By Drew Johnson
Wednesday, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 5:58 pm
 
It appears as though Ford is looking to take on the Mazda5 MPV with a new concept version of its Transit Connect. Dubbed the Transit Connect Family One, the show car demonstrates how easily the Transit Connect could be transformed into an MPV for small families - and it includes an application of Ford's Work Solutions RFID system.

The Transit Connect Family One is based on the standard Transit Connect, but is designed to be family friendly while still putting a strong emphasis on style. "Transit Connect is a versatile vehicle that can be adapted to a wide variety of applications," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas. "The Family One concept delivers fun with function. This fun, cool space is for parents and small children alike, combining fuel efficiency with advanced technologies that can help keep families connected on the go."

In addition to its cavernous 135 cubic feet of cargo capacity, the Transit Connect Family One also adds plenty of creature comforts for children and adults alike. Kids can have plenty of fun in the rear seats of the Family Connect, thanks to inner door panels that are water-pen friendly and easily wipe clean. The Family One also features family walkie-talkies complete with charging station, door-mounted folding scooters, a rear floor storage area for strollers, built-in hand sanitizer and sunscreen dispensers and even an integrated awning. For the messy family, the MPV's seat covers are removable and washable.

The Transit Connect Family One borrows the same on-board computer system and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology from the all-new Ford F-150, allowing parents to easily keep track of a number of items. The small chips can be placed on virtually any item - such as sports equipment - with the system notifying the driver when a specific item is not on board. Ford says the system can even learn based on past use, so the system can automatically warn you when little Timmy forgets his backpack on the way to school before you leave the driveway.

The Family One concept is equipped with a 2.0L four-cylinder engine - achieving 22/25 mpg city/highway - but Ford says the MPV could also be fitted with EcoBoost and even all-electric drivetrains. Ford has yet to give the concept the green light, but it sounds as if the Family One might not be far behind the Transit Connect's launch this summer, if the automaker receives positive feedback at the New York International Auto Show.