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Vans, Trucks take center stage for Ford

By Frederick Olson, Automotive Contributor
Published On: Jan 17 2013 04:18:24 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 17 2013 04:21:17 PM CST

Image: Ford

2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon

DETROIT -

Ford is revamping its lineup of vans for 2014.

The new vans, plus a prototype pickup truck, were unveiled this week at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The smallest Ford van, the Transit Connect, is getting a full redesign.  Among the changes for the 2014 Transit Connect is a new wagon version capable of carrying up to five or seven people.

Ford says the Transit Connect Wagon is expected to be the first 7-passenger vehicle to achieve at least 30 miles per gallon.  There are lots of options on the car, including a full-glass roof and a rearview camera.

"It has an extensive selection of comfort, convenience and connectivity options, and a full complement of safety features – making it a modern, family-friendly alternative to oversized minivans," said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's vice president of global engineering and global product development.

While the wagon has full side windows, the standard Transit Connect Van has conventional van-like sheet metal sides and more than 100 cubic feet of space in the short wheelbase version, or more than 130 cubic feet for long-wheelbase models.

If those vans are too small, Ford also introduced the 2014 Transit, which is a real commercial workhorse.  The van has up to twice as much space as the old Ford E-series vans, and comes in three different lengths and three different roof heights.

Ford has sold versions of the Transit van in other countries, but the new model will now also be sold in the United States.

If vans aren’t your thing, Ford also showed its Atlas Concept pickup truck in Detroit.  It’s a beefy, chrome-accented, LED-lit look at what the next generation of Ford trucks may achieve.

While not an overly radical truck design (it still looks like a truck, after all), the Atlas Concept includes a number of useful advancements, like lots of tie-down points in the cargo bed, 110-volt outlets (just like in your home) to charge power tools and hidden extendable ramps to make it easier to get things into the bed of the truck.

There’s also a nifty roof-carrying system for long items like ladders and lumber.  The system includes a designated part of the roof, plus a little tower that pops up out of the tailgate to hold those long items horizontally.

"The Ford Atlas Concept previews the innovations that will transform what people expect from their pickup," said Raj Nair, Ford's vice president for global product development.

The new Transit and Transit Connect vans will go on sale this fall.  The Atlas Concept, however, is still just a concept for now.

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