Skip to main content

Ford hasn’t made a minivan since the last Freestar rolled off the production line in 2007. However, the Blue Oval produces a similar model: the Transit Connect. This city van offers much to like, but how does it compare to one of the best minivans, the Chrysler Pacifica?

The 2023 Ford Transit Connect provides plenty of perks

The cargo area of a 2021 Ford Transit Connect passenger van
2021 Ford Transit Connect cargo area | Ford Motor Company

The 2023 Ford Transit Connect passenger van carries over most features from the 2022 model, so it maintains its finest selling points. This seven-seater is versatile and spacious enough to use as a camper van or offbeat living space. The base model has up to 106 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear passenger seat folded flat and 60.1 cubic feet without. It also has 16.3 cubic feet of luggage space behind the back row.

The most significant change is under the hood. The previous model year’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is gone, leaving the base 2.0-liter inline-four with 162 hp and 144 lb-ft of torque as the only engine. It gets an EPA-estimated mileage of 26 mpg combined and can tow up to 2,000 pounds.

The Transit Connect comes in five trims, with prices starting at $35,600 for the base-model XL and increasing to $39,800 for the Titanium wagon. The more expensive trims have Ford’s SYNC3 infotainment system and Co-Pilot360 advanced driver-assistance suite.

This van’s best assets are its customizability and fold-flat seats, allowing users to slide large items into the bed effortlessly.

The 2023 Chrysler Pacifica combines form and function in an excellent minivan

The 2023 Chrysler Pacifica has a well-earned reputation as a top-rated minivan. It packs a standard 287-hp 3.6-liter V6, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (the Toyota Sienna is the only other minivan offering the latter). In addition, the Pacifica is the only vehicle in its class with a plug-in hybrid option.

Fuel economy in the standard gas-powered model is a so-so 23.5 mpg combined, but the vehicle can tow up to 3,600 pounds. And Chrysler’s trademark Stow ‘n Go seating enables users to fold the second-row seats into the floor easily for extra cargo space. 

Most trims seat seven, except the Touring L, which offers an optional second-row bench seat to add an eighth seat. However, this setup is not available with AWD. 

Chrysler Pacifica starting prices range from $37,270 for the base model to $60,540 for the range-topping plug-in hybrid Pinnacle

Both vans have their merits, but one will soon die

Deciding which van is better between the 2023 Ford Transit Connect and the 2023 Chrysler Pacifica primarily comes down to lifestyle and personal preferences. 

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

But the Transit Connect has notable drawbacks. The engine is underwhelming, and some owners have reported problems with the transmission and door hinges. There’s also the fact that the 2023 model year is this van’s last. Ford discontinued the Transit Connect in the United States, so support for this model will decline.

Meanwhile, the Chrysler Pacifica is as contemporary as ever. A minivan rarely feels this luxurious. Heated front seats, tri-zone climate control, and a 10.1-inch touchscreen display are standard in every model, and more expensive trims up the ante with leatherette or premium Nappa leather upholstery. Optional amenities keep passengers safe (a FamCAM camera system provides a top-down view of the backseats) and entertained (a UConnect Theater gives back-row passengers access to two touchscreens, streaming apps, and built-in video games). 

Of course, all those features cost money, and most Pacifica trims are more expensive than the Transit Connect. The Chrysler minivan also tends to have a below-average resale value. So budget-conscious families might benefit from considering the Ford van.


Will Ford Ever Make Another Minivan?