The Connect was on show in both short wheelbase and long wheelbase high roof formats and Ford is promising panel van ruggedness and reliability values for the smaller sector.
Steve Parker, Ford's new director of commercial vehicles, said: 'The fact that this is a dedicated commercial vehicle platform justifies the use of the Transit name.
'Only a vehicle that shares Transit's DNA and delivers high levels of durability, dependability and low cost of ownership could be added to the Transit family.'
New details emerged about the van for the first time at the show. In short wheelbase format, the Connect offers payloads of 625 or 825 kg, load volume of 2.8 cubic metres (3.4 with passenger seat folded down), wheel arch width of 1,226mm and load length of 1,760/2,467mm. In LWB format, figures are: payload 825-900kg, load volumes 3.7/4.4 cubic metres and load length 2,007/2,714mm.
The passenger seat folds down to provide a flat floor for extended load length and a flexible load restraint system will allow users to install racking or shelving without drilling holes in the vehicles. While the SWB model is the only van in its sector to accommodate two Euro pallets, the LWB version is the only van in its class to accommodate 8ft x 4ft boards.
On the security front, the Connect's lock-in-latch system makes entry to the vehicle difficult for thieves and there is remote central locking, locking bonnet and engine immobiliser. Driver, passenger and side airbags will be on offer, along with ABS brakes.
Visitors to the Ford stand also had their first view of the new LPG SWB Transit, featuring an under-floor gas tank installation so no loadspace is lost. The van is powered by a 2.3-litre petrol engine and offers a 50% reduction in tailpipe emissions and 15-20% drop in CO2 emissions.
Also on show were a Transit double cab-in-van model and 12 and 17-seater minibuses.