Tall Driver Buys Ford Transit Connect Passenger Wagon 14


Tall Driver Gets Ford Transit Connect Passenger Wagon

I recently purchased the Robert Wadlow of cars; the Ford Transit Connect Passenger Wagon. As far as vertical space goes, there is no other car that comes close to it. It is a true anomaly among automobiles. I previously wrote about how the Transit Connect makes a great car for tall people. But now that I actually own one, I can go into more detail. For reference, I’m 6’7″.

Tribute to the Honda Element

Before I get into detail on the Transit Connect, I’m compelled to give a quick tribute to the Honda Element that served me–and so many other tall people–so well over the years. The Element was introduced in 2003 as a utilitarian vehicle for outdoors enthusiasts with minimal emphasis on aerodynamics. This inadvertently lead to an unusual amount of vertical space, which pleased tall people (saved me from much back pain). But the average person just didn’t seem to get it. And so, like many other tall friendly vehicles (original Scion XB, Ford Flex, Ford B-Max), it was discontinued. That fateful day in 2011 was a sad one for us tall people.

The Unparalleled Vertical Space of the Transit Connect

In 2014, the ball dropped by Honda was picked up by Ford via a passenger version of their Transit Connect cargo van. Tall Clubs International was so pleased by it that they actually endorsed it! As far as I know, it is the only car endorsement they’ve ever made. To quantify just how spectacular this car is for tall people, I’ll use a measurement I like to call Vision Line Height (the vertical distance from footwell to the top of the windshield). Most cars are around 43″ or 44″. The Honda Element is an outlier at 46.5″. The Transit Connect is a whopping 50″!

Vision Line Height on Best Car for Tall People
Tall Car with Lots of Headroom and Great Visibility

This means tall people not only have headroom to spare, but visibility is dramatically improved:

  • I can actually see traffic lights without craning my neck or using a Fresnel Lens
  • The rearview mirror is so high that it doesn’t block my view of other vehicles and pedestrians (in my old car I had to mount my mirror on the roof instead of the windshield so it didn’t block my view)
  • The view out the side window is so much better that I can easily read street signs etc.
  • Their is so much vertical adjustability in the seat that in its lowest position, the steering wheel does not block my view of the speedometer and gauges
  • I can see the sky and everything just feels way more open
  • Best car for tall people great visibility

    All the extra vertical space also means it is much easier to get in and out of the vehicle. And, unlike most vehicles, the headroom is actually just as good for the rear passengers. This makes it a great vehicle for tall families. Though I will say the legroom for the back seats isn’t very good when the front seats are pushed back all the way. But that’s the case for most cars.

    As far as the legroom for the driver, it maxes out around 42″. While this is pretty decent, there are cars out there with much more legroom. However, there are ways to modify seat rails, which isn’t the case for the cabin structure. And if given the choice to have a cramped spine or cramped legs, I’ll choose the latter any day. Also, I find that the Transit Connect has so much vertical space that I feel comfortable raising the seat a bit, which allows the seat to better support my thighs, making it more comfortable.

    Other Vehicles Similar to the Transit Connect

    Since the Transit Connect’s inception, we’ve seen other manufacturers put out similar shaped cargo vans and, in some cases, they also did passenger versions. So, before buying a Transit Connect myself, I tried them all out. I was shocked to find that, while appearing quite similar on the outside to the Transit Connect, all had significantly less Vision Line Height.

    Cargo Vans for Tall People

    But Who Wants a Cargo Van in Disguise?

    A glaring issue I have left unaddressed up until this point is the fact that not every tall person wants to cruise around in the same type of boxy vehicle that delivers their Amazon packages. Further, it may fall short for other criteria such as fuel economy, all-wheel-drive, ground clearance, towing capacity, acceleration, and so on. But for me, everything else is of lesser consequence compared to insufficient vertical space.

    And I actually like the fact that it is a big boxy vehicle. It can carry all kinds of bulky objects around. And I’ve got plans to turn mine into a mini campervan. Yes, I can actually lie down fully stretched out in the back!

    Tall Driver Stretch out in Back of Car for Tall People

    Features a Tall Driver Should Consider in the Transit Connect

    As a tall driver, there are some specific options you should look for if you decide to get a Transit Connect.

  • The version you are probably looking for is referred to as the Ford Transit Connect Passenger Wagon, not the cargo van!
  • But you can still get rear cargo style doors even on the passenger wagon. I recommend this because the hatch isn’t high enough for particularly tall people to stand under. Note that the titanium high-end passenger version doesn’t have the option for rear cargo doors.
  • The next is actually something not to get, and that is the overhead aircraft style storage box. This can impact headroom when your seat is slid all the way back.
  • Another one is a telescopic steering wheel. Actually, this might be a standard feature, but definitely double check. Telescopic steering wheels are great for tall people because we tend to put the seat back far enough for our legs which tends to be too far for our arms.
  • The last is something that is only available in 2019 models and later, and that is adaptive cruise control and automatic braking. I think this is particularly beneficial for tall people as it would increase our confidence to stretch out our long legs a bit on those long drives.
  • Rear Cargo Doors On Best Car for Tall People

    The Future of the Transit Connect Passenger Wagon

    Ford Transit Connect Passenger Wagons are a rare sight (buying used is so difficult I actually had to get mine from a city six hours away). You would think this would lead Ford to discontinue it. However, keeping it going is only an incremental expense for Ford given the cargo version it is based off of is selling well. So I think there is a good chance the passenger version will be the top car for tall drivers for years to come.

    Ford Transit Connect Passenger Wagon Best Car for Tall People But in Hybrid Taxi Form

    There is even a hybrid taxi Transit Connect which will likely lead to a hybrid passenger version too. This is fantastic as so far the electric car options for us tall people have been limited by the fact that electric cars are optimized for efficiency and thereby aerodynamics rather than vertical space (side note: the panoramic windshield is actually pretty great on a Tesla Model X if you’re only kinda tall).

    Something else we have to look forward to is autonomous cars. Deficient ergonomics caused by our extreme heights become much less of an issue when a computer is driving. With the recent addition of adaptive cruise control and automatic braking, it appears Ford might be taking the Transit Connect along the path to full autonomy some day. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

    I strongly encourage all tall drivers in the market for a new car to at least sit in a Ford Transit Connect Passenger Wagon. For a moment, forget about the various other criteria you’re after and instead simply appreciate the fact that you can sit up straight and still see the sky. I’m certain you will be impressed.

    Tall Drivers of the Ford Transit Connect Can See The Sky Out the Tall Windshield


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    14 thoughts on “Tall Driver Buys Ford Transit Connect Passenger Wagon

    • Kate

      I also own 2 Transits! We bought the first one when it first came out in 2010. It’s going strong at 280,000 miles, no leaks, great gas mileage, comfortable. Not a lot of bells and whistles but then that’s less things that can go wrong. I’m female, 5’10” all legs (36″ inseam) and it’s very comfortable to drive. I agree on the sight lines. We also have a truck and I can see a lot from that vehicle too. We also had the wagon but it was totaled (not my fault!). Those are hard to find unfortunately and we ended up replacing it with another Transit van. We have a business and so they are used to haul product. I can’t say enough about these vehicles – always start, good on snow and it also fits in a garage. (Some other vans are too tall) Good article.

      • Tall Life Post author

        I’ve got nearly a foot on you but we have the same inseam!
        280,000 miles! Awesome to hear there is potential to hold up for a long time. I’m a bit under 100,000 miles and hope to make it last 10 years. By then there should be an electric version 🙂

      • Jim J

        @Kate

        Just curious, how have your Transit Connects held up to rust? I’m apprehensive that these would survive long term in the rust belt, but don’t have any evidence on way or the other.

        • Tall Life Post author

          I got mine rust protected with a good warranty on it. Learned my lesson after my Element’s rocker panels rusted out…

    • Clatter

      Thanks for a great review. I’m another tall Honda Element driver (6’6″) and have loved the headroom, legroom (even in the backseats!), and cargo space since I bought it new in ’04. However, I dislike the poor visibility around the A pillar area – I’ve had close calls in the city with not seeing pedestrians because of its bulkiness. Judging from your photos, the Ford looks equally thick there – how do you feel it compares?

      • Tall Life Post author

        The Element lacks a B-pillar and so the two front and rear doors must be quite strong where the join together, and thereby thick. That’s why it has such a big blind spot. I find visibility in the Transit Connect Passenger Wagon to be better all around. That being said, we tall drivers with our seats slid all the way back still have an awkward blind spot in the Transit Connect too, and most vehicles for that matter.

    • JohnO

      Hmm. I’m 6’9″ with a 38″ inseam. The Honda Element had a dashboard valence that hung just low enough to impede my mid-leg. I thought the Transit Connect would be a good option, but had a really hard time getting a dealership to let me try one. The truck lot tells me to go to the car lot, the car lot tells me to go to the truck lot. WTF?!?!? Eventually I succeeded, and while price, access in and out, and overall height were great, I found the pedals too close to be useable. I prefer a pickup truck, and now that my ’92 Nissan king cab is REALLY long in the tooth, I’m looking for a used Dodge Dakota, last made in 2011. BTW, as the ‘family’ car, I purchased a Toyota Venza. Comfortable enough for me in the front seat, and still comfortable for someone behind me in the back seat.

      • Tall Life Post author

        It’s true the pedals are a bit close together. I definitely won’t be trying to drive with snowboard boots on! On long drives, I actually take my shoes off, which really increases the effective legroom.

    • ABF

      Yeh, well, I agree with all of you but there are other considerations besides height. This transit van is very nice, but it has some elements that are not a pro. Firstly, the seats are very cheap and short. As far as I remember also, they provide little lumbar or lateral support for long journeys. Secondly, the van is under powered. I remember reading about how it took a lead foot to get it to speed and for transitions to highway speeds. While I am not as tall as most of you, at 6′ 2″, age 60, and DJD of the low back, there are other considerations besides head height. Finally, longevity of Ford products have nothing to be desired. Alternatives such as the Forester or Outback could be considered. ABF

      • Tall Life Post author

        I do agree there are things left to be desired. However, I have never found a car seat that properly accommodates my long torso. Lumbar support is particularly bad across the industry. So I just use a separate lumbar support. Now what can really mess up your back is when you are slouching to fit in too tight of vehicle. No car avoids this better than the Transit Connect.
        All that being said, I plan to upgrade to a Vario XXL car seat some day…

    • Russell

      We recently bought a new minivan, and the Transit Connect was the first one we tried. I was also amazed by the headroom, but wasn’t happy with the overall commercial feel of it for our family.
      We ended up with a Honda Odyssey, which gives me sufficient headroom even with a sunroof! I’m 6’8″ with 38″ inseam.
      We also looked at the Toyota Sienna, which had fair driver headroom, but a fantastic amount of legroom for the middle-row passengers. This would be my recommendation for families with tall teenagers.

    • Shorty

      It may surprise many, but if you are looking for headroom, legroom, and shoulder width, you should consider a Kia Soul. I find that the Soul is not only comfortable to drive, it’s easy to get into and exit, fun to drive and gets good gas mileage. I was looking to replace a 2005 Dodge Caravan, with over 230000 miles. Needless to say when you are 5 foot 23 inches tall, finding a car to fit is extremely hard. I went into a Kia dealership to try a Sorento on for size. The salesman look at me and said, have you ever tried a Soul. Who would have thought a small crossover/hatchback would have so much room. Headroom, Legroom, I was sold. The car is affordable to. I purchased a used, Alien Green 2016 Kia Soul +, have had it for 1.5 years and am still real happy with it. Kia has another car that I am able to fit in, the Niro Hybrid.
      So if headroom/legroom is important, Look into these two models.

    • Nozza

      Good review. I looked at everything in the uk market. Our family is 6’6”, 6’5”, 6.4.5”, 6’4”, 5’11”, +a younger one 3-4 years taller than her chronological age. Two family members are still growing.
      So go us it will either be one of these or a long wheelbase minibus type van.
      The transit connect also comes in a long wheelbase version that will help with multiple talls in a family hopefully.
      Nice article and great tips about the options and trim levels.

      • Tall Life Post author

        Thanks glad you liked it. Is it called the Ford Tourneo in the UK? I couldn’t find roof rack cross bars for mine in North America, but was able to get some from the UK that fit just fine that I think were originally for the Tourneo.