Like Winnie-The-Pooh's Tigger, but with cargo room
September 15, 2016
OK, for starters, I understand where Nissan was going with this vehicle and why Chevrolet co-opted it. Little cargo van, able to negotiate city streets and tight parking garages with no problem, cheap to build, easy to modify... it's like someone took a Sentra, put it on stilts and welded leaf springs in the back.
The problem is, Ford upgraded the Transit Connect before these hit the streets. And I had the opportunity to drive one before I was issued "Tigger," my 2015 City Express. The differences are not just stark; they're staggering.
The Transit Connect feels like a Fusion with a high roof and a big... posterior. It's planted. It's composed. It has a decent radio even if it's for listening to your boss drone on incessantly on a conference call. But it feels like you're driving a normal car. Some people like the driving position; some don't. I don't care whether I'm face-to-face with the SUV driver who thinks this is a game of Mad Max.
The City Express, by comparison, feels like you're driving a econo-car on stilts. It is jittery. It is wild. No, it doesn't feel like driving a big full-size van, but when you go over speed bumps at anything more than 5 MPH, it feels like the entire van is about to pull a Herbie. This thing rides ROUGH even over the slightest of bumps. I guarantee you I'm not carrying anything near the maximum payload of this van, but it can't compare to the composed behavior of the Ford. You can look inside the van and see the copious amounts of expanding foam that separates the seams. This vehicle was built on a budget.
It might be bouncy, trouncy, flouncy pouncy and full of cargo fun, but it's NOT the only one, and the competition builds a much better city cargo vehicle. Unfortunately, a lot of corporate bean-counters will be swayed by the bottom line, and a lot of massage therapists will reap the benefits of buying the cheaper option.