When I realized that Rover wasn’t the van for me, I quickly set my sights on a replacement. After all, cramming five dogs into the back of a Mercury Mariner in the dead of summer is not sustainable.
Enter the Ford Transit Connect (XLT Premium, but who cares). I had ruled them out as being too small when I started my initial van hunt, but my needs have shifted. I spent a few weeks comparing the older and newer models and learned that the 2014 (and later) version has less cargo space. The newer model also looks more like a minivan and less like a mini van, if that makes any sense.
I decided on a 2012 model sold by a Massachusetts Hyundai dealership, aptly in winter blue. I will omit the story of how the van was purchased and delivered because it’s frustrating and boring. On to the pictures!
Some things worth mentioning:
- The second-row seats fold forward; I keep one down for Dexter and the others stay folded during travel. If I need to, I'll unfold and use this row as a bed.
- I had a 2" hitch receiver installed at U-Haul for around $200 ($160 for the hitch and $40 labor).
- The roof rack was a nightmare to put on, despite being made for this van. Key parts were missing and the instructions were full of typos. Avoid "Rola" racks, for sure.
- Storage space is ample despite being way smaller than Rover. I've got my emergency road kit, first aid kit, air pump, tool kit, tire chains, hiking pole, plastic basin, and a pile of dog hair stored between the crates. The rear door has a handy pocket that I use for east-access dog gear. There's also a shelf right above the windshield/front-row seats.
- This sucker gets 27 mph highway, whaaat.
I'm more eager than ever for cold weather to arrive. I have yet to attach the roof cargo box or try loading the dryland cart on the back, so I'm hoping that all goes smoothly. I'm also anticipating that my sled will fit inside the van in a way that's easily managed, but somethings tells me it'll be a challenge.