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Ford stopped making minivans after discontinuing the Freestar in 2007. But a similar vehicle took its place in the Blue Oval’s lineup: the Transit Connect passenger van. Its pricing makes it an attractive option for shoppers searching for a minivan. Let’s examine how the 2023 Ford Transit Connect compares to a popular family hauler such as the 2023 Toyota Sienna

The 2023 Ford Transit Connect is a solid and dependable passenger wagon

A Ford Transit Connect passenger van might appeal to Toyota Sienna shoppers
Ford Transit Connect | Ford Motor Company

The 2023 Ford Transit Connect doesn’t include significant changes to set it apart from the 2022 model. Its most significant change is to the engine. The optional 2.5-liter four-cylinder is no longer available, leaving the base 162-hp 2.0-liter inline-four as the only standard engine for this model year. Its gas mileage isn’t great at 26 mpg combined.

However, the interior is versatile and spacious enough to be used as a camper van or a full-time living space. It also seats up to seven and provides 16.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. The maximum cargo capacity is 106 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded flat and 60.1 cubic feet with only the third row folded.

In addition, Ford allows buyers to customize the Transit Connect with five trim levels and various options. The base-model XL starts at $35,600, and the range-topping Titanium starts at $39,800. The more expensive trims come with Ford’s SYNC3 infotainment system and Co-Pilot360, providing numerous advanced driver-assistance systems. 

What makes the 2023 Toyota Sienna a good minivan?

The Toyota Sienna has been a leader in the minivan market for decades, and the 2023 model continues to live up to the brand’s reputation. 

Driving the Sienna isn’t the most exciting experience — according to Kelley Blue Book, its 245-hp powertrain is the weakest in the class. But it’s comfortable, quiet, and highly efficient. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid engine gets an EPA-estimated 36 mpg combined and drops to 35 mpg with optional all-wheel drive. (Front-wheel drive is standard.) 

The interior is roomy and designed with families in mind. All models include seating for at least seven (the XLE trim has an optional eighth seat) and feature a rear entertainment system for passengers.

Advanced safety systems are included in the Toyota Safety Sense suite. Convenience amenities include four-zone climate control and the Driver Easy Speak intercom system.

The Sienna has less cargo room than the Chrysler Pacifica, but it still has enough for most situations. The Sienna has 33.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third-row seats, 75.2 cubic feet with those seats folded, and 101 cubic feet with the second row tipped forward. That’s substantial cargo room. However, the second-row seats don’t fold flat and can’t be removed, limiting space for oversize items.

Starting prices for the Sienna begin at $36,885 for the base model and $52,345 for the Platinum trim. 

Both vehicles have advantages for different drivers

Choosing between the 2023 Ford Transit Connect and the 2023 Toyota Sienna depends on lifestyle and personal circumstances. 

Ford primarily positions the Transit Connect passenger wagon as a more efficient alternative to full-size vans due to the vehicle’s size and smooth maneuverability. But its level of customizability is so high that the Transit Connect also offers utility for everyday drivers and more adventuresome consumers looking for an affordable ride with decent storage space. 

There are some downsides to this van. The 162-hp engine is even weaker than the Sienna’s, and some drivers have reported problems with the transmission and faulty parts. There’s also the fact that this model won’t be around much longer. Ford discontinued the Transit Connet in the United States, so meaningful support or updates for this vehicle will begin to decline.

However, the Transit Connect’s second and third rows fold flat, making loading bulky items more convenient than in the Sienna. But the latter provides more overall cargo space.

In addition, most Sienna trims are more expensive than the Transit Connect. But aside from producing modest power on the highway, the Toyota minivan is the better vehicle overall if the cost is not a substantial issue. 


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