ford also listened to the wants and demands of all types of customers. This has resulted in a no-compromise commercial vehicle with a long list of clever and practical solutions in the areas of handling, accessibility, security and safety. As if these qualities and the Transit name were not enough of a recommendation, we were delighted to discover that Transit Connect has a great driving performance, really handling like a passenger car. As commercial vehicle specialists, we believe that Transit Connect will be highly appreciated by drivers, businesses and private customers across Europe," he continued.
"We are absolutely delighted that two years after Transit became International Van of the Year 2001, we are returning to receive the same honour for Transit Connect" said Steve Parker, commercial vehicles director, Ford of Britain.
"This endorsement by such a diverse group of highly respected commercial vehicle specialists is especially rewarding, as we deliberately gave our new commercial vehicle the Transit name to reinforce the tough and dependable qualities engineered into it. It is fitting that Transit Connect receives the same award two years on," he continued.
Ford Transit Connect was the unanimous choice of the 20-member International Van of the Year jury scoring 126 out of a maximum of 140 points that can be given to a single candidate in the voting and setting a new record. This is something that was also achieved by its larger sibling when the latest generation Ford Transit was the runaway winner of the same award in 2001, with a score of 112 points.
Transit Connect is available either in high roof, long wheelbase or normal roof, short wheelbase derivatives. The first competes in the sub-one tonne sector of the European medium commercial vehicle market whereas the latter is designed for the light commercial vehicle market. Customers can choose from two 1.8 litre diesel engines, either 75 or 90 PS, turbo charged and high pressure TDCi common rail diesel technology respectively, or opt for the 1.8 litre petrol engine, which provides 115 PS. A wide choice of bulkhead and sliding side-load door configurations are on offer as well fold-flat passenger seat and flexible load restraint system allowing customers to install their own racking or shelving without drilling holes in the vehicle.
Ford Transit Connect also offers class leading security systems combined with extensive safety systems, including driver's airbag as standard with optional passenger and side airbags, and optional anti-lock brakes. The vehicle’s strong bodyshell confers a high degree of structural integrity and its built-in durability will ensure low cost of repairs and high residual values. Prices range from £10,082 - £12,357.Published 18 January 2003