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Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A blue 2023 Ford Transit Connect Passenger Wagon is shown parked near an ocean.

Should You Buy a 2023 Transit Connect Cargo or Passenger Wagon?

With the Ford Transit Connect no longer being in production after the 2023 model year in North America, this is a good time to buy one if you want a quality-made city van from one of Ford’s most popular utilitarian nameplates. If you’re doing the legwork to find out if the 2023 Ford Transit Connect is a better option than the Ram ProMaster City or the Mercedes-Benz Metris, you need to know what the available trims have to offer and what the different versions mean for your van-driving affairs. If you are interested in a small passenger or cargo vehicle but are torn on which one of the Transit Connect variants best suits your needs, this article will help break down what each one features and why one or the other might be more important for you to purchase.

What Is the 2023 Ford Transit Connect Passenger Wagon?

The Ford Transit Connect Passenger Wagon has been around since 2011. Sadly, with the 2023 model year being its final year, it hasn’t received much in terms of new features or functionality since the 2020 model year. Ford has mostly been carrying over features since then, and adding or changing some minor things around to make the standard trims provide more value for van shoppers.

The 2023 Transit Connect Passenger Wagon is exactly as the name suggests, a passenger version offering three rows of seats that can seat up to seven people. This includes two captain chairs in front, a split bench in the second row that seats three people, and a third row that seats two people. You also have access to 23.6 cu.ft. of cargo volume behind the third row and up to 60.1 cu.ft. of cargo volume with the rear seats folded down.

The Transit Connect features fixed windows across multiple pillars and a lifting tailgate to access the rear cargo area. You also have two sliding doors on each side of the vehicle so that you can easily get into and out of the passenger seats of the Connect Passenger Wagon. The general design is themed around a cozy cabin experience, with optional cloth or leather seating, and other accouterments to make the ride more comfortable and convenient.

A white 2023 Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van is shown driving near a city.

What Is the 2023 Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van?

The 2023 Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van puts a practical spin on the Transit Connect. It’s designed for commercial use, for the most part, and is designed for those looking for something smaller than the standard Transit for cargo hauling and some light towing. The Transit Connect Cargo Van variant is the original version of the Transit Connect, debuting more than 20 years ago as a 2002 model year. The Transit Connect Cargo Van has had multiple iterations and changes over the years.

The 2023 Transit Connect Cargo Van, just like the Passenger Wagon, carries over all of the existing features from the last several model year outings without any significant changes. This includes the last major updates from 2020 that included standard rain-sensing windshield wipers, and more safety and driver assists as part of the Ford Co-Pilot360 suite. Since the Transit Connect Cargo variant is focused entirely on cargo, it is available across two different wheelbases that provide different levels of interior cargo space. The short wheelbase provides up to 104.8 cu.ft. of cargo volume, while the long wheelbase provides up to 127.4 cu.ft. of cargo volume.

The interior of the Transit Connect Cargo Van is themed around utilitarian use. This means that aside from the standard front captain chairs for the driver and front passenger, there are no other chairs or rows of seats inside of the Connect Cargo Van. Instead, the space can be occupied for transportation and hauling. The Transit Cargo Van also doesn’t have any windows besides those on the A-pillar. It also replaces the rear liftgate with side-opening doors.

Two people are shown unloading kayaks from a silver 2023 Ford Transit Connect Passenger Wagon.

Differences Between the 2023 Transit Connect Cargo and Passenger Wagon

The 2023 Transit Connect Cargo and Passenger Wagon are available in multiple trims, but they are separated by the configurations. For instance, the Connect Cargo Van is only available in the XL and XLT trims. Meanwhile, the Transit Connect Passenger Wagon is available in XL, XLT, and Titanium trims. The importance of this difference is that the Titanium trim offers more upscale features in the interior, such as the aforementioned leather seats, and standard features when it comes to tech and safety, such as the larger 6.5-inch touchscreen as opposed to the 4.2-inch infotainment display.

The other big difference between the two is in the design. As mentioned, the Transit Connect Cargo Van has no windows, since it’s not a passenger-oriented version of the vehicle. The interior is hollowed out for cargo transport and upfitting. The Transit Connect Passenger Wagon, however, has windows on both sides of the vehicle, so passengers across all three rows can visibly see out the side and back of the van.

Another big difference is upfitting options. The 2023 Transit Connect Passenger Wagon is designed to accommodate people, whereas the Connect Cargo Van is designed to support upfitting when it comes to interior capacity, roof utility, and rear door function. If you plan on using the Connect Cargo Van as a work van for electrical, plumbing, or maintenance work, there are many options you can choose for the Transit Connect Cargo Van to do so. This option isn’t quite as applicable to the Transit Connect Passenger Wagon.

Also, the rear gate is very different for both vehicles. The rear gate on the Connect Cargo Van opens up sideways, and it can be configured for either a solid door panel or fixed windows. On the Connect Passenger Wagon, the rear gate is a liftgate with a fixed window.

Finally, there is fuel economy. Both the Passenger Wagon and the long-wheelbase version of the Cargo Wagon get 24 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway, both great figures for a cargo van. The short-wheelbase version, which is only available in the Cargo Wagon, also gets 24 MPG in the city, but only 26 MPG on the highway. This is still far better than any full-sized cargo van, and one of the main reasons you might choose the smaller Transit Connect over the full-size Transit.

A silver 2023 Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van is shown parked near a construction site.

Which 2023 Transit Connect Van Should I Choose?

The choice of which 2023 Ford Transit Connect to buy will boil down to what you need the vehicle for. Take note that you won’t be able to make use of the Cargo Van as a passenger vehicle. However, you could technically remove the seats in the Transit Connect Passenger Wagon to utilize the interior for cargo hauling. The other thing to consider is that the Transit Connect Passenger Wagon starts at a slightly higher MSRP than the Cargo Van. The give and take of both vehicles is that if you needed a family vehicle that you could also use as a cargo hauler, the Passenger Wagon could be used as both. However, if you just need a work van for daily travel and hauling, and you have no plans on commuting or driving around multiple passengers, then the Transit Connect Cargo Van is the obvious choice.