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Ford stopped making minivans after the last Freestar rolled off the assembly line in 2007. However, the automaker still produces a passenger van. Here’s how the 2023 Ford Transit Connect compares to one of the few remaining minivans, the Kia Carnival.

The 2023 Ford Transit Connect at a glance

The Ford Transit Connect might appeal to Kia Carnival shoppers
2021 Ford Transit Connect | Ford Motor Company

Most consumers don’t think of the 2023 Ford Transit Connect as a family hauler. It’s seen more as a passenger van that shuttles travelers to the airport. But that shouldn’t dissuade minivan shoppers from considering it.

One of the best aspects of the 2023 Ford Transit Connect is that consumers can build their own. Ford offers several configurations, so buyers can pick and choose the features they want instead of being stuck with whatever comes with each trim level. 

Still, the Transit Connect comes in three trims. They are the XL, XLT, and Titanium, ranging in price from $34,360 to $38,560. Every model packs a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 162 hp and 144 lb-ft of torque and an eight-speed automatic transmission. 

The 2023 Transit Connect seats up to seven passengers. It also has a maximum cargo capacity of 106.0 cubic feet. And the gas mileage is an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

In addition, buyers can choose between a rear liftgate or cargo doors that open at 180 degrees. And like a minivan, the Transit Connect has rear-passenger sliding doors.

Overview of the 2024 Kia Carnival

Kia calls the Carnival an “MVP,” short for “multipurpose vehicle.” But everyone knows it’s a minivan, and unlike the Ford Transit Connect, it’s heavily marketed to families. 

The 2024 Carnival has a 3.5-liter V6 producing 290 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. It pairs with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy numbers are 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

There are also plenty of tech features. They include several USB ports, an optional 12.3-inch touchscreen, and parking cameras. The maximum cargo capacity is 145.1 cubic feet.

And like the Transit Connect, the Carnival offers multiple customization options in five trim levels.

2024 Carnival starting prices range from $33,200 to $46,300, but shoppers might still be able to find new 2023 models at lower prices.

How do the 2 vans compare?

The 2023 Ford Transit Connect and the 2024 Kia Carnival have many features in common. But there are several differences families should consider.

Among the most crucial specs is seating. The Transit Connect seats seven, while the Carnival seats up to eight, depending on the trim level.

Also, the Ford Transit Connect gets better gas mileage and a lower MSRP in some cases.

However, the Carnival produces much more horsepower and torque, which is helpful when merging and changing lanes on the highway.

The Carnival also has much more cargo space.

If you want a new 2023 Transit Connect, now is the time to act. Ford discontinued the Transit Connect in the U.S., so new models won’t be around much longer. At the same time, you should also consider that Ford might not continue to make parts for the Transit Connect after it goes out of production. That can lead to longer repair times, especially if the parts were made specifically for the Transit Connect.


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