Good For: Modern minivan. Ford sticks to the original receipe for creating a minivan, building the Transit Connect on the front wheel drive car platform used by cars like the Focus. The boxy body creates tons of interior space at the driver's seat, but the platform retains car-like handling. The handbrake is even where it belongs on a regular car. Many other good details have been added to this latest implementation of the minivan, such as a large shelf above the sun visors. For years people have been loading papers, CDs, nose wipers, and what not on their visors - might as well create a space there to support this behaviour.
Compromises: Front end can still get squirrely from the torque steer, depite power coming from a modest 169hp 2.5L 4-cylinder. 6-speed automatic works well in "S" mode and gets the job done.
Overall reaction - Thumb up: I drove a long wheelbase "wagon" configuration which is good for seating 7. The combination of car-based handling and versatility was refreshing. Unlike 3-row SUVs, the individual seats in the 3rd row slide fore and aft, which is useful for optimizing leg room vs cargo room behind the seat. Ford also offers double "barn yard doors" style rear access, which I think is better than trying to work an enormous rear hatch. Extra room and features distinguish the Connect from the other car-like MPV on the market, the Mazda 5. However, the price premium is significant, and you can cross shop the Connect with lot of 7-seater SUVs north of that $26k base price.