While GM and Chrysler struggle to emerge from their nuclear winter, Ford springs ahead with a rolling playroom called the Transit Connect Family One Concept. (Why does it take five words to name one car?)
The fact that it looks like a paddy wagon or a bread van shouldn’t bother those utilitarian types who buy such vehicles. The Vanagon won no beauty contests either. This is the kind of car that tgriffith probably would have killed for on his recent California family trip.
Vomit-proof interior, a plexiglass bulkhead to absorb the sounds of whining and fighting, gas dispensers in the roof to put the little tykes to sleep (well, no, not the latter)—the TCFOC has these features and many others.
The most kid-pleasing aspect of the car was the very clever plexiglass kiddie bulkhead which separates the front seats from the rear and has a painted surface at the top which front shelf-mounted projectors beam images onto. Two sides can show off two sources, one of which may be the webcams stowed around the vehicle which kids took to making faces at. The rear cargo area has integrated Lego storage and the seat back can fold down to have a Lego base to work from.
But wait, there’s more. Per Ford’s press release, the car is “designed for the coolest mom” and features:
Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to keep track of all the items the active family needs to stay organized. When the driver enters the vehicle with children, the in-dash computer will provide notification that Timmy’s hockey equipment is still in the front hall closet. Using predictive algorithms to “learn” based on past usage, the system will identify missing musical instruments or homework on the way to school and will remind parents if they haven’t packed clubs for a scheduled Saturday golf outing.
Will you all please stop laughing now? We’re not done yet. Add in:
- Twin folding scooters, mounted inside the rear cargo doors
- Built-in sunscreen and hand sanitizer dispensers
- Whiteboard rear side-door interior surfaces for erasable “water pen-friendly” creativity
- Rechargeable family radio walkie-talkies
- Backpack attachments and handy, integrated toy storage
- Protracting, roof-mounted awning over the rear opening
- Lava-lamp effect rear headliner graphics.
Debuting at the New York Auto Show in two weeks, the TCFOC will be powered by Ford’s 2-liter I4 engine, giving you 22/25 mpg, fully loaded with hand sanitizer, Legos and peanut butter. You can buy the Transit Connect business van this summer for $21,475 base price. Who knows what this thing will cost?
Why do parents and kids need all this techno-coddling when they travel? Are you for or against built-in hand sanitizer dispensers?